"Are you doubting yourself again?"
This is what my boss said to me yesterday as I pow-wowed with my favorite co-worker of all time. I was working on a project. A large, complex and highly obnoxious project. Now, remember, I love my job. I do! I love waking up every morning because I get to work/play with people that I admire, respect and best of, like. My work family, they're the best.
But, "Are you doubting yourself again?"
It really got me thinking. At that moment, I wasn't doubting myself, I was just working through some details. So, yay me! But he was right, I doubt myself.
I doubt myself.
And inevitably, that doubt grows teeth and claws and morphs into a ravaging beast. Or, as it's better known, worry.
I worry that I'm a bad wife. I worry that I am too critical of my husband. Or that I'm not affectionate enough. Or that I exclude him or ignore him. I worry that I'm selfish and petty. I worry that I'm not beautiful enough.
I worry that I'm an awful friend. I'm pretty sure that I have a tendency to be a hermit. I worry that I don't contribute to my friendships. I worry that I'm a one-way street. I worry that I either say too much or too little. I worry that I don't reach out or that I don't see others reaching out to me.
I worry about being a lame-ass employee. I worry that I'm too sarcastic and mouthy. I worry that I don't do enough. Or that I do too much. I worry that I have a tendency to react, not act.
But most of all, I worry that I'm a terrible mom. Am I too strict or not strict enough? I worry that I'm mean-spirited and am teaching my girls to be mean-spirited. I worry that I'm completely inappropriate and rude. I worry that I put too much pressure on them or expect too much. I worry that my standards are too high. I worry that I model a horrible human being and am influencing them to be the same. I worry that I say too much or not enough. I'm sure I yell too much. I worry that I can't find the balance between smothering them and giving them their space.I think I need them too much and that I don't want them to have their secrets. I worry that I'm too nosy. I worry that I just suck.
I think, as women, we are naturally inclined to worry. We worry and we "mother" and we tend to those around us. Even if they don't want us to. Even if we aren't good at it. Is it because we are biologically and chemically wired to do so? Is it because that's the role that society tells us we have to play? Is it because our brains never shut up? NEVER. SHUT. UP. In trying to shut our brains up, do we fill our lives completely and stay busy, busy, busy?
I swore I would never be my mother. She's a great woman, don't get me wrong. But she is non-confrontational and I think that leads her to be taken advantage of. Before you get a mental picture, let me set the stage. My mom taught Kindergarten for 25 years. She was an amazing teacher. People placed their kids on lists to get into her class. Her students loved her and she loved her students. By the time she retired, she was teaching second and third generations of some of her original students. She is well known and well-loved by her peers, her students and her community. If I knew what was good for me, I would aspire to be like her. But I don't and I'll tell you why. She's under appreciated by the man who should cherish her as the most precious thing he could possibly get his hands on. But most horribly, she was under appreciated and not respected by someone who should have known better. Me. It's true, I didn't respect her. I thought she was ignorant and oblivious. I didn't ask for or graciously receive advice or direction from her. I separated myself from my family and shut them out of my life. I was a bitch. A rotten, selfish, nasty bitch.
So, I decided that wouldn't happen in my house. I was involved early on with the girls. I knew their friends. I spent time with them. A lot of time. As much as I could. I still do! I asked tough questions. Seriously, it isn't unheard of for me to ask things like, "So, are you having sex?" "Are you you doing drugs?" "Have you tried alcohol". Out of the blue and totally unexpected. I'm not afraid to ask the questions and have uncomfortable conversations. It's far more likely for the girls to be embarrassed by hard questions than me.
But in the midst of these teen years, I find myself constantly second guessing decisions and things I say. I worry that I'm saying too much of the wrong thing and not enough of the right thing.
I doubt myself.
What's the solution? Is there one? Am I alone? How do I be a better wife, mom, friend? A better person?