The Pep Talk I Just Gave Myself in the Mirror
I needed a mom pep talk. So I gave myself one.
I’m near tears. OK, I lie. I’m in tears. Sitting on the floor in a yoga child’s pose with my forehead on the floor, but without the yoga. I am exhausted, overwhelmed and trying to get over this croupy cough that will not go away. Both my 11-year-old and my 14-month-old are sick. My house looks like a bomb site—the laundry is making its way across my room like molten lava ready to smother me. I am tempted to shimmy underneath a pile of dirty jeans to nap. But I can’t. Nap, that is. Or do the laundry, for that matter. There’s too much to do. I have sick children to tend to. I’ve been working from home for the past two days. And that means busting my butt in the 10 minutes here and there that present themselves, well, never. My other writing jobs are piling up. And the baby just won’t stop crying. It makes me so sad for her, and it also makes me want to lose my freaking mind. Oh yeah, and I am having my period. I let out a whimper and more tears fall.
I realize that things are not as bad as they seem. I realize what I am doing at that moment is serving no real purpose, other than to feel sorry for myself. The clock keeps ticking forward, the laundry keeps threatening complete home domination, and my hormones keep raging, with or without tears. It’s time to turn this beat around. I need a pep talk. But, I don’t feel like talking to anyone, and my husband is at work. I get up from the floor, take a deep breath, walk into my bathroom and turn to face the mirror. You want a pep talk? I’ll give you a pep talk, I say to myself.
I stare at myself, and my reflection seems to be surprised at the image in the mirror. I straighten my shoulders and firmly say:
Hey there! Looks like it’s time to get yourself sorted out. Time to get up and brush those shoulders off, girl. But firstly, wow, you look a mess. (stares) Hey, that’s OK. It doesn’t matter. Really. But let’s start here.
Don’t worry about your hair–it honestly hasn’t looked like that all day (winking inside). And those dark circles under your eyes? They aren’t that noticeable. And whatever, they add a hint of mystère to your face, anyway. People may wonder what you are up to in the night. They don’t know that you aren’t playing baccarat at the high stakes table in Vegas while wearing a very tight-fitting, slinky cocktail gown. They don’t know that you aren’t competing in cage fighting competitions in the night or dancing and mingling with Lance Bass at an exclusive nightclub. They don’t know that you are spending your late hours wiping baby snot, administering Motrin and eating Doritos. But YOU should know that you are a badass.
So, you’re behind at work. That blows. But what can you do? It’s not like you got behind because you were procrastinating. It’s not because you were nursing a hangover or playing Grand Theft Auto until 4 AM and couldn’t make it to work the next morning. NO, you were taking care of little humans. Making sure they are comfortable. Making sure they get well. Making sure they feel loved. You’ll get all caught up. It may take a week, but you’ll do it. You know you will.
Do NOT start plucking your eyebrows right now. Focus! This is important.
I know you often feel like you are always behind the game, just trying to catch up. Sometimes you need to take a break and recharge before you burn out or get hit with the flu. But, you need to realize, lots of things can wait. Many of the things you feel are pressing are really just not that important. Blow it off. Take a breather. You’re doing just fine.
So you fed your daughter french fries and Cheerios tonight for dinner. Sometimes that happens. Her belly is full, and she’s not complaining. It won’t be the last time, and she won’t be this picky forever.
Just because Stella is waking up every hour on the hour doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. I know all your friends tell you about their good-sleeper babies and their disciplined ways. And how “OMG, it’s so weird” that their babies have been sleeping through the night since 3 weeks old. That’s a crock. You know how to “sleep train.” But, how about giving yourself some credit? You follow your intuition. I know you are exhausted, but remember she’s only this little once in her life. Try to shift your perspective.
I know that you feel inadequate as a mother sometimes. I know that you often wonder how others make it look so easy. How others seem to always have their shizz together. How others look like they love being a mom all the time. I know that you feel guilty for feeling this way. But, truthfully, it doesn’t matter what others do or feel. And it’s OK to feel un-mother-like sometimes. You are many things. Being a mother is one of them. But I see all the parts of you, and they are all important. You try your best. Your children feel your love.
And that yogurt stain across your belly makes you look down to earth. Makes you look authentic. It makes you look friggin’ awesome.
Remember, you are in charge of your happiness. You control your life.
Big hugs. (Points at mirror, winks cheezily, and giggles.) But then I take a moment to really stare at myself in the mirror and look at myself through loving eyes. I wanted to hug that woman in the mirror, and tell her that she’s great. So I did, and I felt loved. And ready to take on the rest of the day. But not that pile of laundry. Naw, that *&(^ can wait.
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