Mitigating Disappointment In Motherhood

Something good happened this morning.
As I sat down to write in my cozy corner,
With the window creaked ajar,
Birds softly teasing through the morning air,
Coffee breathing on the sill,
Palo santo hovering in my lap…

Violet woke up.
She.
Just.
Knew …that I was about to do something ALONE.

And she let out a cute little baby shriek.
And my achy,
breaky,
heart
…s a n k.

I was SO disappointed.
Because I didn’t get time to journal yesterday, either.
And one day? I can handle.
But two days? That feels like a pattern.
And suddenly I was swooping into a spiral of:
“You’re-never-going-to-get-to-journal-again.
This-was-a-phase.
You-got-lucky-for-a-month, but now-it’s-over-and-you’re-never-going-to-have-time-to-cultivate-ideas-for-your-blog
and
you’ll-never-draw-or-shower-or-poop-or-laugh-or-breath-or-do-anything-you-want
EVER ……
AGAIN!!!!!
….!!!!!”

Well, god damn that’s a lot of negativity to project onto a cute little baby.
..But I’m a human.
And it’s okay that I acted like a human.
(Self-compassion is a big topic for me right now.)

But the super-duper-spectacular thing is:
I did something good.

I took a breath,
and lit my palo santo,
Giving my emotions a moment to dissipate from my tightly disappointed chest,
And I watched the smoke rise and ripple,
Wrapping my favorite window in a hug,
Blanketing me in an ancient ritual of positive energy…

And even though I don’t *actually* believe in that shit,
(do I?)
I was comforted by the act of repeating a sacred tradition.
Of tangible evidence that I was taking care of ME.

And a sense of clarity came over me.
(So maybe palo santo actually works, ehhhhh?)
And I got an idea:

I’ll go ask JACOB,
(authentically)
If he could please take care of Violet,
So that I can journal…

And that’s what I did!
And guess what he said?
“S U R E !”

…And then,
THEN,
I got to journal for 15 m i n u t e s …
MIND. B L O-O-O-O-O W N.

So usually, I would have retrieved Violet right away.
But I would have been reeeeal salty about it.
And furthermore, my inner dialogue would have gone something like this:

1. “Did Jacob wake up with Violet in the night? Did I not hear it? It’s so horrible that I sleep through her cries and he doesn’t. I’m a shit mom and all the other Moms would be jealous and judgey if they knew that my husband is on permanent night-watch.”
2. “Is it fair that he does the whole bedtime routine AND I’m asking him to do the wake up routine? …Other Moms complain constantly about their M.I.A. husbands. I should be grateful for what I GET.”
3. “He has to work today. Maybe I need to let him sleep more so he can perform at work. His is the breadwinner after all and I should be able to suck it up because I don’t have a real job. I need to get my June Cleaver on STAT.”
4. “Am I a lazy Mom? I’m a shit lazy Mom, aren’t I?”

…And here’s the important part,
I actually wrote that list down,
In the moment,
Then answered my swirling anxious questions,
Best-friend-style.
Here it is:

No. He didn’t wake up overnight. And you shouldn’t be ashamed of how awesome your husband is. It just means he’s awesome, it doesn’t mean you’re awful.
Yeah, it’s fair because you are alone with her for TEN hours every day.
He has to go to a job, yeah. A job he enjoys. Where he sits at a quiet desk in a beautiful old restored firehouse surrounded by cool AF creative people. Where none of his colleagues will be indiscriminately screaming to be PICKED UP for 8 hours. Where he will certainly not have to poop in front of anyone else. (why am I talking about poop twice in one blog?) …also he has a Keurig. So… yeahhhhh.
WTF. You’re so UN-lazy that, in an effort to slow down and take care of yourself, you’re writing a BLOG about self care. Effectively making self care into W O R K. So… NOT. LAZY!

And just like that,
After a quick pep talk with myself,
I felt relieved.
It felt awesome to get that garbage out and more forward with my day.

And now,
I’m sharing all this because:

1.It’s been really helpful to journal my negative inner monologues.
To shine an honest light on my fears.
And then to argue my way out of the feedback loop from hell**

2. It’s been really helpful to pause,
Let my emotions breath for a moment,
And then act with more awareness and intention.

My GOAL from all this is:

When you feel guilt, take a moment to write down your fleeting negative thoughts. Then have an analytical throwdown with yourself, and
TAKE
THAT
SHIT
DOWN.

I hope if you’ve read this far that my big feelings have resonated with you, and maybe even helped you feel better about YOU.

And I’d love to hear some of your wisdom in the comments! What helps you break your negative inner dialogues? What tools do you use to defeat disappointment? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

You can roll your eyes.
It’s okay with me.

Until next time,
Your friend from internet-land,
Who is certainly not a hug-person but who would give you a hug anyways,

Beth

**So FYI: “feedback loop from hell” is a term from this book I’m reading right now, and you should read it too: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

I’d like to write a review on it someday, but chances are I won’t.  Because it’ll take a lot of brain power.  So for now, let’s leave it at: I like it. Go forth and read ye ol book.

 

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