Just the other day, I blogged about my new mantra of making changes in my life to become a happier person. The first three were simple: (1) no longer be Internet buddies with dysfunctional people; (2) do things I enjoy from now on; and, (3) do not let others put me down anymore when it comes to my personal character. Hopefully the three continue to be simple as time goes on.
Another change I want to make now is not as simple, though. It’s in remedying some things about me that annoy even me. It isn’t that I think I’m a bad person or anything, or that I need to make vague resolutions (like “go to the gym more”), it’s that I think I have let a couple things go a little too far.
So here I am, in all my glory. Now when I say that there are things about me that annoy even me, I don’t mean that I have big pores or want a new nose or anything (although I believe my nose would look nice if it were a bit different), I mean that I want to start off with my physical appearance because what annoys me about it is that I worry about it way too much.
Perhaps it is a direct result of my physical location again – California culture is terribly superficial. We are constantly judging others for the way they look, the way they dress, and the way they act. You can’t even go to dive bars in Los Angeles without it being a fashion show, and (quite frankly) I’ve let it go too far as it comes to myself.
It takes me roughly an hour and a half minimum to get ready every day. Even when we have nowhere to go, I go all out on the make up, the hair, and the dress code. Every day is an event. This may also have to do with the fact that I have little else to do with my time, or that I truly am a 1950s housewife – but regardless, I have let it go too far. I annoy myself over how much I worry about the way I look. This isn’t to say that I’m going to let myself go and wear sweatpants with food stains all over them all the time, but I think it’s time to be happy with who I am and the way that I look and stop worrying about the superficial judgments of the culture in which I live.
Remember the post I did last month that got Freshly Pressed about all “those people” that I have become? One of them was a germaphobe, which many people sympathized with. I realized that I had become a worrier of all-things-germs because I purchased a bottle of hand soap to put in my carryon bag “just in case” we were on vacation and found no soap in the public restrooms.
Well the hand soap I believe was justified. The train station we started out at proved the hand soap a necessity – literally one hour after our trip had begun. And I do believe that in a time when a lot of people have stopped giving their children proper vaccinations, as well as when a host of new diseases like the swine flu and mutated antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis have surfaced, a certain level of germaphobia is okay. But there is a point that has gone too far, and I believe I have reached that.
One thing that I think proved this to me was when we were on vacation in Chicago and I realized that not every state in the Union has local ordinances requiring toilet seat coverage in bathrooms. You know those things that are shaped like a toilet and (in theory) provide you a nice, clean place to sit while you do your business (although in reality usually make more of a mess and hassle than are worth). Those toilet seat covers are not actually required by law in most places – something that horrified me the minute we got into the city of Chicago and I was confronted with no seat covers and only four squares of paper in the entire bathroom.
I think that something like germaphobia has gone too far when you aren’t able to deal with a precarious situation such as in the case of the toilet seat covers. It annoys me how long it took me to get over that. It further annoys me to see how much I am wiping things down, requiring excessive hand washing of everyone in the house, and spraying everything in sight with Lysol. Again, this doesn’t mean that from now on we’re going to live in a filthy sty meant for pigs and people in incestuous relationships; it just means I need to find a balance between healthy cleanliness and obsessive-compulsive fear.
I think the thing that annoys me the most about myself is just how motherly I’ve become. This is likely a result of the fact that my entire life now is defined by my ability to parent and homeschool, but regardless I think I have gone too far in trying to pamper and overprotect.
Every mother likes to make things special for their kids. This morning, I made pancakes and decided that I was going to make the extra effort to make those quintessential Minnie Mouse pancakes, despite the fact that making regular pancakes is usually a challenge for me that ends in disaster (it’s the flipping that always foils my efforts). So the Minnie Mouse pancakes came out quite nicely but upon placing them on the table, I got an “oh, man … I was hoping we were having eggs.” Seriously? Where is the “thanks mom!” Where is the eating what’s placed in front of you? I realized in this that while we do encourage a great deal of independence in some areas, in others I am mothering in such a way that is creating indigence and un-appreciation. I can also recognize some areas where it is bordering on helicoptering, which you faithful blog followers know I am adamantly opposed to.
I suppose that all of this boils down to how much I worry. Maybe that is what it is – I’ve always been a worrier. My parents thought I had an ulcer when I was only eight (no jokes). Sometimes I think I don’t worry enough about things, when in reality I worry so much about so many things I have absolutely no control over. People will judge the way I look no matter what because I live in California and that’s just what we do. No matter how much we wash hands, wipe cart handles, and avoid certain things, we’ll still get sick sometimes. And doing the best I can do as a mother will be appreciated in the end, whether I’m running myself ragged to do everything or keeping things in perspective and letting some of the small stuff go. There are definitely more things about me that annoy me, but I think these are a good start.