I know that theoretically we have control over who can hurt us (I’m referring to verbal assaults, not physical ones), right? Isn’t there a quote to that speaks to that? Ah…..yes. Here it is:
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
I really like that quote – I aspire to be that tough, but I find it very hard to control my reactions. I’m not strong that way. I admire those that have thick skin versus my papery thin epidermis. Most of the blame is rooted in my constant quest for perfectionism – the slightest bit of criticism can turn my insides into mush. I try to act all tough on the outside and then I’m left with swirling thoughts about whatever the criticism was (direct or indirect). I’ll do better next time. . . Wow, I should have known to do it that way. . . Your right, moms shouldn’t react that way…blah, blah….
Before we go any further, I want to emphatically state that I love all three of my children with everything I have and I would die for them (it sounds really sappy, but it’s the honest truth and must be stated for the record before we proceed).
Okay, today’s criticism that I “consented to” was bestowed upon me by the person that from this point forward will be known as the Self-Righteous One (SRO). SRO exists in one of the Jenni spheres of living. We (me, SRO, and one other inferior being) were discussing how I was “trapped” in the house last week (from Tuesday thru Thursday) with my kiddos – they had three and half days off from school due to Ice Storm 2011 (in hindsight, maybe trapped was a tad strong and I didn’t really feel trapped until the third day).
SRO: Trapped? Oh, you’re so funny! I always LOVED staying at home with my kids when we had days like that….. blah, blah…..additional comments along this vein.
Me (consenting to criticism): It was hard to get work done. If I could have played games with them, it would have been easier to be home with them all day.
SRO: Oh, I didn’t play games all day. I always had other stuff to do.
Me (slinking away because I didn’t mean to imply that moms that stay home play games all day): Oh, well, we survived (chuckle chuckle)!
Of course. the critique of my parenting was clear (and had witnesses) – “What is wrong with you?” “Why don’t you enjoy being with your kids?”
Permission granted – my mind started racing, “What is wrong with me? Why did I say trapped? Do I really feel trapped? What does that say about me? Am I not embracing motherhood like I should? Do my kids feel that I haven’t embraced motherhood? Do you have to completely give over your life to your kids to be the best mother possible?.
Then, I started getting mad at myself for letting SRO make me crazy and then I started getting mad at SRO for being such a self-righteous @#$%! I wish I my brain wouldn’t even register comments like that – like a robot. I need Eleanor whispering in my ear “Nobody can make you feel like shit unless you let them!” (I’m paraphrasing now).
Moms are the hardest on other moms – why is that? At one of our breakfasts, we were talking about this phenomenon because in the news we had the Tiger Mom and also a post on the Today Show’s Mom Blog by Mayim Bialik (Blossom) about “Attachment Parenting”. I’m sure everyone has read an article or has seen an interview with the Tiger Mom since she has been out promoting her book. Attachment parenting (this term is NOT endorsed by those that practice it – I just don’t know what else to call it) may not be familar to you. It wasn’t familiar to me and I learned something new by reading Mayim’s post.
One seems too hard and the other one seems too soft – two ends of the parenting spectrum. They have both hit a nerve (read the comments on Mayim’s post!).
Neither of these styles of parenting seems to fit my personality. So, I guess I will stick with my Control Freak, non-Attachment, Give me Peace (sometimes), Worry Wart style of parenting. So far so good, – no serial killers (however, it may be too early to tell), good grades had by all, polite kids (with some minor attitude flare-ups), AND all three of them will still be seen in public with us!
I just need to remember Eleanor 🙂