I have a stalker. She follows me everywhere, and I worry that she is ruining my life.
I try hard to get rid of her, but she’s relentless. Following me on good days and bad, and making my life miserable when I try so hard to make it beautiful.
She’s been stalking me since I can remember, but it wasn’t until I became a mother, that she tried to take complete control of my life.
I manage to ignore her most days, but the constant barrage of her words overwhelm me some days to where I’m absolutely convinced I’m failing at this whole motherhood thing.
You see, the stalker’s name is the same as my own. Except she’s an uglier, darker version of me. She’s full of negativity, “shoulds” and “you’re not good enoughs”. She kicks me when I’m down, but she also grabs me by the neck and pushes me down when I’m up.
I have a stalker and I want to get rid of her for good.
Because, I’m on the road to give up on the quest for perfection. I want to finally let go of the imagined ideal of the mother I should be, and just embrace the mother I actually am.
But, she’s stalking me. Telling me I’m not enough.
When I manage to clean the bathrooms, she tells me I failed because I didn’t organize the linen closet too.
When I manage to cook dinner instead of go out, she tells me I could have made something healthier, or with more vegetables.
When I remember a school project on time, she whispers, “Why didn’t you spend more time playing with them today”
When I play with them for an hour, she tells me I should have played for two.
When I go to the gym, she tells me I could have pushed myself more. She tells me I will always be overweight.
When I collapse into bed at night, exhausted from a hard day of motherhood, housework, and work work, she tells me that I should be doing something more productive than watching reality TV in bed.
The problem with my stalker is that there is no way to take out a restraining order against her or lock the door so she can’t get in. She’s always there.
Whispering as I lay in bed at night that I didn’t hug enough, kiss enough, or enjoy every moment enough. Making me cry when I think of their tiny sleeping bodies in warm, soft beds after a day of chaos and commotion.
The saddest part, is that I have complete control over getting rid of my stalker. But, for some reason she is still lingering.
She lingers even though on so many days, I let go of the desire to have a clean microwave and stove at the same time. She hovers even though I’m really OK with how often I mop. Which is almost never.
She still whispers stinging words even though, now that I’m a mother of three, I DO enjoy almost every moment with my kids, savor the kisses, and make efforts to be present.
She tells me I’m alone, when I know that there is a world FULL of mothers feeling just as I do — Tired of the monotony, but joyous at the same time.
Happy to have everything they ever wanted, but sad that they aren’t doing more.
Some days, I’m aware that “she” actually isn’t me. She’s an ugly force that comes from a dark place that has nothing good in it. But, some days, it’s hard. The line is blurred, and I forget my own goodness and strengths and worry that she is right. That everything she says is true.
But, you know what? Screw that. Screw her.
She isn’t indestructible, invincible, or un-defeatable. Not unless I let her live.
SO glad I read this today. I’ve found parenthood much like sports, in that you try your best in the moment, but after the final whistle, you can look back on so many moments and beat yourself up for not doing more. Or doing too much. Or doing the wrong thing. Little regrets, and big regrets, that leave us questioning ourselves.
My impression of you as a mom and woman is upbeat, engaging. It was sad to learn that you could have this voice inside you, too, but I understood. And above all, I’m impressed and grateful you’re beating that voice, a little every day.
What an amazing comment! Thanks Eli! I feel like I am upbeat and engaging most of the time. It’s those quiet alone moments that not everyone can see. Just another reason why we should stop judging each other, because we all have our own version of that voice inside our heads. It was just something I was thinking about one day when I was consciously aware that it was happening. Which, is half the battle. 🙂
Meredith – There have been many times when I felt exactly like you – not being good enough to be the mother of my children. At the end of the day, I am tempted to be saddened when I look at the huge pile of unfolded laundry instead of remembering the look on my children’s faces when I made a favorite dinner .
For some time now, I have been trying to practice gratitude. When I am bombarded with negative thoughts, I try to find one thing to be grateful for. When my husband and I are having a disagreement and I become so angry, I try to stop and think about being grateful for my husband and the anger starts to melt away. I am prone to sadness and depression, and I really think gratitude has literally saved my life.
As you have already recognized, you can never be a perfect mother but you can be exactly the mother your children need. You are the mother chosen for them. Those kids are super lucky and have a lot to be grateful for.
I agree! Thanks for such an encouraging comment. It’s difficult to overcome the voice inside our own heads, but I know that I am doing the best I can and genuinely feel that most days. 🙂
jennifer groeber says
Powerful piece of writing, Meredith. You’ve got something that jerk stalker can’t touch, and that’s a strong and powerful voice. Tell her to get outta town (but in naughtier words) and then take yourself out for a pedi, or have a bath, or take a nap, or buy a Lindt truffle. Because you deserve to have a moment to celebrate amazing you! (And I’m with Mar. A list of thankful things in mantra form every time the stalker-tape gets turned on in your head will shut her down. It generally works on mine.)
Thanks Jennifer! What a nice comment. 🙂
Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says
I think I have the same stalker, but I always thought her name was Lisa! 🙂 Love this and can definitely relate!
Chris Carter says
This is soooooooo good. I have a similar stalker, except mine torments me about people that have hurt me and wounded my soul… she keeps surfacing the pain and the anger. It’s time I hold her captive and send her off to prison for LIFE!!
Yep! Screw her! And my stalker too! Very timely that I read this right after Chris’ post about changing the focus. Wonderful things are happening around us, let us not let our stalkers ruin it!
I have gotten better at squelching those negative thoughts, but of course they return every now and then! I think every mom can relate!
Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. says
You know i love this. SO glad you published it. The more voices we can add to the battle against guilt, self-doubt, and impossible standards, the better hope our daughters have of shaking it off when it’s their turn. Nicely done. xo
Love this and hate it at the same time. Why do we put so much pressure and hate on ourselves!? I am constantly beating myself down for all the harm I have caused. When I KNOW that MOST of the time, I am doing it right. But man, we sure don’t let ourselves down lightly when we do the “wrong” thing.
And then, and THEN! I get on facebook and I see this mother who is playing with her son, I am guessing he was 3 or 4. She has filled the sink with water, is letting him play in it. The other sink is full of spaghetti noodles that she has cooked for him and is letting him play with them in the “snake-pit” Instantly, I am a failure of a mother. NONE of my kids EVER got to play in a sink full of water and spaghetti noodles! I guess I could still shove my 6 year old in the sink, but he would probably look at me like I have lost it. The 9, 17, and 19 year old definitely won’t go for it.
hahah! Don’t beat yourself up. You are amazing!! But, totally know what you mean.
Kristi Campbell says
Yup. Thanks for hitting publish. I hate this and love it all at once because YUP. Thank you. Kick that beotch to the curb right?
I have this same stalker, she can really slow me down and ruin a perfectly good moment. I hope we can both get rid of her but I will admit it is good to know I’m not alone! Xo
Thanks for this. It’s a good reminder!