Rewiring the soundtrack
February 7, 2014
The past 5 days or so have been rough in the area of, well, honestly, basic personal hygiene. I’ve showered some, but only under the careful scrutiny of pint-sized bathroom intruders. My children – and all small children, I guess – have an internal alarm that sounds when mother disrobes. I intensely dislike this aspect of parenting. Rant over.
Anyway, I’ve been limping along, trying the keep the house together and the kids alive-ish and warm, and I haven’t been doing much in the way of the Wellness Project most days, and I feel it acutely. Yesterday was one of the hardest days I’ve had with the kids, and I was exhausted and so broken down by 4 pm and wouldn’t you know it, all that negative self talk I’ve been laying waste to? It came roaring back.
I began to find myself making the odd offhand comment here and there as this interminable week has dragged on, but it wasn’t until today that I stopped and looked closely at the correlation between one exhausted, over-extended mommy and the soundtrack of doom that plays like a broken record in my brain.
You’re such a failure, look at this house/your body/this dinner/their attitudes/your tone with him…
Why can’t I look like her? Why does my body look so awful? Why can’t I dress myself? Why don’t clothes look that way on me? Why doesn’t my house look like that?
Tellingly, from an eternal perspective, I don’t spend much time pining over the holiness or charity of others. But the temporal stuff? I’m all over that.
And this post is all over the place. I guess what I’m getting at is when I get really run down and, consequently, stop making conscious efforts to care for myself in a healthy and realistic-to-this-stage-of-life way, it’s harder for me to practice virtue. It’s just plain harder to be good; to myself and, more importantly, to others. I would never have imagined that there would be a connection here, but there you go. Body + soul and all that.
So today? I took a shower. I put on make up and blew my hair dry, even though it was close to 4pm. And I felt better for it. And I know Dave appreciated it, even though I was strrrretching the definition of ‘fully dressed’ from the waist down in my highly inappropriate but whoops, nothing else quite fits yet black leggings. Leggings are not pants. Except when you stuff them into boots and pretend that they are.
Nope, they’re still not pants. But boy are they niiiice and stretchy.
Tomorrow is a new day. I’m re-commited to this project, and to the idea that something good is happening here, and that the soundtrack that starts to play whenever things start to slide downhill isn’t infallible. Hell, it isn’t even true most of the time.
It’s time to start listening to something new.
Yes, leggings aren’t pants but I was told that as long as my butt was covered I was okay. And they are so comfy and jeans are just a pain.
But I just bought a few maxi skirts and will be wearing them like crazy because I feel like I should try a little bit harder than not-pants.
Beth (A Mom's Life)
I agree with Bonnie…as long as your butt is covered, then you are good to go! Hoping that today is much better for you. It’s Friday after all! 🙂
Oh gosh. I feel ya Jenny.
Jenny, you’re awesome. And remember – “When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don’t say to yourself “All is lost. I have to start all over again.” This is not true. What you have gained you have gained….When you return to the the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.”
-Henri J.M. Nouwen
What a great quote. I needed that.
I laughed at your intro statement. Same goes for whenever mom has to use the restroom. 😉 Jenny, you’re absolutely beautiful! I love you and think you’re also a great mom. One of my favorites, actually.
I love your comment about showering and getting dressed. It really does make a difference in how you feel, if you just do those two things. I also had a couple days this week that were crazy and I found myself not showering until later in the afternoon and I would start to see myself in the mirror beforehand and find myself thinking “why bother? It’s already so late in the day”. But I forced myself and felt so much better. Motivated by the desire for my husband to not come home and see me in my pajamas with messy hair. It’s so much easier to serve your people when you serve yourself a little first….!
I can relate that internal monologue (track) that can creep up from time to time. Although I’m a young Dad – way different than being a young, stressed out momma. I admire your grit 🙂 And yes, Dads can relate to the same disrobing radar that kids have. Definitely cuts into alone time with the wife as well 🙂
Self care is the hardest! Thanks for such an honest reminder, Jenny!!
Today I showered (though I have yet to look in the mirror) and finally ditched the not-really-pants uniform and donned some corduroys (even though the fly is broken) and my how good these little victories can feel!