My hair is not long enough. Or short enough. I’m growing it out. I’ve got new headbands (some are thick, some are thin) and packets of bobby pins. I’ve pulled out bottles, tubes and tubs from the bathroom cupboard. There’s mud, curl refiner, curl definer, sculpting paste, wax, mousse (yes, I actually had some—surely that hasn’t been under the basin since Year 8?), gel (Year 9?) and hairspray.
(Note to self: Clean out the bathroom cupboard. You are never going to use the little bottles of motel shampoo and conditioner.)
But no amount of product or cards of bobby pins leaves me switching off the bathroom light and striding down the passage like the Special K lady. Instead I shudder as I walk away from the mirror. Could I look any more mummsy?
Then I read an article that made me realise that looking mummsy should not make me shudder.
The article was Your Children Want YOU! by April Perry. You should read it.
She talks about the effects of social media, TV and magazines on mothers’ self esteem. As we trawl for interesting and inspiring ideas about such things as parenting, homemaking, cooking and craft, we’re left feeling inadequate and wishing we were someone else. She asks that we don’t sit around feeling discouraged about all the things we’re not. She reminds you that your children want YOU.
I was one of the 335,000 Facebook users who hit the ‘Like’ button on that article and shared it in the weeks after it was posted. It started me thinking, and I haven’t stopped; what strange creatures we are and what strange things we do to ourselves and others.
Firstly, we need to lay off ourselves and stop being such harsh judges—judging ourselves against some image of perfection in our heads only leads to suffering. Ask the 335,000 people who shared Perry’s article.
While we’re on the subject of judging, how about all of the opportunities there are each day to judge others; their parenting, their children’s names, what they write in their Facebook status update, their clothing, what they say or what they don’t, their job or their choices in life.
Judging others provides a moment of pride as we enjoy a heightened sense of our own status and another opportunity to be right.
But other than that, it only leads to more suffering for ourselves (after all, the other person is unaffected by our judgement and opinions).
“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” Paulo Coelho
So would I really be that much happier if my hair was long? If my stomach was flat? If the loads of washing on the couch were folded?
Mummsy? I am a mum. My girls want me as I am. I can strive for longer hair, a flatter stomach or a tidier house, but my confidence, happiness and self worth isn’t dependent on any of that.
Thanks April Perry for that reminder.
And thank you Elsie and Maeve for boosting my confidence, happiness and self worth like nothing else can or ever will.