Mean girls…we’ve all encountered them at some point or another in our lives. Maybe we don’t want to admit it – but maybe we WERE that mean girl in high school. The girl who picked on other girls for no reason whatsoever other than trying to hide our own insecurities. As we get older, everyone (hopefully) matures enough to put the claws away and accept people for who they are. We won’t get along with everyone but we are old enough to treat others with respect.
However what happens when the person that you treat the worst, the person that you’re constantly mean to, is yourself?
My Inner Mean Girl
We all have those moments as women, friends, and especially moms when we feel we aren’t good enough. Why is that we make it a point to tell ourselves we aren’t good enough on a daily basis? If a friend of mine had her kids zone out on their iPad in order to get some work done, I would say to her, “You did what you needed to do to get your work done and there is nothing wrong with that.” However right now, my kids are on their iPads so I can gather my thoughts and write, and all I keep thinking is how horrible it is that they are glued to this electronic device.
I’m not one of those moms who can stay silent when the kids are running around in circles yelling, “She hit me!” and “He hit me first!” I am a yeller. I yell, I get mad, and I’m grateful we have central air and don’t need to open our windows for all the neighbors to hear. Then, after the kids go to bed, instead of relaxing on the couch, I berate myself for not keeping my cool. What kind of mother screams at her kids? How can they ever know you love them when all you do is scream at them?
My inner mean girl takes on an evil form in body image. (Shameless “Mean Girls” reference). I think it’s natural to have areas of your body you aren’t thrilled with. Areas that you would like more toned, less flabby or less saggy. What’s not normal is berating yourself over those areas of your body. Since high school I’ve had body issues with my stomach. For some reason my stomach defines my level of fitness. So when I don’t like what I see it’s immediately, “Why did eat this?” “You should’ve just eaten a salad.” Or when it’s really bad, “You’re fat, gross, disgusting.” Basically any other horrible adjective you can think of. If I’m being honest, most days are the really bad days.
Silencing My Inner Mean Girl
I would never say someone was a bad mother because she yelled. I would never say someone was negligent because they let their child watch TV so they can get some work done (or just have some peace). Most importantly, I would NEVER say to someone that they were fat, gross or disgusting. Why? Because it’s not nice. It’s horrible, it’s mean. So why do I say these things to myself? Maybe it’s because I am my own worst critic. Maybe it’s because I give others grace and realize that no one is perfect, but I don’t give myself the same grace.
What I do know is that your mind is a very complicated entity. It listens intently. It will start to believe all these horrible things we say to ourselves on a daily basis. Once we start believing it, it’s easy to keep saying it and the vicious cycle continues. My goal is to end that cycle.
Instead of focusing on the kids being on their electronics, I will focus on the time I spend with them by the pool or helping them learn to ride a bike. Instead of calling myself a horrible mother because I yell at them, I will acknowledge that as much as I love my kids, they can be insanity inducing little monsters. Most importantly, I will give myself grace when it comes to my body. I might not ever get to the point of body positivity, but maybe just body acceptance. Accepting that this is how I look. My stomach looks the way it does because two humans grew in there.
I doubt this is an easy thing to do and I’m sure it will take some time and a lot of practice. However I think we as moms, and women in general, just need to cut ourselves some slack. We live by the mantra of, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Maybe a better mantra would be “Treat YOURSELF the way you treat OTHERS.”