Letting go of perfection.

Published May 30, 2013 by jessicalynndunning

*Note* I use the “bitch” word in this blog. I am aware that some people may find this offensive, and I do apologize. I won’t make a habit of it. 🙂 *End Note*

Last night I read a blog by MisBehaved Woman about having an inner voice that hates you. (I will try to link it, but I am blogging from my phone, so I may have to add the link later.)

Anyway, her blog really felt like something I could have written. Not the specifics, but in general.

My Inner Voice is quite the bitch. And not just sometimes. We’re talking pretty much every waking (and for I know, sleeping) second of the day.

I (or at least the inner me) am constantly putting myself down. Rebecca’s blog listed quite a few mean spirited comments that run through her head, and it was like she was in mine.

“You’re so stupid.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“You weigh a ton more than you should.”

“You’ll never succeed.”

“You’re a failure.”

I could go on for several pages, but the main one I want to focus on today is the one that is relatively new:

“You’re a terrible mother.”

When I had an epidural during labor, it was a failure. When I decided to stop breast feeding and start giving Briana my breast milk in a bottle, that was a failure. When I gave her a pacifier before she had really learned how to latch, that was a failure. When I started to waver at 4 months about switching to formula, that was a catastrophic failure…even though we stuck with breast milk for two and a half more months.

Oh, and the fact that she is on formula now? Total failure. Epic in proportion. I feel horrifically guilty.

My new mantra lately has been “You are such a bad mom.”

It doesn’t matter to my Inner Voice that I am doing my best, that I have more successes than failures, and that everyone tells me I am a good mom. In my mind, I fail every time I can’t get her to stop crying, she bonks her head, I lose my patience, or my nail catches her skin during a diaper change.

Occasionally my inner voice escapes through my lips, and people are often surprised by the vehement vitriol it contains, the absolute scorn and contempt I feel for my efforts, and for myself. “Hey, go easy on yourself,” is a phrase I have heard in many variations many, many more times than I can count.

I wish it were that simple.

My Inner Voice has had…just about 17 years to perfect its methods of mental destruction. And before now, I’ve seen no reason to fight back. I mean, only I hear this bitchy bully most of the time, so why should it matter?

It matters to me now.

If I allow my daughter to grow up hearing me constantly judge myself against impossible standards and put myself down, I am setting her up to fail. And that would be my true failure as a parent.

So, from now on, starting right this second, I am no longer going to try to be Super Mommy. I am going to be Briana’s Mommy instead. And when that bitch who lives inside my head decides to rear her ugly face, I’ll knock out her teeth…and comfort the Vulnerable Me instead of allowing the Mean Me to rule.

I will never be a perfect mom, because there is no such thing. But I am already a good mom, and I am going to tell myself that every chance that I can, until my Inner Voice believes it, too.

So if you catch me here on my blog beating myself up over some trivial thing, please feel free to call me on it. Because that Inner Voice is a sneaky one…

Briana’s Good Mommy

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9 comments on “Letting go of perfection.

  • LOVE this entry! I agree with everything you have said. I have done lots of reading on the subject of how our negative self talk sets up our daughters to do the same thing. We teach better by example, and by loving ourselves, mind, body, spirit, we teach our daughters to value those things as well. This is something I have been working on as well Jess, you aren’t the only one that’s for sure.

    Good luck to you in your changing your thinking…it’s not easy but you can do it! I have been successful in some ways, and still have work to do in others.
    One success I have had…learning to say “Thank You” when someone compliments me. For years, I have taken people’s compliments and then gone on to list the reasons why they are wrong in that opinion. I am now at a point where I just say, “Thank you” and it’s left at that.

  • You are not a good mommy – you are a great mommy! Because you made Brianna and you see how negative self talk effects you and you are determined to not let that process continue.

    Could be worse – my mom told me flat out “It was 3 months before I realized I had a third child – I was just going through the motions with you”

  • I once read a book that said to put an elastic band around your wrist and snap it every time you had a negative thought. Sounds crazy but it actually worked because it made me realize how ridiculous my thoughts were! Now when i get like that I try to consciously tell myself, “That’s a lie” and replace it with a positive thought. 🙂

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