Motherhood vs. Victimhood

motherhood vs victimhood

I want water! I’m so thirsty, my throat is dry, and I can’t even play! RIGHT NOW!!!
Mommmmmm, where is my favorite stuffed puppy? I can’t find it!!!!! Help me RIGHT NOW!!!!!
TV TV TV TV TV TV TV!!!!!!!!! We haven’t watched in five weeks! I want!!!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!!!”
It’s time for snacks! I want twenty-ten-twenty-six. I’m sooo hungry! Give them give them give them!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!!!
I want to go outside and jump in muddy puddles! What’s a thunderstorm? I want mud! RIGHT NOW!!!!!

I can deal with their requests. Most of the time. There are days however when it all feels pointless, and I feel like a failure. (Such as yesterday)
These are the days when my narrative goes like this:
I can’t believe she is asking for this again! I’m spending all my available time with her, and now she demands to be carried around like a baby! She is simply not grateful. She doesn’t even acknowledge that I’m giving her EVERYTHING! It all goes down from here.

My kids are not brats. If they were at your house, you would be amazed how polite, calm and good listeners they were. But bring them home, after school, in the window of 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, mostly just with me and all you get is meltdowns, demands and me crying in the bathroom. And yes, I am aware of the dark hours. The point of this is not the meltdowns that occur at the end of the day. Instead, it is my realization that I suck at setting boundaries that PREVENT me feeling like a failure during those meltdowns mentioned above.

My technique is to give it my all, overdo it, even when I know for sure where my borderline is. Then I feel resentful but not saying anything and hoping that it will be quite obvious from my behavior, body language or attitude that I am pissed. From then on it is full-on victimhood, feeling overwhelmed by everything that comes my way and eventually ending in a blast – this is when I completely lose my shit.

I went through life learning how to be nice, put others first, share, give selflessly, read cues and adjust my behavior to please. I believe it made me a good person, a reliable friend, an awesome coworker and the neighbor you want around. I also know for sure that I am a good mother and a good wife.
The story I was telling myself through this process is what deserved a closer look. And by the way, it is always about the story we tell ourselves. The facts are irrelevant. The inner dialogue is what will dictate our reactions.

“The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.” -Rita Mae Brown

For me to have a different inner dialogue, some other aspects needed to change:

  • I will meditate for 3 minutes just before school pickup, to shift my mind from grownup activities and expectations to kids activities and expectations.
  • We all get moody when we are hungry, so I will bring a sugarless snack and water to be consumed immediately after school. For both the kids and myself.
  • I will be intentional and provide the kids with a novel activity after school – no new toys, but new things to do. Bake, help me with dinner prep, let them play with water in the garden, give them empty cups, sand, or bubbles. I won’t be in the middle of it, but I am providing the materials.
  • When I have to say “no,” I will allow them to express frustration and anger to revolt against the unfairness of not being allowed to paint their hair with a green neon marker, instead of offering alternatives.
  • I will stop over-explaining things to my kids or my husband. I feel I lose them anyway after two sentences.

Setting boundaries is not something I am naturally good at. I believe that many women were taught to draw their worth from how pleased with them other people are.

Putting ourselves first is not what will change all of our identity, but it will improve self-perception, especially when things fall apart. It’s a lifelong learning and unlearning of the meaning we give to the rules of the world.

Do you know a mom who needs to read this? Share!

Motherhood vs. Victimhood 

Many women were taught to draw their worth from how pleased with them other people are.

It is always about the story we tell ourselves during struggle.

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