The Story Of Not Saying "I'm Sorry"
Whew. It's February.
I haven't written since December.
Actually - you know what? I'm not.
I have those days where I feel like I've hit my motherhood stride - where I believe I've mastered the art of feeding/cleaning/entertaining/keeping alive a tiny human. Days where both Little Magician, myself, the house, and my daily duties are thriving and clicking along magnificently. Days where I feel I can say with some confidence "I've got this!"
Then, I have the other days. Days that just...aren't so good. Days that make me wonder if the parenting gods are smiting me for the hubris I mistakenly called confidence.
January was a mixed bag, but the bad days were bad enough to keep me feeling utterly exhausted (that week with the flu didn't help either). I quickly realized that in efforts to maintain some sanity and a sense of peace throughout these ups and downs, I've got to break one bad habit:
I have to stop apologizing so damn much.
I think over-apologizing was always a bad habit of mine, but becoming a new mom made it exponentially worse. Not being able to accomplish everything on my to-do list - whether it's cooking, cleaning, sending an email, meeting a deadline, responding to a text or returning a phone call - creates a reaction whereby "I'm sorry" leaps from my mouth more regularly than I'd like.
It started feeling like every time I said "I'm sorry" for something that I knew deep down I didn't really have to apologize for, it was like picking up a full garbage bag and hoisting it onto my back. By the end of the day, I'd be carrying an exorbitant amount of extra weight that did nothing except remind me of my daily failures and break my back. I literally can't do it anymore, so I'm stopping. Cold turkey.
Motherhood is making me unpack a lot of the things that make me me - the over-apologizing which is related to the people-pleasing, the control freakishness which is related to the resistance to change - and I'm realizing that a lot of these things do nothing but weigh me down and clutter my life. Starting with excommunicating myself from the land of incessant apology, I'm hoping to realign my sense of responsibility and expectation to a more positive frame.
My "I'm sorrys" will be reserved for those instances where I truly drop the ball. Where I truly let someone down. Where I truly make a mistake. My "I'm sorrys" will no longer be applied to situations where I use it as a politically correct conversational filler. Where I say it because I failed at meeting some self-constructed, obscenely high mark. Where I feel I have to over-explain why something did/didn't happen. And most importantly, my "I'm sorrys" will no longer be an auto-response for people who feel I didn't meet their expectations. The saying "What people think of you is none of your business" has started to make more sense to me as of late, and I've been doing a much better job of exercising the Agreement that says "Don't take anything personally." There's a difference between apologizing because you hurt someone and apologizing because you didn't live up to the story someone created about you.
I take comfort in the fact that the people who know me, know me. They know I care. They know I try. They know I do as much as I can. They know I'm learning how to be me while standing in the eye of a storm of change. They know that I don't have to continuously apologize for my stumbles, my growth, my self - and now, I know it too.