I was part of a writing group earlier this year and it allowed me to learn more about both writing and myself. One thing I discovered is that although I always strive to be authentic and open in what I write, there are certainly topics I avoid for fear of what people will think about me. I guess some things feel too real. And embarrassing.
I grew up surrounded by really strong, confident women. They were warm, and kind, and funny. They worked incredibly hard, and weren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. Also, they didn't put up with any s*#t. But the best part is that they were my family. And I always knew that they believed in me and thought I was strong too.
So now, I have a really strong desire for my children to grow up not only believing that I'm strong and capable, but that all women are. However, I'm scared that they won't and it will be all my fault. I'm scared that they won't view women as strong and independent, because they won't see me as such. This fear pops up occasionally and usually with a few common triggers: 1) The evening hours, the empty time between the end of the work day and dinner and 2) When Jaron travels.
Certain days, between the hours of 5pm and 6pm, can be really rough for me. And I hate to admit that. I feel so weak when this happens, but is this not the most terrible time of the day for anyone else?! I could have even had the best day with Emmitt and Cora... maybe we were doing a puzzle or playing an incredible game of make-believe, laughing and smiling moments before, but it always seems to go completely downhill like clockwork. And then I'm real ready to not be the sole person responsible for those angry kiddos. Also, I'd love to go to the bathroom by myself, if it's not too much to ask. And thus begins my downward spiral into catastrophizing. I start what I have recently begun to refer to as 'desperate texting' my poor husband. It's possible that I gently, calmly, and coolly ask his ETA, but if he's not pulling into the driveway, like stat, then I start frantically texting about all the stressful things happening at the moment, because everything and everyone are the absolute worst right then! I do this sometimes when Jaron is out of town too. I really hate when I do it. In fact, I loathe myself, and feel pathetic and ungrateful for the things that I truly love.
I have a tendency toward anxiety, being anxious... I'm a worrier, if you will. But, I don't like to cause trouble or stress for others or bring attention to myself in groups. I want to be calm, easy breezy, go with the flow. And I can pull that off to a certain extent. But sometimes I just cannot be calm. I've used up all my being calm, so Jaron and a few other lucky (can you hear my sarcasm?) people get to hear the brunt of my freaking the flip out... often during a desperate text like situation, as mentioned above.
I tell myself that if I can't handle a simple, few extra hours with my kids than I must be weak and I'm sure they will see that. I tell myself that I'm not like the strong women I grew up with. But then, after a little bit, (and usually after Jaron has made me inhale a large amount of food, because come on, I was also hangry!) I finally take a step back from such negative self-talk and remind myself that feeling stressed or overwhelmed with my job at times doesn't make me a weak person. And letting myself believe that those strong women in my life never struggled or don't continue to struggle now doesn't help me or them in any way. I didn't think they were strong because they always did everything perfect and never had to trudge through difficulty. I thought they were strong because they just kept on it, all the time, through good and bad. Mostly, they made sure I knew I was loved all the while. Making sure my kids know I love them is something that I'm honored and grateful to aim for. If along the way, they see my struggles and celebrations, mistakes and wins, as strength, well then that's an extra special added bonus. I'm thankful for those beautiful women, old and young, who continue to inspire me and give me strength. May I be more like them.