There are just some things in life you have to do that you don’t want to.
My mom taught me that. There were several things as a child I was forced to do. I didn’t want to expose my breasts to the neighbors. I didn’t want to lift my nightgown, to show everyone who entered our house, that I ONLY had two chicken poxes on my back.
But I had to.
That and more pretty much messed me up. What I learned is I didn’t have a say. Often as children, we don’t.
Or do we?
I really don’t know. For me, I didn’t. My mom was the puppet master. I was the puppet. I didn’t like upsetting my mom. She was often upset as it was. I didn’t want to be the cause of anything more.
So, I was stuck between wanting to make my mom happy, and not doing what I didn’t want to.
Now I can’t say my kids get away with EVERYTHING, but they do get away with a lot. It’s hard for me not to make them do things they don’t want. I understand the importance of it, but it’s still hard.
Sometimes, it’s just not a battle I want to fight. Like whether they want to keep their shoes on at 15 months. I really don’t care. They’re not walking around outside, unless they are and then they do. But if I’m carrying them from their car seat to the doctor’s office, I’m not going to fuss over it, when I’m just happy we got there on time.
I don’t care if their clothes match. They are old enough to dress themselves. If they don’t want to search for a shirt that matches their shorts. That’s on them. I don’t care.
I will make sure they brush their teeth, but I don’t care if they don’t brush their hair. I just don’t. Once they hit a certain age, their appearance is not a reflection of who I am.
But I truly do understand the importance of learning and teaching there are somethings you just have to do, whether you want to or not.
Like doing chores. Taking baths. Doing homework.
Growing up, myself, I learned a couple of coping skills my kids are probably not learning. Well, not very well.
- Don’t think so much.
As a child, I really had no idea when I was going to go do something I didn’t want to do. So, I really COULDN’T think too much about it anyway. At any time, my mom could, and would tell me to do something…and I would. Of course, then I would have to convince myself everything was ok. That’s not weird. It’s not wrong, my mom told me to do it. I don’t want to upset my mom.
So, this brings me to my second coping skill.
- Instead, think tomorrow, at this time, it will be better.
That’s what you think about when you’re doing something you’re not thinking so much about.
- This is temporary. It will end. Tomorrow, at this time, you won’t be doing this. It will pass.
Not to be confused with, I won’t be doing this again; because that’s not true.
I just don’t think too much about that, well not right now, anyway.
As soon as this is over, my days and nights will be consumed with those thoughts, but not right now. Not in the middle of the act.
Right now, I’m just going to shut down mentally, do what I’m told to do, and think tomorrow will be better.
So yeah, what a mess I became. I’m still trying to understand how all that impacted who I have become and how not to pass that on to my kids.
But I’ve been challenged to think about the good that my mom as done for me. So today, as I sit at my bathroom vanity, starting my morning rituals, and contemplating all the things that I don’t necessarily want to do, but need to do so I can do what I want to do, I think about what my mom has taught me.
Don’t think so hard. Just do what you have to do. Shower, hair, makeup, pack a lunch, go to the gym.
And… (with a slight modification) so then after, things will be better because then I can do what I want.
I mean really, these are great coping skills. Life skills really.
First, don’t think so much about what needs to get done. Just do it. Secondly, remember its only temporary. The faster you get it done, the sooner you can have fun.
And these don’t have to only pertain to everyday mundane stuff, either.
Its helped me step outside my comfort zone too. I really wanted to meet my neighbors because relationships are godly, but I really didn’t want to go knocking on every neighbor’s door to invite them to a block party.
But I didn’t think so hard about it.
I made the invitations. (This step was easy to get stuck in since the longer it took to do this, the more time I had before I had to do something I didn’t want which was…) then start at the end house and knock on each door, up and down the street.
At each door I had a goal. Get their name. So, it sucked. I hate small talk, but I did it and if I got their name, it was a bonus! I can tell you it takes roughly an hour to knock, talk and deliver an invitation to everyone on my block. Oh my gosh, it’s still hard for me. It is one of my least favorite things to do. But I do it because why?
Well, sometimes they come to our parties. Sometimes they don’t, but like my second skill states, something better is coming! They still wave at me as I drive down the street. Or they will say, good morning Kim, as I walk. I still get relationships from it.
So, its God who motivates me to want to step outside my comfort zone, but it’s my mom who has taught me how to do it.
Could she have taught me a different way? Well hopefully because I would like my kids to learn the same lesson, but I don’t want to teach them the same way.
But I have to make peace within myself that she still taught me. She did good. We all have our experiences to overcome. Some experiences are harder to survive.
Growing up, I truly believed childhood was not something you lived. It’s something you survived.
My mom didn’t survive her childhood. Physically, yes, but mentally she didn’t. She wasn’t trying to teach me to survive because she didn’t know how. I learned it from her anyway. I’m grateful for that, because even though she’s mentally still stuck back there in her childhood, abandoned and alone, I was able to pull through so that I can hopefully teach my kids the same lesson, but in a different way.
I’m not teaching them how to survive. I’m teaching them how to live.
So, I’m going to go cry now.
Thank you listening.