Saturday, June 18, 2011

Becoming a happy mother

I checked a book out at the library the other day (one of the perks of working there is that I get to see allllll the new books come in) called The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers.

So far, I've only read the first few chapters, but it has really changed my way of thinking.

The first chapter talks all about how important we are as mothers, and how valuable we are, even if we don't think we're very valuable/worthwhile/whatever. At the end of each chapter the author provides some suggestions about how to put into practice whatever she talked about in the chapter, and one of the suggestions at the end of this chapter was to write a list about all the things that you are good at, or whatever.

Basically anything that you are proud of or that makes you feel good about yourself.

I really tried to take this to heart, and while I didn't actually make a physical list, because seriously, who has time for that? I did think about one thing that I really like about myself and that is that I do what I need to do for myself, even if it takes some time.

For example, when I was in graduate school studying Wilderness Therapy, I realized a year and a half in that this was not what I wanted to be doing. I LOVE the wilderness. I love the feeling that I get being out there, and I wanted to bring that same joy and healing to others. Except, I started to hate it. To despise being out there. So, I switched. And I studied straight up Transpersonal Counseling instead.

And, more recently, I made the incredibly difficult transition away from being a full time school based therapist, to a part time shelver in a library so that I could be a more present, less stressed mommy to my owlet. It took me forever, but it was a wonderful decision.

The other chapter that has really affected me is the chapter on not being so competitive/judgmental with other mothers. And we are ALL guilty of this. Even when we judge other moms on the way they are dressed, either to make ourselves feel better, or, as is often the case, make ourselves feel worse, we are judging others.

And it needs to stop.

We're all doing the best damn job we can, aren't we? (well. most of us.) <---another judgement.

But seriously. All of our kids are going to hit their milestones at different times. Some will be talking before their first birthdays, others will be running and jumping and climbing first. Its not a competition. And when we compete or judge others, we just end up losing. Because we either end up feeling like crap for what we're not doing, or we end up feeling like crap because we come to the realization that we were totally being all judgy mcjudgerson just to make ourselves feel better.

So the next time I ask you about your kid and how they're doing, I'm asking because I really want to know, not because I'm going to tell you how much better my son is doing than yours.

And when you tell me that your kid has been sleeping through the night since they were a week old, I'm not going to secretly want to smack you, because I have learned how to function on next to no sleep, so there.

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