Have you ever been the subject of a gesture or a look from someone passing you (e.g. in a car) and not had time to respond before they're gone? The sense of frustration at not having the right of reply can be maddening. Well, get ready, here comes the tale; this morning my 2 year old son and I were out at the front of our house, in a quiet Close, in a little village. He was stood on the pavement excitedly watching a ride-on mower a few houses along, as boys do. Along came an SUV with a lady driving (I say lady, but am thinking of another word here). She all but came to a halt when she saw my son, and me perhaps 3 metres behind on the drive, and then drove as slow as humanly possible until they were safely past. That's great, you're thinking, how thoughtful!; and I would have thought that too, and given her a little wave in gratitude for spending those few seconds being considerate. But no. Why? Because she took advantage of those few seconds to give me a look that could have turned me to dust, never mind stone, a look of such disgust on her face, it turned a great mood into ever-worsening cycle of negative thoughts about myself.
So this is my reflection. I'm sure a lot of mothers, perhaps fathers too - I'm not sexist; would agree that their Kryptonite would be a critique of their mothering skills. This 'lady' clearly thought I should have closed that 3 metre gap and grabbed my son like a demented harridan at first sight of her vehicle. Although my over active imagination would happily encourage that sort of behaviour, rationally I do prefer an exposure-to-some-risk childhood in order to facilitate learning and good decision-making. I was speaking to my child throughout our time at the front of the house and do think that I was right to offer him a level of trust whilst repeating warnings about the road and the passing SUV as I observed protectively, praising him throughout. He was merely watching what was going on, not running about absent mindedly. So do you:
a) Obsess about the ifs, buts and maybes and think you must be the worst mother in the world.
b) Think perhaps she was right? But then no, I'm happy with my parental decision-making.
c) Shrug it off and forget all about it
d) Not even notice in the first place
My aim is to be a c) but I am mostly/automatically an a). It is my personality/ thinking style and I accept it, whilst having an awareness of the need to keep it under control. My son and I retreated back into the house as I paced the kitchen letting my thoughts run away with me, "I'm stupid/why didn't I get hold of him/ there must be something wrong with me!" and I felt my breathing quicken as my anxieties were rising. Thankfully now, I can recognise that I am starting to do that and interrupt the cycle. I made myself a drink, thought 'I can blog this - this is useful' and mentally composed my rational side to enable the shrugging.
Excessive anxieties are a symptom of mental illness (link to symptoms and information from the National Institute of Mental Health) and my current status is that I do not have excessive anxieties, however can worryingly easily slip into that state of mind dependent on other extraneous variables at any given time. What I can do, in a good state of mental health, is recognise that it is irrational to extrapolate that you are the worst mother in the world from the look on someone's face!
These are my alternative explanations:
a) The driver is genetically challenged so she can't help the way her face looks
b) She has her own problems causing her to scowl at everyone she sees
c) She was just jealous because my son is more handsome than hers
d) She needed a wee
e) She wasn't thinking anything of the sort
f) She was thinking 'bad mother!' but SO WHAT! I know I am the BEST mother in the world for MY CHILDREN! The worst mothers in the world are in prison, not playing out with their sons.
If you recognise any patterns of irrational thinking in yourself, it is definitely worth a visit to your gp to ask for a referral for talking therapy. You do not have to live with the distress.
Now onto the lighter side of my life and hence the whole reason I do it, my card therapy! This week I have created a card for the Wow! Embossing Powder June Blog Challenge - Nature. It is my first attempt at a blog challenge and it was interesting to see what I could create from a theme. I love +WOW! Embossing Powders so have plenty and it is very easy to use and produce beautiful results. Apologies for the terrible photo - need a better camera!
I have used a Kanban crafts tree stamp with various colours of +WOW! Embossing Powders including Pastel Pink (blossoms) , Earthtone Nutmeg (autumn), Opaque Bright White Superfine (winter), Green Glitz Embossing Glitter (summer), and put a little Clear Sparkle Embossing Glitter on the butterflies on the backing paper (Craftwork Cards - also the big pink flowers - diy curling). I have also used Papermania Copper Embossing powder for the tree trunks and some Ranger Superfine Gold mixed in with the Earthtone Nutmeg and Copper for the autumn tree. The butterfly is from Anna Marie Designs as wooden blank and I have used IndigoBlu's Yorkshire Dales Mega Flakes and a bit of quilling to decorate it. Also used +Spellbinders Paper Arts of course, large circles dies, ribbon tag die and the branch is from the Cherry Blossom dies.
Would love you to leave a comment if you stop by,
It's nearly the weekend!