Yeah. THAT one. You know which one I’m referring to alright. Mine tells me that nothing is good enough. I can never be happy enough. I’m fat. I’m dull. I’m not the best mother. I’m not earning enough money. I’m in the wrong job etc etc blah blah blah. I have to admit, since having kids that I have done a whole lot of research – about parenting, about teaching and learning best practices and I have realised (not just from books but experience) that there is NO handbook for the “best” parenting. There just isn’t. No matter what the “experts” say and try to make you pay good money for (there’s a crazy amount of resources out there) – no one way suits everybody. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many great parenting resources out there BUT these need to be used as a starting point, as a guide, rather than considered the bible of parenting, as it were. Every child is different (this became blatantly clear when I had my second child!) AND every parent is different. So, sometimes, as mothers, we just need to trust that what we’re doing, with great love, is the best way forward. Isn’t it funny how so many people feel like they need to add input into what’s already a really difficult transition into being responsible for a whole new human being?! Like they know. Granted, mothers of many will be able to tell you about the practicalities of caring for a baby but the emotional side – well, that’s up to you.*
I now remember back to being pregnant with my first – it was absolutely THE BEST time of my life – I cannot remember being that happy for that many consecutive days, ever – before or since! I had an easy pregnancy and truly loved that the voice in my head stopped for a while – no more “don’t eat that, it’s fattening”, “you look terrible in that outfit”, “you should be doing this or that” … it all just stopped. I was busy doing and being exactly what and where I should and it all just stopped. Curious, huh? I think also that pregnancy agreed with the chemicals in my head and gave me a lovely boost of the thing that I generally seemed to be in shortage of. The thing that my pregnancy made me realise though was that the voices in my head – well, simply put, those negative voices aren’t me. I am generally a rather optimistic, happy go lucky kinda gal…(except on the bad days when I want to curl up and sleep forever) so WHO was in my head then?! Funnily enough, during my parenting research I also found a book that warned that the way we speak to our children will end up being the voice in their heads so we should be careful about what we say. AHA! Lightbulb moment – the voice that often I hear is not mine – it’s my mother’s voice. Oh my. What a revelation. Since then, I have been very conscious about listening to myself and trying to seperate the “real” me from the voices of other people (now, let me just say, it’s not all bad – some of the voices in there are also positive influences!) – it does take time to understand who you are and also to CRAFT the person that you want to be (yes craft – who you are is YOUR CHOICE in the end) but for me, it’s been a task of great worth. I still hear those negative voices but more often than not these days, I manage to catch myself and remind myself of my inner beauty and value. My head is mine and I’m only letting in the influences that I want in there. My mother still has the ability to say things that get in there but it’s now a lot easier to let them sweep past me and over my shoulder than for them to land and stick. And for my children – I do my utmost to ensure that my voice is one of reason, of encouragement and of deep deep love. And when they’re old enough, I will teach them about this too.
So, who are the voices in your head? Are they really you or someone from your past? Are there any voices you’re ready to ditch for good?
’til next time,
* An important side note here to those of you who have just had babies – post natal depression is very real…it can hit anyone regardless of past history so know that you are not alone and that there is a lot of help out there. Go ask for help – you are not expected to deal with it by yourself, especially not while trying to deal with the general upheaval (& ridiculous lack of sleep) a new baby brings into our lives. GO. GET. HELP. Go speak to someone. If not for yourself then for the little one. Do it.