I thought I would return home to a husband crying in relief that I was back from my 2.5 hour hair appointment. It’s the longest I’ve left him and Izzy at home. With a head full of hair dye, I had imagined that Izzy was crying inconsolably, the dog was piddling all over the floor cause she hadn’t been let out in hours and the house was three times messier than when I left. I imagined my partner would sink into our armchair the second I came home as I took Izzy from him to feed her.
I didn’t come home to that.
Instead, my husband had cleaned the kitchen, which is more impressive than normal since our dishwasher is broken and we’re washing all the dishes by hand, he had sanitized all the dirty bottles, cleaned up the floor, taken out the garbage, gone to Best Buy to get me a Christmas gift and entertained his parents who brought over lunch… which he was going to take credit for making but I came home too early. Izzy has slept for 2.5 hours straight through it all. And to top it all off, when I reached out for Izzy, he wouldn’t let me take her!
It’s all my fault too. I left at the last possible minute for my appointment in order to feed Izzy, change her stinky bum and get her dressed. Maybe next time if I leave home when everyone’s a mess, I’ll return to a mess. That would be nice. Sigh.
Some of you are thinking that I’m a total jerk. Hopefully more than a few have been where I was yesterday afternoon and can empathize. I wanted to be needed and for whatever dumb reason, seeing my partner succeed was evidence that I am unimportant, unnecessary, unneeded. Not even a few seconds after I walked in Izzy started fussing and I’m back to my role: feed her, hug her, change her, kiss her and rock her to sleep. Mumhood. She needed me before I left and she needed me once I got home. The evidence was there- my baby and my partner both needed me- but in the moment I wasn’t considering facts. I was too busy being annoyed that the dishes were done to notice my true value and role in both Izzy’s and Ben’s life.
Most of the time it’s easier to believe the negative self talk that results from real or perceived failure and society’s unrealistic ideals of success. “My family doesn’t need me… I’m not important to anyone… I’m a failure…”
It’s much trickier to offer ourselves grace, compassion and love. It’s much trickier to believe the evidence that tells us we’re loved, lovable, needed, worthy, beautiful, funny, important, accepted. Many people spend their lives trying to battle negative self talk by changing how they feel, but it’s our thoughts that create feelings. My negative thought: “my family doesn’t need me”, comes before my feelings of sadness, worthlessness, emptiness, discouragement. Dealing with my feelings will not help in the long run, but what will help is changing my thoughts. Believing the evidence that that disproves my negative self talk.
It takes practice every day to write a new story for yourself. In my new story I believe this:
I am a loving, happy and compassionate mum.
I am loved deeply by my partner.
I love him back with determination and self-sacrifice.
My body is beautiful and strong.
My spirit is beautiful and strong.
I am an important part of my family.
My family is best when we are together.