Monday, September 14, 2015

I'm I Doing Too Much?

Am I doing too much?
Am I doing enough?
Am I a good person, daughter, wife and above all, mother?
What could I do to be a better (fill in the blank)?
Am I setting my priorities right?
Should I be listening to them?

         These are questions that faced me today like a hard rock wall that has been standing in my path for far too long. They have been stopping me from being content with myself and who I am. These questions have driven me to over exert myself and yet I'm never really satisfied with what I have accomplished. Believe me when I say that I have needed a mindful makeover since my adolescent years if not before that.

    This evening,  my daughter's words sunk in and pulled me out of this deep abyss that I have been entrapped in for what seems like eternity. Every mother reflects on herself, her performance and her roles in her society which pushes her to judge herself; many times critically. This harshness and self doubt did not grow out of nothing. Nothing this strong and so rooted could grow in a matter of months or years. This mind-eating, confidence-shattering plant has been sown and tended to for generations upon generations.

       Today, my sweet daughter taught me a lesson. One that I intend to honor since she proved wrong the belief that wisdom passes from the "aged" to the little sprouts. My little sprout is no longer so. She is a sunflower. She is wiser than her years. She has taught me to shake myself up sometimes and self reflect with a handful of forgiveness.

     Tonight, I thought I had failed my daughter as a mother to take care of her newly pierced ears. I had not remembered to attend to them after the first two months. But alas, we live in a tropical country and I should not have forgotten that.

     Any mother can imagine my sense pf panic when I saw some blood and could not find the butterfly bit at the back of both of her earlobes. For some reason, I jumped to the conclusion that there had been a terrible accident. I thought it was the butterfly ball that went through as I could feel a hard surface beneath her skin  Panic tentacles engulfed me and pulled my daughter along for the ride. That was when my internal conflicts began their daily scheduled fights.

     To cut a long story short, I have been doing so much since school started that I haven't had time to relax. My nerves were stressed and I could not contain my panic in a vault as one should do when talking to a little girl. I had to seek my husband's support. I needed his help to calm my daughter causing one of my many jury members and sometimes judge to say, "You need her father's help to calm your own daughter down? Shame on you."

     That was when a member of the court room stood up and objected, but that did not stop Good-Old-Guilt from lashing out,"How could you not have noticed that her ears were infected?"

     I did something unusual this evening. I yelled back and said, "I made breakfast, checked her hair (as I do every week) to see if there are lice, took her to two birthday parties in one day, helped her dress, helped her wash her hair, prepared dinner for the next day, made her snack and lunch for school tomorrow putting a special note for her. I have done well."

     "No,  you've failed to detect an infection that could have harmed your daughter," was his answer and that silenced me. It floored me and all went quiet in my head.  A second later, one voice kept repeating the accusation like an iTune song on repeat.

     At night all she wanted me to do was to sit next to her as she fell asleep. But before she did, she trusted me with her feelings. She told me how she is not as strong as her friend, that she is weak because she cried so much while we were checking her ears. She  told me that she did not want to go to school because she would be embarrassed; she feared that her friends in the apartments next to us might have heard her cry*. She then continued to question herself and her reaction.

     Her words captured me, forcing me to think. They pulled me out of the cave.

     Do we really start doubting ourselves at that age? What makes us doubt? Is this normal? Are we born with this damaging ability?

Or do others instill or trigger this habit? Is self doubt brought on by the reactions of people around us? Because if it is, I certainly do not want a hand in this crime. I do not want to look at my daughter when she is older and find that I had a hand in her lack of confidence... her self doubt.

Since as a mother, I am expected to show my daughter how to be proud of herself, her body and her mind, I must also help her be more forgiving towards herself.

I must model it first. I must learn the ways... and here my friends, my journey begins.

* (I assured her that they hadn't because I had closed the windows).

1 comment:

Birdie said...

Oh, Lana. Being a good mother all the time is not possible. We are flesh and blood human. I am a good mom most days but other days it is like a game of poker. It is just pure luck that gets me though. This was especially true for when my kids were little. (They are 19 and almost 18 now and take care of themselves for the most part.) It is so very hard raising kids today. Just the fact that your daughter has TWO birthday parties in one days is just the beginning of how hard it is. And then you have to work and make meals and keep the house somewhat clean and drive all over the place and... it never ends. You go to bed and wake up more tired then when you went to bed.
You missed an ear infection. It happens.
Cut yourself a lot of slack. Just like you would do for a friend if the same thing happened to her. xo