I woke up with a cloud over my head. You know the one. The dark cloud that’s heavy, full of tears, full of disappointment and discouragement. The "woe is me" torrent as I stand in my spit-up covered bathrobe and not-so-cute messy bun. (In fact, glancing in the mirror, it appears to be a full on rat's nest.)
It's not depression that I feel. It's just how overwhelming motherhood is. The cloud is spurred by sleepless nights and repetitive cleaning, not enough adult interaction and too much negative self-talk. This last factor is where it starts, at least for me. I fall down a rabbit hole of self-induced pity so easily. I worry and fret and imagine a different life.
I say things like:
I’m not good at anything.
I couldn’t go back to work if I wanted to.
Just look at my post-baby body.
My kids don’t even care that I’m home.
I’m not a fun mom.
I don’t say these things out loud. I would never want my kids to hear these words or translate them to themselves. They're perfect! But when it comes to me, I berate myself without question. These thoughts roll in like a storm and rain heavy on my heart. I brew negative talk into my mind and, true to form, it takes over my day.
I am worth saying no to the negativity, to the painful comments, to the poison that ruins me.
Negative self-talk is pure poison and it's all too easy to fall into. Being at home day in and day out and rarely interacting with other adults creates a space for my self-talk to go south—fast.
But here’s the reality check. I deserve better FROM ME. I am worth saying no to the negativity, to the painful comments, to the poison that ruins me as a mom, as a wife and as a woman from the inside out.
All that negative talk is a lie. I am good at many things, probably a hundred things if I sat down to make a list.
For instance, I could go back to work. In fact, I’ve been diligent to keep up my résumé with various projects that would show I’m a worthwhile employee.
And my postpartum body? It's actually quite amazing. I have birthed four children and my body bears witness to those miracles—with weight and stretch marks, yes, but also with strength and endurance.
My kids do love that I’m home with them. They might not know it now, but later, they will. I know because my mom was home when I was young, and I now recognize the flexibility and peace her daily presence brought to our family.
Even though I do make my son eat his snap peas (a fun mom would serve cookies and fruit snacks all day, right?), I balance it out by reading "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" out loud, complete with voices, and planning impromptu movie nights where we all stay up past our regular bedtime. Total "fun mom" status, right there.
See? Just as much as negative talk can come on like a deluge, intentional positive self-talk can eliminate the potential of a dark cloud.
Mama friends, we have to say no to that little voice inside that is trying to break us down. We deserve better. We MUST stop telling our beautiful, amazing selves those lies. Choose the sunshine today. Choose to tell yourself 10 great things about you. You are amazing. And you deserve to hear it from yourself.