I spoke to my child in anger.
I won’t forget the look in her eyes – she was scared of me. I was scared of me.
Because this was not the ‘me’ either of us knew. I don’t do anger. When I’m tired I whinge with no real emotion behind it and my kids mostly ignore me or tell me I need to go to bed. Or, when I raise my voice at them, I usually feel powerlessness and frustration that I can’t come up with a better way to resolve a situation. Anger was something new.
I could have blamed it on the fatigue hat comes from looking after sick children. We were on round 3 at the time and they had started bulk-billing us at the doctor’s as regulars. But as I looked closer I found this dissatisfaction with myself.
My baby was 3 months old and it was time for me to return to the real world. I needed to spend more focused time with my children, take them to more places, cook more, clean more, put more effort into my relationship, work, write, build a business, volunteer at my son’s school, learn to drive, exercise and remember to iron my clothes and put make-up on in the morning so that I look just as fabulous as the other mums at school.
Ridiculous, right? Only I thought this was the voice of reason. I didn’t recognise it as my inner critic’s voice until I listened to a call with Amy Ahlers from the Succulent Business tele-summit*. It turns out that my Inner Mean Girl (this is what Amy calls the inner critic) has transformed. She used to criticise the way I was until I got skilled at ignoring her. Now she’s changed into this over-achiever who wants to do everything.
Once I made a mental list of everything she wanted me to do, it became obvious that it wasn’t humanly possible. So I stopped pushing. I reclaimed my hour-long walk with my baby as my (almost) daily practice. I went back to my 9 pm bedtime. I bought Amy’s book Big Fat Lies Women Tell Themselves*.
The world is looking a whole lot brighter again and I’m grateful for it.
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