Yesterday I woke up at 3:15am… Why? I don’t know. I’ve struggled with insomnia off and on my entire life, so this was just one of those times, I guess. Since I was wide awake I decided to get up and make my coffee. The kiddo is gone this weekend, so I have the place to myself… my Christmas tree is still up, so I enjoyed the silence of the early morning hours with my big cup of magical bean water and my dog, Jake, snuggling up against me on the couch… my happy place.
After enjoying some of this time of pure bliss, I decided I would start working on my goals for 2019. Every year I like to set an intention for the year, as well as personal goals to achieve…. some big, some small.
I decided I am going to write in a journal, everyday, my intention for the day, and goals that I have… to help me keep focused on achieving the goals I have set for myself in the upcoming year. I believe what you focus your energy on is what will manifest in your life, so I will keep my goals front and center and accomplish them all. This year I don’t have any big goals, such as conquering the Tough Mudder Holy Grail, races, or competitions or anything like that in 2019… this year I am focusing more on small, daily goals that will lead to big things in my future.
I had given my daughter a blank journal/daily planner a while back that I didn’t think I wanted/needed… but, in this moment, I decided I actually did want to use it. I was going to go buy another one, but I figured I would save the money and use what I had… plus, she wasn’t using it for anything… so, why not?
I got up off the couch, leaving a half a cup of coffee behind, as I went to look for the journal in her room. I don’t go all the way into her room very often, because it is messy… she loves the mess, it makes her feel secure to be surrounded by clutter… it always has, but for me… it stresses me out! Now I am by no means a neat freak. In fact, organization is NOT a strength of mine… my desk area is evidence of this fact, but the difference between me and her is I can’t stand clutter… so, I keep my disorganization mess contained to my small, little desk area, and the rest of my apartment has a place for everything. (my car is another story… I can only keep that thing clean for like 30 minutes… it defies the laws of physics – junk manifests out of thin air in there 😉 Oh well… lol)
As I entered my daughter’s room completely for the first time in weeks I was confronted with just how messy her room was… it was a freaking disaster! Clothes and trash from Christmas presents all over the floor… junk everywhere. To say I was pissed is an understatement. Suddenly my mood went from thinking about all of the positive things I’m going to accomplish in 2019 to all of the things I’m grounding my kid from in 2019.
I found the journal and went back to my coffee… I told myself I was going to make her clean up that mess… I sat there for about 4 1/2 minutes, fuming, and decided to get up and start throwing her shit away. I couldn’t relax and focus knowing that her room looked like that… Plus, she’s not coming home until Tuesday, so I knew it would stress me out knowing the the remnants of ‘Hurricane Briella’ was in my household for the next 4 days. I grabbed my box of big black trash bags and got to work…
As I cleaned, I eventually calmed down.
Now, I’m going to be honest here… parenting is where I feel like I suck the most in life. The reason why is I compare my situation to others. I compare to the way I was raised. My mom kept the house spotless when I was growing up. I feel guilty for working so much. I get mad at myself when I completely zone out as my daughter is telling me what seems to be a 45 minute story about Minecraft. 😉 lol When I hear other moms talk about how they miss their kids when they go back to school, or if the kids spend the night at their grandparents or with friends or whatever I feel like an asshole because I don’t experience that same phenomenon. I feel guilty that she doesn’t have a father figure in her daily life to show her how a man should treat a woman. I worry that my kid is missing out because she’s not in extracurricular activities because I’m unable to transport her there…. I mean is there any possible way she will grow up to be a normal adult without cheer, dance, soccer, and underwater basket weaving???
Why am I telling you all of this? Because it’s real. Very real. These thoughts used to consume me… I felt like a terrible mother because of all of this. I didn’t like to feel that way, so I would avoid these feelings by doing other things. I’m a workaholic by nature. I’m good at working, and it feels like I’m doing something productive with my time, so that was something I used to use as an escape… the problem with that is then it would increase my guilt for not being around enough. I used to use a glass or two of wine to wind down at the end of a hard day or week because I felt like I “needed” it… the problem with that is it would make me zone out even more when I was with her. (even on days I didn’t drink, it still affected my brain chemistry) I would workout obsessively to focus my attention on changing my body… the problem with that I felt selfish for doing activities like this, but my kid doesn’t participate in any…. the list goes on and on… the more I tried to avoid my feelings of inadequacy as a mother, the worse Mom I actually was.
But, with lots of self improvement work, and counseling, I don’t go into this shame spiral anymore. Now, I’m able to stop and look at things with a more rational view. For instance, now when I beat myself up for not keeping the place spotless like my mom did, I remind myself that my mom stayed at home the majority of the time during my childhood. I remind myself that I’m doing the job of 2 people here – bringing home the bacon, plus cooking it, serving it, and cleaning it up when the meal is over. 😉 I can’t expect my life to look like others who do have a partner to share some of the burdens of parenting. When I zone out during one of the endless Minecraft stories I’m more likely to bring myself back to the present, and listen to the end… because instead of beating myself up for zoning out in the first place, I just take note that it’s happening, and do the actions necessary to move forward. I don’t feel guilt anymore for being a single mom… it’s better that I do raise her on my own than it is to raise her in a dysfuntional or abusive household… which has been the case in the past. To look at the bright side, I know that I’m teaching her by my actions that she does not need to settle for a man that disrespects her and mistreats her. I know that I’m showing her that no matter what life throws her way, she will make it through, and she will learn to fly. Now, I realize that I am with her 99% of the time… and it’s okay that I look forward to alone time on the weekends she’s at her dad’s… it allows me to recharge and be a better mom to her, and it shows her that it’s important to develop a life she loves without relying on the continuous presence of others… we are all responsible for our own happiness… it is no one’s responsibility to make us happy and feel fulfilled in life. There will be a day where she will move out of this household, and I know that my world won’t crumble when she does. I know I won’t put the burden on her of making sure I’m okay on her as she’s finding her way in the world herself.
I used to hate the fact that I am a single mom, but now, I find gratefulness in it. I’m grateful for the relationship she and I have. I know there’s no way we would have the bond that we have if things had worked out any other way. I’m proud of myself for what I have been able to do on my own… build a successful business, while raising a very well-adjusted, loving, beautiful, smart kiddo… even without the cheer, dance, soccer, and underwater basket weaving. 😉 I am truly blessed, and I know it. Yes, I obviously need to do a better job at setting an example of tidiness, lol, but, just because there’s a mess in my house doesn’t mean that my life is a mess… or that I, as a mom, am a mess. I know I’m doing the best I can with the knowledge I have up to this point… now, to improve this messy area, I simply need to find a solution… a better way of doing things to keep her room clean. It doesn’t mean I’m incapable, or she’s incapable. It simply means I/we haven’t learned the most effective way to do this… yet.
Changing my perspective over the years from “I suck” to one of “That didn’t work, so what can I learn from this situation, so I can do it again – better” has changed my life. It made me realize that although things haven’t always gone as planned, doesn’t mean they aren’t good. You cannot make progress for beating yourself for where you are or how you got there. What’s happened in the past is in the past. The only thing you can control is your actions at this very moment, and THAT is what will change the future. When I used to be down on myself for being a terrible mom, I wasn’t the greatest mom to be honest… like I said before, what you focus your energy on is what will manifest in your life. If the story you tell yourself is one of failure or “I can’t” that is the result you will get… I guarantee it. Like Henry Ford famously said… “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.
So, if there is an area of you life that you feel inadequate or like you’re failing. I challenge you to stop. Question yourself… Is this negative belief really true? My bet is that you can find evidence to prove otherwise… even just a small amount. Just like a jury, you must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are 100% guilty of whatever “crime” you believe yourself to be committing… if there is ANY evidence to the contrary – let yourself off the hook. Then, with your new freedom, use the energy you used to spend focusing on those negative things to learn how to make them optimal. When I started focusing on the ways I am a good mother, I became an even better one… and I realized that my kid thinks I’m pretty awesome too… so, who else’s opinion matters, right? 😉 Now because I know this to be true, I can continue to focus on the goals for our future to become an even better mom, in every stage we go through, together.
Focus on your thoughts and behaviors, because those are the only things you can control. Focus on the good… it’s there. Direct your attention to it – manifest that sh*t, and watch your life change. 😉
Let’s enjoy this messy, magnificent thing we call life, and make it the best it can be. 🙂