I might have mentioned it before…but my did you know my husband works nights? Well, he does. Which means on most evenings my son and I do the nighttime routine just me and him. We have it down. We rarely deviate from it. Which is great for him; children thrive on routines. After three years,for me it can sometimes be mundane and lonely (take a look at last week’s blog on my love language). For weeks, two of my friends and I had been trying to plan a girls night out but could never settle on a date which worked for all three of us. Then one of my friends suggested that they come over to my house on a night my husband was working so we could have a girls night in. I wasn’t sure. I had never had friends over in the evening. The evenings are my son’s and I sacred time, our nightly routine. Reluctantly, I agreed. One night won’t hurt. The following Thursday they came over after my son had taken his bath but before his bedtime. I put on the Lion King for my son and he danced around in the kitchen with us three as we drank wine, talked, and laughed. I let my son stay up later than usual. When he was ready for bed, I let him lay down in my bed. Instead of laying with him, as is our routine, I turned on my tv for him and let him fall asleep to Paw Patrols. He LOVED it. The girls and I stayed up talking about life. We laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great girls night in. After they left, I was too tired to transfer my son to his bed so I just got in bed with him. I laid my head on the pillow, filled with joy and wondering why I had been reluctant to deviate from our usual bedtime routine. A few hours later, I woke up to my son crying that he was all wet. He had peed the bed. My bed. UGH.
My mind sprung into action. It started telling me all that I had done wrong. I was selfish for having friends over. I had deviated from the routine. I was a horrible mother. He peed the bed to punish me for not following the routine. Overwhelmed by the shame, I decided my redemption could wait until after I had my coffee. During which time, my husband came home from work. He asked me what happened to the bed. I confidently said, Oh, he peed in the bed. I’ll have it cleaned up in no time. I just wanted to get some coffee first. I do that a lot. I speak confidently and act cool, calm, and collected while my mind goes on the attack. This time my mind started saying, he must be mad at me. How could I have friends over while my husband worked last night. I’m so selfish. How could I let our son pee in our bed. Not only and I a horrible mother but I’m also a horrible wife. It went on like this for hours. Long after I had cleaned everything up, washed and dried the sheets, and restored the bed to it is normal condition. My mind continued to berated me on repeat. And I let it. UGH.
Negative self talk. It creeps up on me daily. I say things to myself that I would never let other people say to me. Things I would never say to other people. I believe them. It demolishes my self-worth. It makes me take things personal. Because, it makes me think everything is my fault. It makes me react negatively to everyday situations. I assume other people think them about me. How could they not? Afterall, they are true… right?
Except they aren’t true. There is a clinical term for negative thought patterns. They are called cognitive distortions. I have spent two years learning about them. Learning how to recognize them in others. Learning how to help others overcome them. Until I went to counseling, I didn’t realize I had them myself. I do. UGH.
I can’t control that my son peed the bed. He is 3 and potty training. It happens. However, I can control how I treat myself when unexpected things happen. I can apply what I have learned to help others to myself. I can give myself grace. I can give myself affirmations. I can tell myself I am a good mother. I am good wife. It is okay to have a girls night in once every three years. I can practice mindfulness. I can do Yoga. I can use essential oils which foster positivity and clarity of mind. I can tell myself I am loved by a God who created me and loves me no matter how imperfect I am. No matter how many times my son pees the bed. I can stop these thoughts when they come into my mind and ask God to help me flip my own script. I’ve been working on it. Unfortunately, I’ve been practicing negative self talk for 33 years, my negative thought patterns won’t change over night. It will take consistency. Consistently filling myself up with God’s love by praying and being in his word. Consistently affirming myself daily. Consistently practicing mindfulness and doing yoga. Consistently write this blog because writing helps me to put logic to my thoughts. Consistently go to counseling. It has to become routine. Second nature. Or else the negative self talk, these cognitive distortions, will continue to rule my mind and ruin my day. Just as my son thrives with our nighttime routine, I can thrive with the routine of speaking kindly to myself no matter the circumstances. Oh I almost forgot, I can and I did, put a tv in my son’s room. Hallelujah!
I know I’m not the only one. I’ve talked to other mothers, other women. We do this to ourselves a lot. For lots of different reasons. Let’s flip our script. Find things that fill you up with positivity and speak kindly to yourself.