Maria Rushe reminds mums that, before you make any New Year's resolutions, you're perfectly fine as you are.
Before the onslaught of New Year, New You Bullshit starts, let me remind you of a few things…
Yes, January 1st is an obviously good starting point for new beginnings and new intentions.
Just like everything ‘starts on Monday’, at this time of year, we are all so good at using ‘I’ll start in the New Year’ as our mantra.
New project? I’ll start in January…
New intention? I’ll start in January…
Giving up something? Wait until January…
Starting something? Wait until January…
New routine? I’ll start in January…
Want to change something? Wait until January… Good intentions eh?
NEED to change something? Wait until January? And suddenly, what SEEMS like a good intention is ACTUALLY just procrastination. And we’re all good at that.
Of course the New Year is a great time for motivation and change and new everything. However, if you are changing something because someone or something is making you feel like you’re not good enough, stop and think.
As Mums, we take the New Year as a starting point for change. We hope to change routine. We plan to stop shouting. We hope to be more organised. Those things are fine. It’s not your parenting resolutions I’m talking about.
Over the next few days, our news feeds will be full of adverts which seem to be encouraging and motivating you.
You’ll see all sorts of quick fixes and miracle makers; everything from programmes and apps to help to start or stop a habit, to magic pills and shakes which will transform you into a Victoria Secret’s model faster than you can take a poo… (which is precisely what you’ll be doing if you take any of that crap.)
What we need to remember is that EACH and EVERY one of these adverts has been targeted at us. They’re not popping up on our screens by accident. They’re targeted by the companies; our age, interests, demographic, location, previous searches… it’s all algorithm and it’s simple and clever marketing.
Most of the ads are genuine companies who know their target markets and how to target them effectively at the right time, in the right way.
There’s no conspiracy in that.
Where we have a problem is when the companies are telling you, usually indirectly, sometimes bluntly, that YOU are not good enough AS YOU ARE.
They tell you you NEED to look a certain way. You NEED your teeth whitened. You NEED to lose weight. You NEED to calm down. You NEED to change your mindset. You NEED to spend less time or more time on whatever… You NEED to eat this way. You NEED to take this… You NEED to take that.
They tell you that your life is incomplete. They tell you that your life is mediocre.
They tell you that your life could be soooooo much better.
They go so far as to show you “Real people”, their case studies, their Before and Afters. They put only the Glossy, filtered, Instaperfect images of their customers/clients on their websites. They tell you that YOU TOO could have this life…that it is SOOOO easy. They smugly imply that it really is a breeze, that if you join their gang/cult/whatever that you will also have shiny, filtered, smiling instafeed in as little as 10 days.
By showing you these glossy smiling examples, they are indirectly telling your that YOUR life is actually pretty shitty in comparison.
They are hitting you during the Post Christmas bloat, the gray Pre-January blur when family members have left and the tree is molting in the corner and we’re all feeling a bit meh. They are telling you that you are not enough.
They are wrong.
You are perfect, just as you are.
You are beautiful, just as you are.
You are strong.
You are a wonderful Mum.
You can face anything.
You are loved.
Your life is YOUR life and it should not be measured by anyone else’s prepackaged and filtered measuring tape.
Sure, we all have things we aspire to, resolutions an intentions. If you want to change something, do it. If you want to get healthier, do it. If you want to lose weight, go for it. If you want to make a drastic change to your routine, go for it.
But ONLY do it FOR YOU.
Not because some advert on your news feed tells you you are not enough.
Do it for YOURSELF. AND if anyone of the smug, shiny, “Look at how perfect my life is” brigade tells you they can “Make you the BEST version of YOU,” tell them to feck off.
You’re doing a great job of being YOU, all by yourself.
You don’t need to buy a lifestyle from anyone. You don’t need to change how you do things in your home. You don’t need a NEW YOU. You just need to realise that you’re already as YOU as you can be.
And remember that to YOUR children, you are already THEIR perfect Mammy.