For me, life happened fast.
My life and status evolved very quickly in a short amount of time. I mean, I became a fiancee, wife and mother in roughly 3 years. That’s a lot of big changes in a short time frame. No regrets though! I’ve been loving my life every step of the way.
… But with every change or evolution, came many lessons learned along the way - the most consistent one being to give yourself grace.
As a mom, I’ve heard this advice quite a few times. Every woman I’ve spoken to, whether they’ve recently become a wife, a mother, got a promotion or became unemployed, I’ve even given them this advice... but of course, this advice is never really taken by myself most times. It was only recently I realized the extent to which I don’t take my own advice and of course, right on cue, the imposter syndrome kicked in.
Let‘s go back to a couple days ago when Xary was ill (yessss baby girl wasn't feeling well… sigh). She had really high fever - I’m talking over 100 degree Fahrenheit for 2 full days. We kept her in front of the fan, bathed her in cool water and when that didn’t work, we resorted to letting her sleep with us in our air-conditioned bedroom. I did not sleep that night. I'm not a big advocate on taking medication - it’s usually a last resort in our home… but i have to admit that the only thing that helped was giving her infant Advil… but when that wore off (about 6 hours later) her temperature would shoot back up again. We eventually took her to the doctor and to my amazement, the doctor told me nothing was really wrong with her - it’s probably just a bug she picked up and will eventually run its course. Not what I thought I would hear from her but I was a bit relieved nevertheless.
This period that Xary was ill unfortunately, took me back to when our household had COVID. I felt so anxious and defeated… I called my mom for everything. I felt like I couldn’t trust myself with taking care of her (despite you know… being her mother). Mom guilt consumed me completely. How could this happen? I watched my extremely energetic daughter become lethargic and clingy with no appetite, only wanting me and her tit-tea. I wondered if she got COVID... How could she have gotten it? Which one of us? Where did we go recently? Then… When last did we clean the house? That Crix crumb she ate off the floor that time a couple of days ago could be the culprit. My anxiety was at an all time high despite my demeanor seeming calm.
I beat myself up so much over the course of those couple of days. Everyday, I watched her for some improvement… and every minute/hour without improvement, I beat myself up about it. I went to work on the second day that she was sick (because I had to) and tortured myself by googling her symptoms (of course that didn’t help).
Photo: Us heading home after I went to work on the 2nd day of her fever.
I say all this to show you how you can spiral downhill fast in a situation that, looking back, was really not that bad. I went through all of that mentally and on the 4th day, baby girl was back to her usual self. In my mind, the situation was dire (even after her doctor said she was fine); I blamed myself so much I almost made myself depressed. If I had given myself the grace I so rightfully deserved by being the best mother to my daughter, I wouldn’t have stunted myself so much. My mind would’ve definitely been clearer, I would’ve been able to take care of her better (not rely on my mom to help and make decisions for her at almost every step of the way) and even pick up on her improvements quicker (and rejoice in them).
So how do you give yourself grace?
I read another blog recently that gave 5 really good ways in which to give yourself grace. They are:
Don’t be perfect, be real. No one is perfect!
Mess up but don’t let yourself feel bad. Don’t let guilt eat you alive!
Give yourself permission to not do everything. You’re not superwoman!
Never feel selfish for taking “me” time.
Do one thing a day that you’re proud of.
Grace is a relative term so whatever it means to you, make sure and give it to yourself. Grace for me is more than putting my mind and heart at ease, it involves action… so in the case of Xaryah’s ailment when I felt like I was being less than a mother to her due to my anxiety and guilt, I apologized to her and then loved on her a lot more. Giving myself grace also looks like self care, practising mindfulness/yoga, spending a little extra money on myself or buying a little sweet treat for my inner fat kid.
What does grace mean to you?