If anyone spoke to any one of my children the way I speak to myself, I think the mother bear in me would come out and I would wrestle them to the ground. I would make them apologize and promise never to speak that way to my children or anyone else like that ever again.
I have high expectations of myself. If my role is to take care of children, I "should" myself to death. I should be more attentive, more creative, more fun, cook better meals, do more and simply be more.
When I write, I compare myself to others who have honed the art of writing to a level I know I will never attain. I should edit myself more, be more attentive to my overuse of "that" and "..." and brackets and there are so many ways I should do better, write more and write outside of the tiny box I live in.
As a friend, I know I should initiate contact more. I used to email people on a semi regular basis. Why did I stop? I don't call, I don't write and I am pretty sure people aren't receiving my ESP messages. I should be more, do more, call more and just be a better friend.
I could go on all day about all that I am not but instead I shall reroute my story and tell you about yesterday. Yesterday was the most wonderful kind of day within our daycare world. As I lived it, I was continually beating myself up. My inner voices had two names "The Critic" and "My Kind Side"
The critic - "You should take these guys outside!"
My kind side - "But they are happy and content. Let them play."
Critic - "You should be paying more attention!"
Kindness - "They are okay. They do better when you aren't hovering over their every move."
Critic - "You should make them a better lunch!"
Kindness - "It is just one day. They love alphagetti and hot dogs! Make it easy on everyone today."
Critic - "Let the older ones play through quiet time!"
Kindness - "Everyone does better with a piece of quiet inserted into their day. They need it just as much as you do. YOU need it to be your best self for the remainder of the day..."
Critic - "You need to take these guys out to play in the 'forest'!"
Kindness - "You enjoy them enjoying their forest and nature and hills just as much as they do. Yes, take them to the 'forest' and savor the moments."
Critic - "Take more pictures! Their parents need to see what you are seeing!"
Kindness - "Watch them, listen to them, remember this. It doesn't last ..."
Critic - "We should have gotten home sooner! Parents are waiting for us!!"
Kindness - "Their parents are grateful we took time to go on a little adventure. They arrived early. You couldn't know."
This conversation ran through my mind all day. It was relentless. But "Kindness" won.
We went with the flow, kids were kids and we enjoyed "little moments" all day long. Lunch was a hit, stress levels were low, expectations were moderate, contentment was high.
Children playing, happy sounds, pleased parents created a memorable day in such a small way.
Let "Kindness" win today. Give yourself a break and (try to) silence your inner critic. The Critic has a job to do. It reminds us to keep striving to be the best we can be. Just don't let your critical side break you. Remind yourself "Kindness Wins" and just do your best. It is all we can ever do. Some days, your best is better than others.
Let yourself off the hook and talk kind to yourself today.