Happy New Year and all that jazz! I’m not a big fan of resolutions, mainly because as someone who fights a tendency towards perfectionism, I used to go overboard on them. I’d make resolutions, but along the lines of:
- Clean & organize every single corner of my house. Always.
- Work out every single day.
- Eat only healthy things. All the healthy things. Never the bad things.
- Be patient with my kids. And never, ever, yell. Ever, ever.
You know the drill… good intentions, but resolutions so tightly wound & unrealistic that only a few hours after making them, I’d fail & give up entirely.
Jan 1, 12:01am: “My 2017 resolution is to be more patient with my kids, & to yell less.”
Jan 1, 2017, 7am: pic.twitter.com/8Pnj6OgrBp
— Stephanie Ortiz (@Six_Pack_Mom) January 1, 2017
I’ve learned that what works best for me -see if you can relate- is to try & focus on smaller goals on a daily basis, as I’ve mentioned before in last year’s post.
My biggest enemy with self-improvement is that I rarely live up to my own unrealistic expectations. Being my own harshest critic, I’ve realized that I run ragged trying to meet the standards that I set for myself- often to my own detriment.
I’ll give you a recent example that really drove this point home for me: Christmas.
The weeks leading up to it were beyond hectic. Mom had her mastectomy/reconstructive surgery (in which everything went well, thank GOD), & my time was spent shuffling between our own home & Mom’s.
December brings its own chaos in the form of holiday concerts, class parties, etc., so the days flew by in a tailspin of busyness & exhaustion.
There were only a few days left until Christmas; since money was so tight, our holiday shopping came down to the wire. I’d picked up gifts here & there as finances permitted, but the whole process was fraught with stress..
When you’re finishing the last of your Christmas shopping just before the Amazon shopping deadline. pic.twitter.com/OZ54DwsbK5
— Stephanie Ortiz (@Six_Pack_Mom) December 19, 2017
…and the bulk of our shopping was left until the very last minute- Christmas Eve.
By this point, I was already overwhelmed, anxious, & burnt out.
We began wrapping gifts at 11pm. And all was well… until I began counting gifts & noticed a critical error. You see, I always try to ensure that my kids get an equal amount of gifts, whether by number or expense. And I’d been careful, so very careful as I made my gift lists.
Or so I thought.
I realized that two of #5’s gifts were nowhere to be found. Upon a closer search, I realized that although I’d assumed that I had ordered them online via a gift card, I hadn’t actually hit the button to COMPLETE the order.
Now I know this clearly sits in the ranks of a “first world problem”. But that being said, it was as if the dam burst.
The straw that broke the camel’s back.
I had screwed up. I’d failed. I had tried so hard to do everything, to be everything, & it wasn’t enough. I’d blown it. All the weeks of trying to keep all the plates spinning, & I’d done it all, or so I’d thought. But I’d blown CHRISTMAS for one sweet little girl.
*cue the ugly crying*
Same, Kim. Same. (Image Courtesy of www.giphy.com)
Oh, and I did. I cried. Not just cried, actually, but bawled. A loud, snotty, eye-swelling sobfest that left The Captain bewildered & me… crying.
I was inconsolable, because I was likely going to leave a 6 year old disappointed by Santa’s slim givings on Christmas Day. And on reflection, I’m not sure it was even about her, even though I thought it was at the time.
It was about me– not feeling like I was good enough.
The Captain pointed out that we could still use the gift card & order, & tell her that the two items she’d hoped for would still arrive.
We woke up Christmas morning at 6am to the sound of #5 crying, saying, “I can’t find my presents…”
Yup. My biggest fear.
But the plot twist?
She wasn’t talking about her presents from Santa under the tree. She was talking about the gifts that SHE had bought, for her family members, at the school boutique.
She wasn’t focused on what was under the tree for HER. She was focused on what she was GIVING.
She was thrilled with the items Santa had brought her, & didn’t care at all about a late delivery.
But her biggest moment of excitement coincided with my biggest lesson learned:
“Mom, I can’t wait for you to see what I got you! Open it! Open it!”
She’d bought me a ring. But to her, it was not just a school boutique ring. To her, it was the most exquisite, fancy, wonderful DIAMOND ring she could give, & she was thrilled to give it to her Mama.
And for me, it was the most exquisite, fancy, wonderful ring I could have received.
It also a reminder: to me, and to you. A reminder that we’re our own toughest critics. A reminder that we’re doing a far better job in our child’s eyes than we think we are in our own. A reminder to slow down & be in the moment rather than hustling so hard to make things “good enough” in our own eyes.© Copyright 2018 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom