Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's the Mantra with You?

What a discouraging time this is for me. I am trying not to wallow, but it isn't easy. This morning I was checking out my reflection in the bathroom at work - I am not blessed with an unobscured full-length mirror in my own home, haha. Thanks to the miracles of combined households, it seems like every wall and floor surface is stacked high with stuff. I long-since gave up unobstructed view of my bedroom full-length mirror to Greg's nightstand. Deep sigh. Oh, pity me, single woman who longed for love and companionship, only to find it meant blocked mirrors and extra towels in the laundry. Mine is a tale of travesty and woe.

I have always used that line on my kids, too. Poor waifs, whenever something doesn't meet their liking, I comfort them with "Yours is a tale of travesty and woe..." They do not like it. They also do not like it when I make them sing the "I Love Mommy"* song whenever they are mad at me.

(*The lyrics and tune of the "I Love Mommy" song are at the child's discretion, as long as they are not derogatory or menacing toward their mommy, haha. This started when Alli was just a toddler and she would spontaneously burst out in song, "Mommy, is my mommy, and I love her, yes, I love her!" Little did she know what she was getting herself into, now, at 14, having to sing the I Love Mommy song when she really wants to poke me with pins.)

I was thinking about mantras and the I Love Mommy song this morning. I was waking my 8 year old up for school, and I was cooing over him the way I always do. I think I have mantras for each kid when we have a quiet moment like that alone, but I couldn't tell you what they are, really. Just words that automatically come out of my mouth at that time. Reid's includes, "My son, mama's sweet boy, mama loves you so much. I am so proud of you..." and Alli's, "What a wonderful Bug you are. Mama loves you so much, you are such a wonderful girl..." and Blake's "Oh, my wonderful son. You are such a good boy, mama loves you so much."

Anyway, this is all a very long (and personal) preamble to say that this morning,  I was waking up my 8 yo, Reid. I realize I must automatically coo the same words each morning and he lays there quietly, still mostly asleep. Because this morning when I called him a "handsome character," as in, "What a handsome character you are," his eyes flew open.

"What??" he said, bewildered.

"A handsome character," I said. "It means you're good-looking and interesting."

"Oh," he said, "just tell me the regular parts, please." And he closed his eyes and curled up against my legs.

There is a point to all this, besides the fact that I have pretty cool kids. I was thinking about these little mantras and how Alli has a toddler in her life (X's GF's sister's kid, if you can sort that out) that she loves and adores. And Alli has her own mantra for her, a modified version taken from The Help: "You is smart, You is kind, You is important."

I have my own little mantras for myself, but I don't build myself up the way I do my kids. No, most of mine are little're going to regain all this weight you've lost, you are blowing all the hard work and expense of the tummy tuck surgery (and, for that matter, the weight loss surgery), etc.

Wow, for as loving as I am to my kids, I am downright mean to myself! I am working on this, trying to reprogram some of these subconscious mean-spirited mantras I play as my internal soundtrack.

Cut me some slack, Jack!


  1. Oh I have to laugh because I'm the same way with my kids and I wondered if other mothers did this! I figure I'll kiss and hug and smother them with love for as long as I possible can...meaning until they tell me to stop it!
    We are our own worst critics aren't we? It's awful. I'll just stop looking at my thighs and then I won't have anything negative to say!

  2. You're preachin' to the choir sista!

  3. My first personal trainer used to tell me to look in the mirror and say, "I am strong and beautiful." I could never do it with a straight face. But I agree that we all need some positive ones instead of constantly telling ourselves we are fuck-ups. I hope you can come up with some supportive, encouraging self-mantras.

    I love the anecdote about Reid.

  4. Oh I wish you would write a book Julie! :)

    My kids hate this in the am "wakey wakey eggs and bakey" because of course there will be NO bacon no matter how cute and high and sing-songy I say it.

    Let me know how the self-destructive mantra reprogramming goes...Hugs to ya!

  5. I love the "I love mommy" song idea. :) My kids used to hear me sing in the morning but not so much anymore. I used to sing part of a toothpaste commercial that had to do with morning time although I'm pretty sure my kids had never viewed that commercial.

    I try not to let my negative voices out, but it is getting harder again.