Guest post: Proud to be you

I am insanely excited to share with you the voice of my blogosphere friend Deborah Bryan. Deb and I e-met through a mutual friend a few years ago, and ever since I have felt a deep connection to her that belies the fact we’ve met in person only once before. 

Peeper and Littler J were much more interested in each other than Prince Puckler's ice cream!
Peeper and Littler J were much more interested in each other than Prince Puckler’s ice cream!

If you don’t already follow her, do yourself a solid and zip over to The Monster in Your Closet stat. Well, right after reading this.

Today you’re wearing a dress with a broken zipper.

That’s just like you.

Wait, that didn’t sound as nice as I meant it.

Let me start over.

Today you wore a lovely dress you haven’t been able to wear for a few months. You were delighted to see how pretty you look in it, but not so delighted when the zipper in back burst all the way to your waist while you leaned over to put on your toddler’s shoes two hours later.

“+%÷@#!” you thought, before deciding—a split second later—that the best immediate solution was to be thankful for your long sweater. You’ve used binder clips to deal with cleavage issues, but they’re harder to use for back wardrobe mishaps without a girlfriend close at hand. There were other options, of course, but this was the one you quickly determined best in light of the circumstances.

Thank goodness for long sweaters! Courtesy yours, you made it to work on time and looking fine.

Do you see the compliment yet? No?

Okay, I’m getting there!

By the time your dress busted at 7:15 a.m., you’d already—among other things—telecommuted for an hour, gotten ready for work, fed your boys, clothed the youngest one, gotten gasoline, actually commuted for an hour, and gotten your youngest into his classroom. Within each of those acts were numerous choices, which you navigated well and quickly within constraints.

Proud to be you Deborah Bryan pirate Halloween mom

Mom the decider

You do this hundreds of times daily: making choices not only for yourself but for your family, over and over, day in and day out, deciding not only what must happen but also when and how.

You have learned, from motherhood, how to prioritize like a boss.

Of course, “skiller-prioritizer-and-get-crap-doner” is not what you’ve seen when you looked at yourself.

You’ve seen the choices you could have made better. You’ve heard the gentle and not-so-gentle judgments about how and where you should divert your efforts. You’ve fretted about how you could do more. Better. Faster.

Thankfully, your health got a little scary.

(Sounds weird, right? Stay with me here!)

Prioritizing yourself

When your health got scary, you had to stop and really listen, not to the external noise, nor the judgments, nor others’ expectations, but to yourself. You had to listen for the quiet whispers within yourself and, beyond listening, actually hear them… and respond well to appease them.

When you listened—which you did, naturally, because you are wicked determined once you realize something must be done—you heard so much:

  •  I am so tired.
  •  I can’t keep up.
  •  Why can’t I make them understand why I can’t do more?
  •  How can I cultivate hope if I can barely make it through each day?

You faced a choice: pretend you didn’t hear and drown out those whispers as you had been, or make a change.

You chose change. You chose healing.

Choosing yourself

You opted to begin taking stock of your strengths and working to build deserved rest into your days. You quickly learned that showing yourself five minutes of kindness daily improved your outlook enormously.

You learned to feel the profound difference between telling yourself, “Stupid Deborah, why did you do that?” and laughing while thinking, “Oh, my, thanks to my smarts, I have already learned from that mistake!”

From the quiet of listening, you learned to see not what you couldn’t get done but everything you accomplish. Daily.

Overwhelmed and sobbing while driving one day, you thought how suffocating it can feel to bear the physical, psychological, and financial burdens of supporting a family.

In the stillness after thinking that, you heard from your depths a quiet, new whisper:

What amazing choices you have made, to go from poverty to being able to support a family!

What amazing choices you are making now, to lessen your burdens and support yourself!

The thoughts themselves lifted a burden.

You saw you were learning compassion—and love—for yourself, and it was weightless.

You saw, truly, how much you carry from today as well as from sad yesterdays. You saw how almost anyone would stumble under such weight and looked upon yourself with as much kindness as you’d show a(ny other) friend.

Believing in yourself

So today, when your zipper broke, it didn’t seem like a big deal. You saw the different options, and you trusted yourself to quickly make the right one given all constraints.

You trusted yourself, and it was weightless.

You laughed as you strode toward your car.

If that’s the hardest choice you have to make today, it’s a good day!

And if it’s not the hardest? Well, then you will do your best with what you have, standing tall all the while.

Your zipper may be broken, but, man. You are not.

You prioritize and decide like a mom, and I am so proud to be you.

Deborah Bryan opens her heart with inspiring, honest, in-your-face reflections at her blog The Monster in Your Closet. She writes about mothering her two littles, wrangling demons from the past and navigating the always-ongoing project of loving yourself. 

17 thoughts on “Guest post: Proud to be you

  • June 6, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Great message to turn around and think positively – it really is insane how there is so much responsibility/blame put on mom (not just parents – MOMS…) by everyone, and how moms do it to each other and themselves. I’m not sure how why it seems to have gotten so bad, but everyone needs to put themselves into the mindframe to appreciate and be proud instead of guilty!

    • June 19, 2016 at 5:37 am

      Thank you! The internet has brought us many great things, but it’s also brought us awareness that people are constantly watching us and assessing what we’re doing. There are blinking reminders everywhere around us to buy this, do that, become better this way. I think it’s difficult to notice each individual message assaulting our senses by the moment, but their cumulative impact is terrible, so that it’s important to work against it and build support and quiet for ourselves within ourselves.

  • June 6, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    A beautiful reframe.
    Self care is one of the things that too many of us talk without getting our feet anywhere near that walk.
    Yay for Deborah. And the positive choices which shine for us to follow.

    • June 7, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      I completely agree. Deb’s post is a reminder to us all that self-care, and self-love, is crucial!

    • June 19, 2016 at 5:40 am

      It’s pretty remarkable to witness the difference over the first couple of weeks, to see how the tired didn’t melt away but softened. I feel the little bits of progress most day, although it’s slowed the last couple of weeks with my consuming coffee again. (About to taper off again, because, wow, life feels slower and calmer without it!)

  • June 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Happy to see one of my favorite closet monsters with a tremendous smile that comes from living a happy and full life and giving your energy to being in-tune with what really matters. It’s inspiring to see mothers support one another! <3 Ka

    • June 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Thank you, Ka! Unfortunately, mothers endure a lot of judgment, so I’m always happy to show how we support and love each other, too.

    • June 19, 2016 at 5:43 am

      Catherine’s support is remarkable and powerful. I’ve often read her blog and felt a weight lifted off my shoulders, which strikes me as apt in light of how we “met” via a mutual friend sharing one of her posts on breastfeeding. I am so, so glad that friend shared this link. My life and heart are markedly better for it.

  • June 7, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    What a great post. Even though I am not a mom, this has a lot of excellent reminders to not be so hard on myself and be better at prioritizing. Thanks for guest blogging here, Deb!

    • June 7, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      So much of this post is a fine example for everyone, not just moms. We could all be a little kinder to ourselves.

    • June 19, 2016 at 5:46 am

      YES! The more I listen to folks around me, the more I think everyone will benefit by showing themselves a little more love. With all the assault of messages inside and outside our homes about how we can and should do betterbetterbettermore, it’s important to create safe places within ourselves to counter all that noise.

  • June 9, 2016 at 2:47 am

    What a gentle and wonderful reminder of what is possible if we simply speak kindly to ourselves.

    • June 9, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Self-kindness is so simple yet so hard!

    • June 19, 2016 at 5:49 am

      I can’t even begin to express how much of a difference this has made! It’s only been a couple of months, and it’s like … I get to be the constant eye of the storm, for myself, in this world of constant bustle and noise.

      I really couldn’t have anticipated how profound would be the impact of this one change. I thought I’d see some little bit of positive change, but … it’s been huge. I wish this for everyone.


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