Like clockwork every year, I end up having the same conversation several times with several people and the dialogue never really changes.
Friend: Happy New Year! Soooo! Have you made any New Years’ resolutions?
Friend: Well, don’t keep me in suspense. What are they?
Me: Like last year and the year before, and the year before that. I resolve to not make any ridiculous New Year’s resolutions which I know very well I will not keep.
The conversation usually very quickly moves to their long list of resolutions about going to the gym more or finally sticking to a diet. The best one I have heard this year has to actually come from my dad – he is talking about taking up Yoga (if you knew my dad you would know that he is more likely to start avidly supporting Manchester United before he would manage to seriously take up Yoga).
Anyway, this year I am breaking with my own tradition and have made a private, personal New Year’s resolution (although now it is going to be written here it is not so private. So, step 1 is already complete).
This year I will try to stop letting my fear of the past stop me from opening up and accepting people’s support, without all the negative, self-destructive thoughts about the implications of this support sending me running for the hills and so falling into an even deeper hole of despair (although I am not sure I can fall any further. I have already reached the bottom of the well).
OK so that is the easy bit. I have said it! Now can I truly stick to it?
Honestly! I don’t know. But, what I do know is I am the only one standing in the way of me feeling like my old self again.
I know that what I am asking of myself is not going to be easy but:-
- I have to stop letting the past hold me back from being the mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister & friend, I should be. This scares me more than anything because I know to do this I am going to have to first find the courage to ask for the support I need to finally revisit and put the past to bed once and for all.
- I have to accept that everyone has an opinion and I shouldn’t allow other people’s ill-informed, negative views of me as a mum/individual to damage my confidence and self-esteem.
- I need to be kinder to myself. If I am having a tough day with the boys and I succumb to their ‘button pushing’ attempts and I respond in a less than therapeutic manner, I have to stop beating myself up over it and remember I am a human being and parenting 2 extremely frightened, traumatised (and currently testosterone fuelled) boys takes a lot out of you.
This list could go on forever and there is a big part of my avoidant personality that is saying “finish it in full and then throw it away before anyone sees it and holds you to your promises”, but I can’t!
I can’t keep being a ‘hypocrite’.
I am expecting my sons to do what I cannot do myself. I spend my days trying to help my boys learn to trust me when they have been so hurt/let down by adults in their past. I am constantly trying to encourage them to open up and not keep all their fears, worries or problems all bottled up. But that is exactly what I do.
What kind of message am I sending to them?
I can hear Beeswax right now. – “Mummy would love us to learn to trust her to help us with our problems, but she gets to just bottle everything up and not let anyone help her just because people have hurt her and betrayed her trust recently and in the past. How is that fair?”
It would be easy for me to sit here at my laptop tapping away on the keyboard, writing lots but not really ever saying anything and over-analysing everything I have written worrying that it sounds too ‘wet’ or ‘pathetically self-indulgent’, and allow those negative thoughts to take over again and delete this entire post without anyone ever seeing it and so freeing myself from the commitment/promise of my own New Year’s resolution.
But, this year I need it to be different. Up until now the boys have not really noticed anything. They still have had their ‘bossy boots’ mummy who has:-
- Fed them when they were hungry
- Tucked them in at night when they ask for it
- Hugged them when they are sad (or mad)
- Been there waiting for them to come out of school with a non-judgemental smile (I am getting quite good at that one).
- Played silly games and tells the ‘worst’ jokes on the planet.
But, there are chinks showing in my amour and the boys are starting to notice and so are others (including some I wish hadn’t) and I need to fix that before it becomes a problem. I want to say that I am doing this purely for myself and not because I hate that I am not the mum and wife that Bumble and the boys deserve at the moment.
I don’t have a magic wand and neither will the person(s)/agency who I seek support from. It will take time (if I can muster the courage) and in the meantime I need to start being nicer to myself and practise what I preach all the time to the boys. I need to stop looking at all my mistakes and celebrate my achievement and start enjoying life again – although I still need to make sure that my family is my first priority and that I am still being the best mum, wife, daughter -that I possibly can be for them.
I suppose what I am trying to say as I come to the end of this #WASO post is…. This year my resolution is to start taking better care of myself so that I can be the person I want to be and start to feel a little more like ‘Tigger’ rather than ‘Eeyore’.