I've been thinking about this post for a while. It is my over-sharing post of the decade. But hey, if I can't over-share on my own blog once in a while, what's the point of having it, right? I'm hoping it doesn't come out as me fishing for compliments, having a pity party, sounding completely self-absorbed, or whatever else it's not meant to be. It's just me talking about me for a moment.
These past few months I've been trying hard to figure myself out. I got married at nineteen, first baby at 21, so I've been a "grown-up" for a while, but for some reason having a third baby really sunk that feeling in. I'll be 28 this February, and while that's not old by any means, it's getting older. I look around and see women who are definitley on the older side of life, and they seem to have spent their entire lives wishing they were someone different, hating who they are, and to me it has been a bit of a wake up call because I do not want to be them.
My whole life I have cared entirely too much what others have thought of me, and for the most part disliked who I was. Actually I pretty much hated everything about myself. I think as a Christian, I was looking at my self-hate and thinking I was just a good humble girl, but that definitely wasn't the case. It's like a case of reverse vanity, but vanity nonetheless. (It was actually Joel that told me that a year or so after we were married, and it was exactly what I needed to hear, it put a totally different perspective on my thought process.) I spent so much of my life worrying about what others think of me, feeling guilty about things not in my control, and wishing every single thing about me was different. I can still see my little twelve year old self, and feel how little I thought I was worth, how ugly I thought I was, how fat I thought those scrawny little legs were, and my heart breaks for her (is that weird to say about myself?). It's by the grace of God I made it out of high school with only no confidence as my main baggage.
And then I met my husband, and I thank God everyday for him. He has spent the past nine years making me feel loved and special. I think over time I kind of started to believe that if the person I admire and love the most in the world thinks I'm pretty great, then maybe there is something worthwhile about me after all. (I've been a Christian since I was six, but I had a messed up view of who God is. You can read my testimony here, but basically I never realized that God is love until I had my own child.) And then I had my precious Sam, so perfect in every way, and that thought grew a little more.
And then, then God gave me my daughter. My beautiful, baby girl. The thought that one day she could grow up and hate herself because of some silly standards that she has placed on herself, made me die a little on the inside. I also realized that if I would be the one placing those standards on her, if I continued to expect them of myself. One of my greatest wishes is that my children will grow up and know that they are loved and cherished. That even if their mama and daddy fail them from time to time, if the world fails them, they will always know that they have a God who cherishes them
After she was born, I made a promise to do my very best to be kind to myself. More specifically, to never call myself fat, talk about weight in front of her, or dwell on physical qualites. I know that to me, my mom was (is!) the most beautiful person I could have imagined...I couldn't wait to grow up and be just like her. I feel as if I only have a few short years to help Annaleigh grow, and I don't want those years to be ones where she learns mom is unhappy because she needs to be on a diet or whatever else it is about myself that is bothering me (although I still have those thoughts all the time, I just save them for when she's not around). Before we know it, she'll have the world pressuring her to be perfect, and as much as I can help it, I don't want that pressure to come from me as well. I don't want my issues to become hers.
I definitely still struggle a lot...I feel sick to my stomach whenever I put pictures of myself on facebook. I'm trying to come up with a better descriptive word for myself other than "dull." There are a hundred other little things, and one day I'll post about my new coat that's a step in the direction I want to go, haha. I also realize that I need to learn how to be confident apart from my family, but that's for another day as well.
It's actually been well over a month, almost two, since I first wrote this post, and while it feels wrong to post something where I've spent so much time talking about myself, I just can't help but think that this might be the most important thing I've written in my blog.
Mama's learn to be kind to yourself, because even if you can't wrap your mind around the fact that you are worth it, then just remember that your precious babies are.
So anyways, I am trying to learn to be kind to myself, to learn that I do not have to be perfect, that who I am is enough, and to like who that person is. And you know what? The more I think about how God has entrusted me to be the wife of my husband, and the mother of Sam, Annaleigh, and Owen, the easier that is to do. I am the only one in the world who gets to do what I do, and that alone makes me pretty special.