I question most of my decisions. As an adult. A woman. A mother. It can sometimes be a little impossible to live in my brain. I have these traits that appear opposing on the surface- complete insecurity in my choices and a prickly defensiveness. The reason I say that they only appear conflicting is because I have been taking a real hard gander at them. I no longer want to carry this doubt. I don’t want “deffensive” to reside on the list of traits used to describe me anymore. Therefore, examining the root causes is necessary.
I have found that my antagonistic demeanor is born from a pervasive self doubt. A reluctance that permeates to my core. One that causes me to seek validation anywhere I can sniff it out. Confirmation that my feelings, my choices, my experiences are ‘correct’. So when I don’t get the affirmation I yearn for? I bow my back. I close off. I may even get angry.
My son gets mistaken for a girl quite often. People use female pronouns when referring to him. Or they just straight up call him my daughter. In their defense, he is stunning and has gorgeous curly locks. Why do I insert that fun tidbit when discussing defensiveness? Because that is one clear example of when I don’t. I don’t get upset. I don’t feel a need to correct. I am completely secure in my decision to allow my adorable little man to preserve those baby curls as long as possible.
I want to harness that security within myself. Spread it around to the other areas of parenting. Of adulthood. Of personhood. (I may have just made up a word there. But I am secure in my choice. I think personhood should totally be a word.)
I was texting with a fellow mama several weeks ago. I have always admired her in the sixteen years that we have known each other- even in the years that I watched her from afar. She said something poignant to me in that text string- she said that she heard other people’s opinions but she knew she was making the right choices for her family. The statement stopped me in my tracks. It was an earth shattering concept- to truly listen to someone else and decide to take it or not. To know that you make the best decisions with the inside knowledge of your family. What?!
To harness the ability to hear opposing views without anxiety overthrowing my brain is the person I aspire to be. The person I want to be the example to my son.
Complete honesty- I have no idea how to achieve that. I’m not sure what it looks like. But I know how to start. I start with seeing it. I begin by identifying the inner critic and muffling her. Trusting my instincts and allowing myself to not have all the answers. There is a pressure I have put on myself to be the best. To read all the articles possible and take all of the correct steps. To be the perfect woman. The impeccable mother. The person that appears to have it all together.
Guys, I do not have it all together.
The secret I am starting to see revealed to me- nobody has it all together. Even the women in my life that I look up to. They don’t know what they are doing any more than I do. But they allow themselves patience and grace.
Patience and grace to be human. Patience and grace to be flawed. Patience and grace to make mistakes.
By removing the mantle of perfection, it won’t cause me to make more mistakes than I do now. It’ll allow me to correct them without self hate. It’ll grant me the opportunity to hear of another way- a new option. It’ll allow me to grow into the woman I want to be.
I have viewed a lot of my growth since becoming a mother through that filter- what am I modeling for my son? It’s a good filter. It helps with perspective. But I am adding a new one- one I am proud of. The filter of ‘who do I want to be’. I am taking steps to become that woman. Sometimes the steps feel overwhelming and terribly frightening. My knees shake below me, but I am taking them. Sometimes, the first step is the scariest- and the most rewarding.