Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Cute.....And The Self Doubting Inner Voice.
The other day I was in my bedroom when I heard a knock on the door. Anthony comes in with a sad look on his face and I knew I was about to hear some sort of concern from the depths of his young, sensitive soul.
"What's the matter, Anthony?"
"Mama, I just have this feeling that when you grow up you're not cute anymore." he said while looking at himself in the mirror and shaking his head.
"Like when I look at Timothy I think, 'he's so cute!' because he's just little and adorable, but when I look at myself and when you get older I think, 'you're not so cute anymore.' I just think that."
"Did someone say something to you about the way you look?" I asked while my eyes searched his face, deciding if what he would say next would be truth or lie.
"No, I'm just saying I think that. I think you don't look so cute when you get older."
"Ohhhh Anthony, you're my child! You will always be cute and I will always think you're cute, no matter what age you are. People are cute when they are babies and people are cute when they get older. It's just a different kind of cute. I'm older and I'm still cute, right?"
"Yes!" he said with a grin.
"Well there 'ya go. Nothing to worry about. And thank you for saying I'm cute."
Part of me wants to laugh, what a silly thing for an almost 8 year old boy to be worried about! "Am I not cute anymore because I'm getting older!?" WHAT!? How absurd. But yet, the other part of me wants to cry. Where the hell did that come from? Is someone saying something to him about his looks? Well that would piss me off. Why does he think he doesn't measure up? He's 8. Is this starting already? I know I can't shield my children from everything, but I thought I'd been doing a good job teaching my children self love. Why is he comparing himself to his almost 3 year old brother? Is it because I snuggle Tim more and he thinks I love him more? Is it because he and I struggle over home work most every afternoon? Is it because I yelled at him this morning over untied shoes? Is it my fault somehow? Shit, it's my fault, isn't it?
There it is. The blame. The self doubting inner voice. The self doubting inner voice of parenthood.
Ooooook Mama. Deep breathes. Practice what you preach. Put into practice what you tell your children. No, you're not perfect, you make mistakes, but at least you try your best. Squash that blaming and self doubting inner voice. You are not somehow, unwittingly, destroying your child's self esteem and self love.
Or am I? Damn it...there's that inner voice again. No wonder I have conversations like this with my son, I gave him my self doubting gene.
The truth is, I never really know with Anthony. This child of mine is living proof that people are not black and white, but a million shades of gray. It could be something, it could be nothing. I might not ever know.
I sat Anthony down and we went on to discuss how looks aren't everything and it's more important to have a beautiful heart and soul than to worry about a beautiful face....something I've talked with all the kids about before, on many occasions.
Moments like these make me wonder if I'm doing a good enough job being their Mama. ....and then I have to tell myself to shut up. Of course I am. Look at them.
Or am I?
I don't know what your inner voice sounds like, Anthony. But don't let it sound like mine. You have your whole life to be filled with various degrees of self doubt. Fully love yourself now, before I can not shield you from the world that will try to teach you otherwise.