It occurs to me that being hard on myself is teaching my daughters to be hard on themselves.
Duh, right? I mean, come on. We all know that kids take in so much more than we want them to. They see everything, they hear everything.
And I’m twelve years into this mothering thing. You’d think I’d have made this connection a long time ago.
Maybe I did but last night, as we celebrated Lyss’s birthday with my mom and step-dad, it occurred to me that my self-deprecating comments aren’t helping anyone.
They annoy Tom, they just push my own mood further down into the hole of despair and they’re probably telling the girls that they’re supposed to think that way about themselves.
That is so sick. I hate that I do that and I never, ever want them to think they’re supposed to do it to themselves.
So it’s going to stop.
How? Well, obviously, it needs to start with my outward behavior. I can’t change my mindset overnight but I can slow down how fast things come out of my mouth. I don’t have to say the first thing that I think. I can give myself a few seconds to think about something, think about whether or not I’d want one of my daughters to think or say that very thing about herself and then I can stop the words from coming out of my mouth.
This won’t be easy but it is absolutely, positively necessary.
I need to show my girls that women are smart, we’re beautiful, we’re confident and I need to do it at home, being smart and beautiful and confident. I can’t show them those things by putting myself down. The problem with saying things like that is that after a while, even when things are ‘jokes’ we start to believe them. And I usually say crap like that in the hopes that someone will contradict me, tell me it’s not true. So what’s the point? If I’m looking for affirmation of my worth, it should start with me.
It starts today. I’m going to try very hard to stop the negative words from coming out of my mouth.
No more saying things to Tom like, “What’s it like to be the pretty one in this relationship?”
No more muttering, “I’m such an idiot.”
These things can be so insidious. They start small, silly, jokey evening. But they take root and start to scream in my head and I don’t want that for Alyssa and Olivia. I want them to both always feel smart and beautiful and worthy of all the good that comes to them.
It all starts with me.