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Getting out of the Way (a.k.a. Living the Good Life)

Lovelies, I am blessed. I know this. I married a wonderful man–you know, one of the world’s last chivalrous types–whom I don’t deserve, and together we are raising two healthy, happy, smart, inquisitive, fun-loving, and big-hearted children. You know that million dollar family description–high school sweetheart husband and wife, daughter, son, dog, house in the suburbs? Yeah, nauseatingly, it applies. (I want to puke over our stereotypicalness sometimes. It’s okay if you do, too. I get it.).

But, you know what? Sometimes, even though I know I am blessed beyond measure and despite all the outward appearances and inner value of my  life, I get down on myself. I criticize my efforts when things go astray, and then I criticize myself for criticizing myself…it’s a vicious cycle once I get started. I suspect that I’m not the only one who does this….am I?

For example, I thought I had this week under control until precisely 7 PM Monday. I had completed all 74 mid-term grades. I had sent-out emails to friends and family with information about my daughter’s upcoming karate tournament (her very first!); I had grocery shopped (under budget, too!) for a week of clean Paleo eats; I was about to cook for lunches and prep a bunch of goodies for my loves when, instead, I found myself taking our karate kid to the emergency room for x-rays of her ankle. (In case you didn’t know, it is impossible to cook whilst in the emergency room–please laugh, I was kidding). And, by the time we got home and arranged our sparring princess and her potentially fractured growth plate and entirely shattered tournament dreams into bed, it was impossible to cook without pulling an all-nighter. I’m pretty sure my inner nag reloaded her entire arsenal with all the ammunition from Monday night’s fiasco, because as I closed my eyes in an attempt to sleep for a few hours, she started right on queue…

You are such a bad mother! How could you have let your #1 girl hurt herself just days before her big tournament? Don’t you know how important it is to her? She’s going to be so disappointed if she can’t compete–all because YOU let her get hurt! Now you’re not cooking? What will you do in the morning with one on crutches and the other still going to school? What will you put in his lunchbox. [Gasp!] You won’t let him buy SCHOOL lunch, will you? What about your husband? He’s been doing so well. You’re screwing up his success now, too! You didn’t run tonight, did you? How come? If you were REALLY dedicated you would have been running laps around the hospital. You’re going to FAIL at your half marathon because you skipped a day! Those new jeans you just started wearing aren’t going to zip if you keep this slacking up! Nag, nag, naggity nag…

And, sadly, Lovelies, these are not even the worst things that I said to myself. Ouch.

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like I’d been sucker-punched by Fortune and laughed at by Fate. I think, though, that the real problem is that I need to be nicer to me.

I certainly wouldn’t tolerate anyone else treating me this way, and it would absolutely kill me if ever my kids treated themselves so harshly.

So, in order to 1. be a better role model, 2. end the self-critical cycle, and 3. embrace the last of the Paleo rules with which I have yet to make friends (you know, the one that advises you to reduce the stress in your life, no matter the source), I’ve decided that today is the day I’ll stop being the source of my own stress. I’m making a concentrated effort to get out of my own way and allow myself to live the good life. After all, Annette Funicello had a point…

P.S. Yes, I know the little light-up heart guy at the top has a cigarette. I also know that cigarettes are not healthy or Paleo 😉 I am pretending that the cigarette is symbolic of life’s petty troubles going up in smoke. Pretend with me, please. Life’s more fun that way.


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