Freedom from…

IMG_0604I used to love photography. There was nothing more fun for me then taking the children out from some elaborate (to me) photo shoot. I loved taking and editing and planning. I loved it all.

Then the internet.

The internet I wanted to learn from turned into my worst enemy. It became a breeding ground of anxiety.

My gear wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t creative enough.

My shots weren’t sharp enough.

I charged too much. Or too little or I shouldn’t be charging at all.

I was a business moron. Marketing was beyond me.

I wasn’t cool enough.

I didn’t have a studio. I didn’t shoot newborns right. I didn’t do weddings, then I did do weddings.

I wasn’t enough.

Frick, it was like highschool again. Stupid brain. Stupid anxiety. Stupid internet.

I stopped shooting for me and started shooting to be like everyone else. And I started losing my love. And then I mixed friendship with business and anxiety with business and then, I was just done.

Because I never felt good enough. Because I let the “others” win. I let anxiety win.

So I left. I left every forum, every Facebook group. I unfollowed and I unfriended. But it’s not there anymore because I shackled myself to someone else’s idea. Instead of finding freedom in my own work, I let it shackle me. Oh the woes of the anxious introverted artist.

Introversion. It’s the topic of many a blogs these days. I try hard not to use it as a crutch as I have watched many fall down that path. It’s not a crutch. It’s not anything except how I am. I’m introverted, to a fault sometimes but it’s who I am. I married an extrovert and had a few children who are extroverted as well. No, so far only one. Davis. He’s for sure an extrovert. The jury is still out on the others although I suspect the smallest will also follow in those footsteps. I prayed they’d all be extroverted and leaders. That, unlike me, they’d not worry about what everyone thinks. They’d create or sport or do whatever, without the shadow and shackles of worry and comparison. I prayed they’d be surrounded by friends and fun and fitting in.

I’m not sure my prayers were answered.

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My only daughter, beautiful, witty and smart, struggles with these things. I’m sure a lifetime under the roof of an over-critical mother does not help. Even if the criticism was never directed at her. Because to me, she’s nothing short of amazing. Yet, I worry the prayers I prayed for her were not heard or were not answered and she will endure the pebbled path of her mother.

So, I wonder how I teach her that the “internet” of her future doesn’t matter. That her photography is beautiful and wonderful ESPECIALLY because it doesn’t look like everyone else’s? That it’s okay NOT to fit in at MOPS or ever attend, because not all moms do and it’s okay. That it doesn’t matter if you go to PTO with pink hair and wishbone tattoo and you will still be a good mother and your children will just be happy you’re there.. How do I help her to embrace the introversion when I have trouble in that skin myself? How do I teach her that she’s enough…

I never want her to lose her love of anything and as I have walked with her during these tough teen years, I have watched as her smile has dimmed and how she’s hidden more and more behind duck faces and friends who aren’t really her peers. I watched her stop singing, stop going. I have watched her feel less than coming off a field of girls who have been playing lacrosse since they were in diapers and feeling like they will never let her in. And maybe they won’t, but I don’t want them to steal her joy and her love.

How do I teach my anxious, introverted daughter not to be all the things I don’t know how not to be, without telling her that she’s bad or broken? I never want her “others” to win. I just want her to be happy and whole… I want her to be anything but me.

Freedom from… anxiety.

Freedom from… introversion.

Freedom from…. me.

 

 

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

It takes a village

12545490_1672146226396144_1312233716_nDrew joined the Cub Scouts this last year. Late by standards I am sure, but after the troops visited school, he asked, a lot, to join and finally after talking to a friend about his sons’ involvement in Boy Scouts, I decided to give it a go. He’s been a member since right before the holiday and it’s been fun. It’s the thing he and I do together even though it’s probably more a dad and son thing to do. I have enjoyed going to the meetings and the field trips.

I have not enjoyed how freaking confused I am. I admit, I should probably read this Bear book. I am totally lost when it comes to understanding why we’re meeting policemen and visiting wildlife places. And outside of being helpful to the hungry, I don’t know why the Scouts annually collect food. Except maybe to earn badges… but I don’t really know much about that either.

And then, gasp, Pinewood Derby hit and they said, “buy a kit, it’s all you have to do” and so I did and it was a block of wood, four pins and four wheels and I was totally lost.

Lost.

My brother is handy thankfully. And despite my house of subpar tools, a beautiful car was created. Drew painted it and Kevin will take it to a friends how to make sure the wheels and axels are just so. And so while I wanted to do it myself, because I am the Cub Scout Mom, I had to rely on my village.

The whole idea of a village is hard for me. The introvert. It’s also hard for me to accept help. I have always thought to myself, “these are my kids, they are my responsibility” especially  with the stigmas attached to large family (see the Duggard’s buddy system). I also hate the thought of not being able to do something. But, I cannot cut wood. And I need more time to learn to build a really good derby car.

It took a village. I fell short, because I am human and my village stepped up.

I have a strange brain. Even though I know I should think about the “what ifs”, I do. What if I was a single mom? What would my little Cub Scout do? I think people think this is a bad thing to do sometimes but I think it’s makes for good planning. Good helping. I’ll ask now… what happens to the Cubs who don’t have a parent who can help them with this kind of thing? Maybe a single Dad who doesn’t work wood and doesn’t have family near. Maybe some kind of network, some village needs to be in place for that. People helping people. Because you never know.

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I also learned from all this that you can’t take over the projects. Holy heck I wanted to paint that car so bad. But this is not my project. It is Drew’s and letting him do it, is part of the journey. It’s a real struggle to not say, “this could be this way” or “paint it like this”. I cleaned up his bomb and realized what I was doing. And I stepped away. It’s Drew’s car. Not mine.

More lessons in parenting. I’m learning more and more every day.

Saturday is the big race. The weather is calling for a tremendous amount of snow so I am hoping we can still get there. We bought a van to replace my much loved truck and judging from how it did in the first snow, we may not be going anywhere.

Oh how I miss my truck right now. I really don’t want to miss his derby.

I don’t want to miss anything.

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Let it go, let it go

IMG_2895Dixon can sing. He sings more than he talks. I think he’s partial to Mumford and Sons, “I will wait for you” but we’ve added “Let it Go” from Frozen to our impressive list of lyrical awesomeness.

He says Papa, Daddy (sounds more like Dadeeeee), Bubba and I poop. This week we added shoes to his ever present, Go. He talks a lot. He’s lightyears ahead of where Dexter was and it makes me feel bad that I did not push for help with Dexter sooner. Mom guilt. There is always some sort of mom guilt, isn’t there?

As a mother I never know what the right thing to do is. And everyone has their opinion. Everyone who loves your child, weighs in. They want what is best for them too. And then, if you’re like me, you have other children to compare too. So one may talk late but need no assistance while another should of had more help from day one.

Sometimes it feels like a losing battle.

I wonder too, sometimes, if the invitation of social media to my life and the lives of my children has grown the guilt monster. I know it’s grown Guilt’s friend, Doubt and through the years I have found my self sharing less and less because I don’t want the weigh in. People with good intentions, without inflection. They mean well but come across mean or hurtful… because well, interwebs (inside joke)

“Did someone suggest that because they think I am a bad mother? Do they think I am not spending enough time with this one or that one? Did I make the wrong choice?”

We have to learn to just let it go. I have to learn to let it go. I am thankful for the tiny sounds of Dixon, to remind me.

We can’t be right all the time. In years we will look back and questions our decisions I am sure. Was it right to move Devlynn across the country? Did I kill her social life? Maybe but she goes to schools that make the schools in Denver look like playtime. She has the fortunate opportunity to live in the history epicenter and her love of history flourishes here and just grows stronger. She may not have a gaggle of friends but she has other things instead.

All we can do is try and do our best, right? Learn from our mistakes. Walk away from the bad and try and start over with better, with different choices. And learn to forgive ourselves and let it go.

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Baseball season approaches again. My favorite sport of them all. Last year, I put too much pressure on myself and on my kids. I worried too much about something, that in scheme of things, won’t matter in time. This year, we’re taking a different approach. No travel teams. Just private lesson and rec. It’s Davis’ last year at the rec league and I’m not gonna ruin it by putting pressure on him or myself. It’s probably an unpopular decision but it’s the only one that works for my family. Letting go of the pressure. Let it go.

Baseball, lacrosse, Cub Scouts, well they should be fun. Yes, they’re work and they’ll teach our kids things but in the end, if they’re not enjoying it, they’re not taking away from it the important lessons we put them in these things, to learn. If there is anything I want my children to know, it is that you don’t have to be miserable. Find work that you love. Find people that you love to be around. Life doesn’t have to be full of misery. Not if you don’t want it to.

We have to learn to let the bullshit go. Let it go.

That’s my mantra this year.. hopefully, I can stick with it.

 

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.