So, I'm working on doing less in 2014.
I'm not just an underachiever, though I wouldn't blame you for thinking that. I'm just going with the "less is more" theory. Less stressing, more enjoying. Less scheduled activities, more spontaneous fun family time. Less crappy food, more feeling better. You get the picture.
One behavior I want to do less of is making negative comments about myself. I worry that my daughter picks up on those comments and I don't want the negative voice migrating from my head into hers.
In the whopping two days that I've been working on this, I've come to a few different realizations.
First, I am not that kind to myself.
Second, when I am kind to myself, it feels both weird and good. (Funny how deciding that I will not feel stupid over setting up wireless printing can be liberating.)
Third, self-deprecation is not always a bad thing, but it's a mighty fine line to walk.
I absolutely do not want to take myself too seriously. I like to laugh, including at myself. When I was looking at a website for a blog conference, I saw that one of the speakers was listed as a self-deprecating humorist. It seemed to me as if the self-deprecation was to be considered one of her best attributes.
Perhaps it is. It's great when people invite others to join in laughing at their foibles. God knows that parenting gives us a lot of chances to laugh at our mistakes and shortcomings. And those who think they have it all figured out are like fingernails on a blackboard.
But when does self-deprecating talk cross the line and become negative self-talk that tears you down?
I don't have an answer to that question. I just know that it's a line that I'm not great at walking, especially in front of my most impressionable tween.
She doesn't need to hear her mother calling herself stupid or not very bright, even if what I did does fall into that category. My girl is smart enough to figure that out all by herself. In fact, in a matter of weeks, I'm sure she'll think that even my most intelligent decisions are both wrong and embarrassing. Why should I allow my criticism of myself her get there faster, right?
I'm going to work harder on laughing at myself without beating myself up. And hopefully add in a comment like, "I'll do better next time," or "At least I had fun trying" or simply "Oops" followed by a good laugh.
It's always good to laugh at yourself but it's good to be kind to and forgiving of yourself, too.
Although she’d like to be taller and have more time to dive into good books, Shannan is awfully happy with her life in the western suburbs, where she moved after a decade of living on the north side of the city. She blogs about parenting a tween at Tween Us on ChicagoNow and at Families in the Loop.
See more of Shannan 's stories here.