How we seem to have it backwards..
I remember sitting in the playgroup……besides trying to make sure Missy M didn’t destroy anything or anyone, I had another anxious dialogue running in my head based on a simple belief ….. whatever she did was a direct reflection on me as a parent! I just wasn’t responsible for the behaviour of one human being (me!) but now another, in a little cute, destructive, loud, messy package. I honestly believed that I would be judged based on her. No wonder I found playgroup to be a stressful experience even though, confusingly, I was supposed to sitting back with a cup of tea and relaxing. Relaxing?!?
Allowing our minds to be filled with thinking about other people’s thinking is going to drive us to the point of exhaustion. We take our thoughts about their thoughts so seriously that we generate more thoughts about how valid/valuable/generally rubbish we are….then we think on that some more…….then our mood drops and our thinking goes down hill and then our behaviour gets kinds crazy. When I write out this process in long form it seems so silly that we lead our lives this way, but we do. Ouch.
Great parenting is based on what we take seriously in our minds. If we pay attention to the cause: not the mothers over there chatting, but the chatting in our own heads, we can stop investing so much energy in such destructive thinking. I now know I had no control over what other mums thought about Missy M toddling around with a bucket of sand. Her behaviour, even at such a tiny age, is her own based on her thinking and mood. My behaviour is based on mine.
So go to playgroups……. go to the school yard or the coffee morning…… drink the cup of hot goodness without worry. What are you doing? Drinking. That is all. No extra thinking required. Maybe the other mums are thinking how relaxed you look! How do you behave like that? Wow!