Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Write it Down

I had a really bad morning yesterday. I know I complain alot about having teenagers, but, truthfully, they ask for it. I've been very stressed about one of my kids and his grades. He isn't allowed to drive because his grades are so bad. (Can you say, 'triple your car insurance premium'? Not without choking.) So, I was feeling stressed and all around miserable. I kept thinking what a bad mother I am and that if my child had been born to a different mom maybe he would be better. It's not that he's dumb, so obviously, I'm to blame. That's how I felt anyway. So, it took a couple hours for me to recognize where these bad feelings were coming from. (I know, sometimes I'm a bit slow.) Clearly, my loving Heavenly Father and my kind elder Brother would never put such things in my head. They chose me to raise my children and always know what they're doing. Nope, it was that weasily snake I used to call brother. Yep, slimy Satan. While I was sitting on my bed in tears, he was probably doing the happy dance all around me. But, once I realized what was going on, I got mad. What does he know about being a parent? He's never been, nor will he ever be one. In fact, I think he does know I'm a good mom, that's why he tries so hard to convince me otherwise. Jerk.
So, I was thinking about this today and how we all go through those days when the darkness seems too thick to see through. I was thinking about my kids and how they seem to save their bad behavior for home . Other people (Young Men leaders, teachers) are often saying good things about them. Come to think of it, other people say good things about me far more often than I think of it myself. It's that whole self-criticizing thing we get caught up in. Have you noticed that? I was also thinking that on a day like yesterday, I really needed some of that positive feedback. Then, I got an idea.
Remember when gratitude journals were all the rage? I still think it's a good idea. But, what if we kept a "Self-Esteem Journal"? (Or, a "Feel Good"; "I Like Me" journal). Call it what you like. Here's the idea. Keep a little notebook in your purse or your scriptures. (I seem to get more compliments at church. Maybe because people are feeling good about being there, or maybe because that's where I have the most adult interaction each week.) Then, when someone says something nice about you, or your kids, write it down. Word for word if you can, sum it up if you can't. Whatever, get it down on paper. Don't do what I do when someone says something sweet. 'Oh, thanks, but.....' and then explain why it just isn't so. Say thanks, and write it down. When your six year-old hugs you and tells you that you're the best mom in the world, write it down. If you can remember things someone said a while ago, write it down. If your husband tells you you're still hot after 18 years, come on, girls, don't roll your eyes, write it down! Then, when you have one of those days, get out your journal and read something someone said (if it's especially bad, read the whole thing). Not only will it help to have something to read, but writing things down helps us remember them. Maybe it'll help us keep some of those good thoughts in our heads. It'll give us more ammunition to fight off that snake when he slithers by. He can try to put those self-defeating thoughts in our minds, but then we can pull out the journal and show it to him. "See, I can do good things. I do look good. I am a good mom. You don't know what you're talking about. Now, I'm going to write that down."

2 comments:

  1. What an awesome idea. I'm going to get a notebook for all of my girls, because it seems like Satan works on us especially hard! What a creep! Thanks again for the wonderful idea!!!

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  2. I think it's a great idea! In the support group I go to (for parents of RAD kids) we talk all the time about sometimes our kids' negative behaviors are just who they are. I say you have done a terrific job raising your kids. I know what kind of person you are and that you have given your kids every opportunity and ounce of love you could possibly give them. They have free agency and life's experiences to enjoy and shape them, just like we do. Isn't that awesome? So, the next time things go wrong...just turn it into a positive. Kick up your heels and say to yourself and them, "Woo hoo! I'm so glad you did _______ now you have a chance to repent/change/learn/grow/serve/figure out a problem and I'll be right here to love and support you when you do it" You're an amazing woman and awesome mom! Love you!

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