This past week I broke my son's leg. Yup, you read that correctly and nope Child Protective Services is not at my door. I slid down a slide with him (you know to protect him and all) and his leg got stuck underneath me. Apparently its a very common injury so I should be in good company with other well intentioned people reading this -- right? So my kiddo is casted from foot to knee for two weeks and he could care less (honestly I think he is enjoying his new weapon of self defense against his big brother) but I am in hell. At least 10 times a day I get to tell people what happened to him and endure their "awwws" first at my son and then second at me with big "poor you and your guilt" eyes. Hey concerned stranger -- thanks for the love but I don't need your pity.
We live in a society where we simultaneously have to love ourselves and condemn ourselves. We have to defend our choice to put ourselves first (yes I am talking to you martyr moms) even after reading articles, books, blog posts, and podcasts encouraging and almost urging us to have a girls night -- fill up your tank too mom! -- we have to say all we did prior to said moment of indulgence. Yes you had fun but you almost immediately find yourself defending it by saying I did the laundry, dishes, cooked, put out 10 fires, and even applied to college 15 years in advance for my kids. Its all very confusing to me, someone who tries to just do my best, by and for my people, and myself.
Back to my little guy. I really love myself as a mom. I don't want to even write "I think" I am doing a good job because that gives power to self doubt and there is no doubt in my mind that my kids are fed, bathed, dressed, stimulated, and loved all day every day so there -- I AM doing a good job. I went down the slide with him to protect him and that is LOVE but because we live in a self deprecating world where the term "humblebrag" exists I have to make jokes about Child Protective Services (which I should say is NOT a joke and should never be). I had an unfortunate accident that has no bearing on my ability as a mother nor his future mobility. So why am I in a vortex of love and doubt? Because our society dictates deprecation while filling our social media screens with inspirational quotes.
So now we stop. We stop with taking away pride and love in attempts to be "real". We stop living in the reflection of how we look to other people but instead focusing on inner peace. We stop rushing through the hard, the awkward, the painful by making self deprecating jokes and we just feel it, face it, and move on. Mindfulness is the practice of staring right at your stress or pain and saying "hey I got you and I see you, but I don't always need you". The cast will be off in a few weeks and I won't have a visual reminder of doubt (you know until the next thing comes along) but what I will have is an awareness that I cared far too much about how people saw our accident and allowed it to cloud my parental confidence. And that I did not like.