A problem I don’t typically suffer from is self esteem. I am often extremely proud of myself for doing completely normal and often necessary adult things like getting a pap smear, getting my oil changed, or vacuuming my house. I don’t think there is anything wrong with treating yourself to a new shiny electronic gadget or a giant bowl of frozen yogurt because you are taking care of day to day business and are a functioning member of society.
I’d have to say my mom is the one to blame for the “good girls” and pats on the back I like to give myself. She has always been incredibly encouraging to my sisters and I and would constantly praise us for accomplishments, even small ones like getting a “D” on a math test because hey, I didn’t fail it! Just the other day my sister and I were laughing about how we would sometimes call her from college and be upset because we slept through class again. Most parents would start lecturing about the importance of making straight A’s, attending class, and taking notes. Our mom would say “oh good, you probably needed to catch up on the sleep!” She was right, and her non-lecture and “your grades and life are in your hands” style of parenting turned us into self-motivated, responsible kids.
She’s the perfect type of mom-cheerleader though, she doesn’t over do it. Some moms I know are disgustingly overbearing and interject themselves into every aspect of their children’s lives. I can’t stand it when a kid falls down and the mom gazelles over to him, arms flailing and mouth gaping, as if he has just been hit by a semi-truck. He’s fine, mommy’s scary movements and wild animal screeches are probably the reason he is crying.
My mom was not that sort of mom. After four kids, you kind of get used to bumps and bruises I guess. In fact, my dad often quoted Monty Python to us and said “it’s just a flesh wound, you’re fine.” Once I accidentally rubbed my eyes after putting Icy Hot on my legs. I immediately started screaming/crying/snarling and ran downstairs to get some sympathy and help from my mom. At first she was alarmed due to my hysterics, but when I told her what happened she began laughing so hard she could barely talk. Her tears from laughing may have actually outnumbered my tears of pain and humiliation. She finally managed to mumble “you rubbed your eyes with icy hot on your hands, are you stupid?!”
Yes, yes I was. And you know what? I’m thankful to have had a mom like her who didn’t coddle me and say “poor baby, how could this type of tragedy happen to such a perfect little angel?!” She taught me the importance of being able to laugh at myself. And the importance of not being stupid. Don’t get me wrong, she was and IS a fantastic soother, sympathizer, and healer. She is pretty freakin’ awesome.
Today I am giving my self a “goooooood girl pat on the back” because I took it upon myself to take my car to the shop and get my 30,000 mileage (holy cow so expensive, Merry Christmas to me!) maintenance work done. In the 2 years that I have owned my car, I have never missed an oil change or a service tuneup. This is a lot coming from a girl who drove her dad’s car until it literally just stopped running one day because there was not ONE DROP of oil in it. Whoops.
I know that getting my car serviced is really not some big accomplishment or anything to praise myself for, but I do feel proud. I work two jobs to be able to afford the surprise medical bills I received this month, the several hundred dollar car servicing, and Christmas presents for my loved ones. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and congratulate yourself on the small things to keep you trucking through the big ones.