Recently, I caught myself being super judgmental. I actually told an exhausted new mama of two that her children deserved better. I told her she wasn’t doing enough. Her house wasn’t clean enough. I even looked her straight in the eye and told her the baby weight wasn’t coming off quickly enough.
When I listen to myself, I am appalled and embarrassed to think that I would shame a mother in this way. But the good news is – I didn’t. I never said any of these things out loud, and I honestly haven’t even thought them about another mother.
The bad news is, I am guilty of saying all of these things to myself.
Why is it that I easily extend grace, understanding and compassion to other mothers, but don’t offer myself the same courtesy? Since coming to this realization, I have stopped myself from negative self talk more times than I care to admit. I can easily shut it down when I think about what I would say if I were speaking to a friend instead of myself. If a mama friend was doing her best in caring for her children, but struggling, I would remind her of her big love for her children. I would remind her that motherhood is hard, but that when it comes to mothering her kids- she is the absolute best woman for the job. I would tell her she was enough, and I would believe it.
Of course I hope we all speak in kindness to each other, but equally important is how we speak to ourselves. There are some days when the only adult voice I hear is my own. Isn’t it better for everyone if that voice is kind? Wouldn’t the world be a little bit sweeter if we all were a little more gentle, not just with others, but with ourselves? In the -almost- words of Michael Jackson, I’m starting with the mom in the mirror, and I’m asking her to change her ways. (You can go ahead and sing that last part.) From now on, my motto is “Grace over guilt”. Not just for you, but for me. Because both of us need it.