There are moments in my life when I have rejoiced at my accomplishments. Some of them worthy of plaques or public recognition. Others a silent celebration that, while worthy of a parade, were just a simplistic ritual and whisper “I did it!”. My life has been a journey and through it I have evolved into my current greatness. I recognize this, however, I have this other persona that appears far more frequently than my cheerleader. She is my “Mom Critic”. She’s the inner nag that convinces me I have made some irreparable faux paux that will tarnish global headlines.
I hadn’t really thought about my alter-ego, Mom-Critic, until I became an Ambassador for the Fishful Thinking Program. Instead, my life was tucking her and her unveiling under the rugs, so to speak, so others wouldn’t see me in that brilliant, blazing light.
Being a Mom is tough. It’s a challenge to find a balance between Julee and Mom. Mostly, Julee gets put aside so I can wow! my troops. It’s unfortunate and I believe truly the moment that The Mom-Critic sashays in and starts nit-picking in narration my every move.
When my Jake was in Sixth Grade he completed a Science Fair Project. I assisted him in photographs and playing the part of the judge drilling him with questions. He won First Place at his school and progressed on to District. I tagged a long, you know, as chauffer and support. It was the three of us, Jake, me and my inner critic.
I watched Jake sit next to his project and interact with the other “contestants”. It was a proud moment. Then it happened. We were asked to stay out of the display areas and I watched as three individuals walked down the rows. They stopped in front of Jake and KABOOM! Inner Critic introduced herself to me full force! Terror turned my stomach. “I should have…I could have…I might have…” all seemed to blast through loud speakers. Kojak police lights signaled my location as I picked a part myself for not being a better mom to this amazing child! “I shouldn’t have been so tired, then he would have a better board.”, ‘Oh, my gosh, I let him dress himself! They’re gonna think I’m clothing coordinating challenged!”. It was a parade of criticism. It carried me back to my own District Science Fair placing–I wasn’t prepared. My board was black and white and very boring.
This visit lasted far longer than I care to admit. My inner critic took the side seat when my Jake came walking down the aisle. She lingered for just long enough to say, “What happened?” and then my son, my first born said, “Those were judges! They stopped and asked me how it was going and I shook their hand. Then they asked if I was nervous.”
I held my breath. Oh, No!
“Yeah?” I squirmed.
“I looked them straight in the eye and I said, “I”m not at all nervous. I’m confident!” and then I told them about my project, where I got the idea, how I developed my hypothesis and walked them through my experiment. I gave them the facts and showed them my booklet.”
“Wow. You’re a rock star!” I reached over and hugged him. Tears swelling in my eyes, my throat tightening trying to keep it inside.
We waited together and then it was announced. Jake won First Place.
It wasn’t his project, though I’m certain it was the MOST amazing one there. It was that he was confident. He left his inner critic at home.
Through Fishful Thinking I have learned that the foundation for healthy children who are empowered, resilient and confident begins at home. First, though, it must begin within. I encourage all of you to take a moment to silence the inner critic and celebrate your own successes. Honor yourself and the mission in your life to raise children who bounce back and can tackle anything without fear. Lead by example…boast to your children the beautiful you that is amazing–Moms don’t do that nearly enough! It will fill their bucket of self-esteem so full that NO ONE can ever put enough holes in it for their inner critic to deflate them!
This is a post as part of the Fishful Thinking Campaign. By writing this I am entered to win a gift card.