“What a young mom thing to do” I hear her behind me saying, while I’m explaining why I’m not leaving my baby in the daycare at church. She scoffs and continues,
“She obviously lacks experience. She must really not know what she’s doing.”
I fight the urge to retaliate and just stay silent, finishing my conversation and continuing with my day.
Later as I’m packing up my diaper bag and putting the stroller in the trunk I hear her commenting under her breath again. “Yes we all saw her fumbling at the check-out. I mean, being organized really isn’t that hard. I just hate to see women who are so unprepared. Did she read ANY books on how to stay clean and productive after the baby comes? Obviously not.”
OK, this lady is a jerk. I wasn’t even making a scene, there was barely a beat missed! What is her problem, anyway? I try to remain calm, I close my trunk, get in my car and leave. We’re walking through the grocery store and you would not believe it, I hear this woman AGAIN!
“Is that baby food in her cart? She probably hasn’t done her research on how to wean her baby. And do you see her baby fussing? Why is she even out in public if her baby is tired? Um, hello doesn’t she know about getting her baby on a schedule? It’s not working, whatever she’s doing.”
At this point I’m pretty close to just giving up on my day, and having a good cry on the way home and opening that bottle of wine a little early. What is happening? What horrible things to say about a person. I get home, get the baby inside, put her to bed, put my groceries away, cross off baby food from the list, go to the bathroom, look in the mirror and see the woman who has been yelling at me all day, staring back at me.
Maybe you guessed it along the way, or maybe not, but how many of us would be APPALLED at another human being treating us this way? When that voice is silent to the rest of the world though, for some reason it’s a lot harder to drown out.
But it’s not just in the mom arena that this woman speaks and accuses. It’s when you just bought a new dress that you love and you get it home and try it on, only to find out it looks a LOT different. It’s when you have a fight with your spouse and all you hear is this woman telling you that you will never be enough (or worse, too much). It’s when it’s raining, and the dog needs to go outside and the cat wants to come in, and you’re trying to play music to calm the atmosphere but it’s making it worse and you really wanted to call your sister but your laundry hasn’t been done in a week and you see this woman sitting on your messy bed, just shaking her head in disapproval.
I hate this woman. I hate that she takes the form of me and tries to disguise herself as my own thoughts and my feelings toward myself. And I hate most of all the fact that I let myself believe her.
Things in life try to tell us that there are “___ of the year” awards. Mom of the year, co-worker, girlfriend, wife, sister, daughter . . . but life isn’t always saying that we should be winning these awards; it’s saying that we already haven’t. That’s got to be worse, right? We’ve got no shot, no opportunity, no seizing the moment, we can’t capture it, and we’ve let it slip.
Yes. That was an Eminem reference, and I’m not sorry.
I’m not even trying to make one of those really loud, inspirational blogs that says, “We can’t do this anymore, let’s stand up for ourselves!” Because to be honest sometimes the effort of trying to be ANOTHER version of an emotional Wonder Woman is more tiring than the lies themselves. Some days, when that woman is just beating you up, and you feel broken, it doesn’t help to say a bunch of inspiring words and get riled up.
Some days, all you can do for yourself is when you look in the mirror—just give yourself a little smile of understanding.
Because YOU know how she treats YOU. You know how she makes you feel. And it’s hard, and emotionally draining and takes a lot of effort to shove her out of the mirror. So while you’re working on it (me, I’m literally talking to myself), give yourself a pat on the back. Just look at that face as if it was your friend (ha, that’s the dream right?) and just smile at that girl. Try to be nice to her for the rest of the day, remind her how pretty she is, how good of a job she’s doing, how she’s managing probably a lot more than most people realize and she’s handling it like. a. boss. How her kids love her, her family is grateful for her, and she is perfect for the job she has.
It’s usually the hardest to tell people the awful things you hear about yourself when they’re coming from inside your own head. Because it feels like you’re saying it, and if you actually say it out loud then it really looks like you’re saying it. But you’re not. It’s not you, I promise. It’s trash.
I’m not trying to tell you what you should believe about yourself because let’s be honest we all know we shouldn’t believe trash. I’m just saying that giving yourself some time to punch that lady in the face is sometimes what you need. And maybe a reminder in the meantime that there are other women in the world who are fighting their own mean, internal, psycho, rude ladies. And it’s hard work, and we’re all doing a good job, dangit!
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