Notes to Self

September 1, 2013

Low self-esteem can be exhausting!

Something relatively minor happened at work on Friday and I am still obsessing over it. I have lost sleep because of it.

I have learned by now that when I can’t “let something go”, its because I haven’t resolved it for myself.

The event happened, I reacted, called a few folks, got a resolution and yet I am not done with it.

The issue, I realized this morning, is the way I treated myself when the question first arose. The doubt and worry I had about something so minute. When I talked to a friend/co-worker she told me what to do and it was that simple, yet I was envisioning everyone thinking I was a terrible person! And so I made it a bigger deal than it was, and now I am angry that I did that.

My husband said to focus on the fact that I have recognized his and how that is furthering me along the “road to recovery”- that I am becoming a better person. While I agree, I still can’t stop being completely annoyed.

It isn’t just the event and the ridiculousness surrounding it, it’s that I think so lowly of myself and that I let my family continue to treat me so poorly to encourage the low self-esteem for so long. I am tired of finding more ways and further reaches of how my poor self-image affects my everyday life. I am not surprised by the effects, just where it comes up and how it then affects me.

I am just tired of it. I want to be “normal” and not think twice about little stuff. I want to stop doubting myself so quickly and I want to stop obsessing when I do.

I’m just tired of it all.

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June 29, 2012

I am what I am (and it’s not in a dress)

My daughter loves water. She loves to play in it, splash in it and, I guess drink it (she is still a baby and gets mostly milk!).

She will splash in puddles, loves to have the indoor and outdoor faucet’s turned on (she gets completely soaked when outside!), she loves her baby pool and bath time and if you have a bucket or glass of water, she will stick her hand or arm into it!

I am pleased with her love for water, and for her lack of fear of the water!

I used to swim competitively. I used to puddle jump and walk in the rain for hours. I still love sitting on the porch when it’s raining. I rarely carry an umbrella.

Last night it rained.

This morning my daughter wanted to go outside (as we usually do before leaving for work/daycare). I couldn’t say no because she put on her jacket and then brought me MY shoes and then brought me HER shoes, and then sat down so I could put her shoes on her feet! There was no saying no to this 15 month old!

So we played and thankfully only her jacket got wet (daddy saved her from sitting in a puddle!). There was still some time before we could leave (waiting for daycare to open) so I decided to show her what happens when you shake the branches on a tree after it has rained.

We stood underneath the tree – her in my arms and I shook. The water rained down and she smiled. I shook again. She giggled. This is living.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

She squealed in delight, she closed her eyes and put her face to the sky, she opened her mouth to catch the rain.

Needless to say we were pretty wet. I wasn’t wearing a jacket (she was but her hair was wet).

I arrived at daycare with a wet shirt (like I had been caught in the rain). I explained myself to a few people and they all thought it was great.

I walked to the car smiling – I had given my daughter a wonderful moment that I will always cherish.

I realized that I am, always have been and always will be, a gal in jeans and not a dress.

Makeup runs in the rain and high heels get stuck in grass. They just don’t fit into my life.

I would rather sleep or cuddle with my husband, daughter or cat than spend that time doing my hair or makeup. I’m a wash-and-go type gal and I should just embrace it!

More importantly, this doesn’t make me less feminine or inferior to other women who do chose to (or need to based on career/office dress policy) spend more time on their appearance.

Maybe, if they had the choice (or more courage?) they would also shake the branches of a wet tree upon the heads of their children.

So keep your pantyhose and your foundation. I’ve made my life without them (and one could argue that I’ve directed my life so I could live without them!?).

I am what I am and I think I am beginning to like me.

June 28, 2012

Passing the baton

Last night my husband put the baby to bed- well, sort of. We both started and I left the room and he finished.

I was tired and was growing more and more frustrated as time went on and she was not falling asleep.  I get upset that things don’t go smoothly because, in my mind, it means I have failed.

My family (both mine and my husband’s side) have put their 2 cents in since my daughter was born and all I hear is them saying you should do this; or you shouldn’t do that; I’m telling you from experience….; you’ll be sorry later on if you keep doing…..

Yes, I let her fall asleep at the breast. No, I never had a bedtime routine.Yes, I held her as much as I possibly could (I still do).

Is she attached to me? Most definitely. Does it sometimes cause me stress? Absolutely. Would I change it? Never.

Yet I cannot be at peace with what I have done, and chose to do. I feel criticized  and judged all the time. I hate family gatherings and wish we could move far away. As if that would matter – even during phone conversations I get judged and criticized.

My mother never really supported my choice to breastfeed and especially didn’t support me going past 6 months. My father wasn’t as vocal about it but he also kept saying I could stop anytime I wanted to.

So when I am not around for my daughter I feel guilty. I feel like she thinks I have abandoned her and no longer love her. This morning my husband took her outside to play while I got her food ready and then showered/got dressed. I found myself rushing (as I always do) because I had to get back to her. I have to be with her all the time (if I am not at work, etc).

Last night as I tried to rest in bed and wait for her to fall asleep I kept getting up and heading toward her door – thinking that she needed me, she needed to know I was there and would cuddle her and love her always. But I also know that she needs to feel that from her daddy as well. She needs to attach to him as well (if I am absent she will stay/play with him. If I am present it is only to me). And it is getting better – she is attaching more and more. But as it gets better I also feel a sense of loss and worry.

I never want her to feel the way I felt from my parents – unloved, un-liked and unsupported. Chances are she will never feel those things but instead may feel smothered – he he.  But the fear is still there.

Ah, so here is another thought that needs examination. Letting other people (i.e., her da-da/my husband) care for my daughter means I am not being a good enough mother and am abandoning her (or something like that). I’ll have to work on this one.

June 27, 2012

Therapy – Week 5

This post has taken me several days to write. It is hard to be so honest and also put words to the feelings and figure out what I am thinking. I cannot bring closure to this post now – I don’t know how to end it. So here is the first part.

My therapist asks me if I know whether or not I believe the negative thoughts I have. There is a difference between believing in and merely thinking something (ha! merely, as if thoughts are that innocuous!).

Apparently if you dissect a thought well enough, and examine the data, one might find many reasons to refute the routine/ubiquitousness of said thoughts.

So let’s give it a go.

Negative thought regarding the other mom’s/families at the daycare which my daughter attends. In the mornings I see BMW’s, Mercedes’, Volvo’s and the like lined up outside of the daycare. Parents in their fancy clothes unload their children in their own fancy clothes. Women have nicely done hair and makeup. They go to their (assumed) glamorous jobs in the city and hoboken (via train, which I know because I overhear them talking about it) and many of the parents in my daughter’s class appear to know each other from playdates, etc. Meanwhile, I drive my dirty Honda (inside and out because I can’t be bothered to clean it) and wear jeans and sneakers. My hair isn’t primped. I don’t wear makeup. I have had no playdates with these girls and their mom’s. They have not emailed me despite my attempts to connect.

I feel that I am inferior to these women (and to the imagined wives of the well-dressed men driving the luxury cars) because I am not as “put together” as they are.I am not as feminine. I am fat, they are not. I don’t have as nice clothes nor the self-esteem to wear them. I don’t have (assumed) as much money or income. I live next to multi-family houses, an apartment complex and near (this is relative because really so do they) a not-so-nice neighborhood. Our public school isn’t great. Theirs town’s is I feel that I am inferior because they aren’t emailing me to get together. I am somehow not worthy of their friendship (and thus my daughter is not of their children’s).

The reality is that I know very, very little about these women and their families. I don’t know a single truth about their lives, relationships and financial states. All I know is appearance. I don’t know what kind of mother’s they are (which is very important to me). I don’t know if they are happy or just pretending to be. I don’t know a thing about these “glamorous” jobs. I would hate to take the train and would hate even more to work in the city!

The clothes I wear are really the best I can do (or are willing to do because if I go out of my comfort zone I feel too uncomfortable) and I don’t have time to iron and dry cleaning is too expensive (and when would I find time to drop off and pick up!). I work in an office of 3 and everyone dresses down. We are banished to the most remote corner of the campus and I sit in front of a computer all day. There is no need to get “dressed up”, except of course for my own benefit.

I cut my hair after my daughter was born and it is growing out. I haven’t been able to get a haircut in several months. I hate the bangs in my face. So after I shower I throw it up haphazardly into a barrette and spray it with hairspray to seal the deal. I don’t blow dry it. I don’t curl it. I hardly brush it more than once a day (it gets very straight and flat if I do). I was wearing makeup before I got pregnant, and even then was often wearing eyeliner. Then I stopped and haven’t gone back. Time, desire…why bother?

On the other hand, there are women I see and I say to myself that I am better than they are (no worries- the double standard and potential hypocrisy isn’t lost on me). For some reason I feel compelled to judge myself and others so definitively.

Last weekend my husband, daughter and I attended a fair. There was a band. Standing near the band was a woman and her daughter (about my daughter’s age) – her husband was standing a bit behind with the stroller. I decided to take my daughter to stand next to the other little girl in hopes that they might dance together. The woman was thin, nice hair, sunglasses, pretty dress. Her daughter was in a pretty dress as well. My child was wearing jean shorts and a cute tank top. She had on a hat (that didn’t really match) and keen sandals. She was sucking on a pacifier because I was trying to get her to nap (pacifier is a relatively new addition since we stopped nursing a few weeks ago).  The little girl leaned in to see the pacifier and the mother commented something about how she doesn’t know what that is. Meanwhile the little girl is sucking on her thumb. Neither the mom or child were dancing. I started dancing with my daughter (even got down on a knee to be at her level) and not only was my daughter dancing, but the other little girl began dancing as well! And giggling!

At that moment I questioned the idea of me being inferior to this woman.

I realized I didn’t understand my logic and reasons for comparing myself in this regard. Maybe my premise is flawed.

What is my premise?

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