Don’t Be Decoy Mom


Colourful jars sit atop a shelf in a misty and humid room. Running water slides down her skin as she lathers up with the latest in moisturizing body wash which promises to make her skin glow with youth. She washes her hair with shampoo and conditioner to make it thick, silky, and soft.

As she exits the shower, the drying process begins – softly – so as not to leave any red marks or heaven forbid, pull skin in the wrong direction. Pat the face dry then move down to her toes. She folds the towel in thirds and places it neatly back on the rod before she wraps her hair in a smaller towel.

Grabbing a toothbrush, she measures out the whitening toothpaste and gets to work. Rinses, then gargles with mouthwash to ensure bad breath stays at bay. Then, moisturizer. While that soaks in, she puts on her undergarments. A bra with an underwire and underwear that promises to hold in the stomach which has nurtured the lives of her children close for the past few years. She frowns. Back to the bathroom.

She reaches for the first layer of glow, then dots on concealer. Waits for it to dry before applying an overall foundation and gently blending it together to hide the exhaustion and stress marching across her face. Next up, eye liner and eye shadow. They make the eyes more open and energetic. Mascara goes on next, gently, the kind that lengthens the lashes because again, more awake and conscious. Less tired.

Then she puts on blush to cheer her cheeks up, smiling as she carefully brushes up, not down – happy, not sad, she whispers to herself.

She takes down her hair and gives it a tousle. Plugs in the hair dryer and gives her hair a once over, then pulls it into a messy bun. Walks into the closet and chooses whatever isn’t wrinkled or covered in baby food stains. Grabs a pretty pair of heels then over to the jewelry box to select accessories.

A small hand tugs on her skirt and she looks down.

“Mama? You look beee-yooo-tea-fah. Hug?” her middle daughter asks, covered in chocolate from whatever snack she just finished devouring.

So the mother leans down and gives the child a hug, knowing she will have to change her clothes. She sends her daughter on her way, and walks back into the closet, stripping as she goes. A new outfit selected, she makes it to the car with no child-induced stains on her pretty clothes.

She turns the key, unlocks the door, and slides into the driver’s seat, throwing her miniature purse on the passenger seat beside her. Exhaling, she checks her makeup one last time to be sure she looks human and not like some exhausted creature just waking up from hibernation. She doesn’t. She turns the key, starts the music, and backs out of the driveway.

Transformation into Decoy Mom complete.

Decoy Mom is a mom who goes through great lengths to hide how her life is really going – every stitch must be perfect, every thing in it’s place, nothing negative to be found anywhere. And yet, inside, everything is falling apart. Her heart, her life, her soul – it’s all cracked and crumbling.

I’m not saying that a Mom who has it all pulled together is definitively falling apart. Nor am I saying that a Mom who doesn’t have it all pulled together is well. What I am saying is that we are all “covers” when we are with people and some of us are even “covers” when we are alone. We choose what pieces of ourselves to share and what pieces of ourselves to hide. We are not expected to fully share ourselves with anyone unless WE choose to do so, either. But we should absolutely be at least fully sharing ourselves with ourselves. In order to be authentic with anyone at all, you have to first be authentic with yourself.

Stop hiding behind a mask, telling yourself lies about who or what you are inside and outside. Take a hard look inside. Explore. Make a list of everything that is there whether it is good or bad. Work to improve or reframe the bad (sometimes, negative traits can be utilized for positive things – are you firm & harsh? Figure out how to rein that in by using compassion and understanding). Expand the good.

Figure out what you want out of life this year, make a list, then break it down into smaller goals. Don’t let the big things overwhelm you and don’t let yourself become Decoy Mom. Be the authentic Mom, wife, sister, cousin, aunt, and YOU that you were meant to be. Stop hiding her under layers of crap. You might find that you have more time to BE you if you give up all the hiding.

 

 

Special #PPDChat Topic 5.24.13: “Spring Into You – Seizing the Power of Positive Self Talk”


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Join me tomorrow as Josh Becker from i simply am chats with us about the power of self-talk and being authentic in using your voice in reference to yourself. Go here to read his fabulous guest post.

We’ll also be touching on this piece, “Selfish vs. Selfless: Conflicting Views of Motherhood and the Role of Self-Care—New Qualitative Data Emerges” from the fabulous Walker Karraa in reference to self-care for ourselves as mothers (and parents). It is beyond important as caregivers to the tiny humans (as Arizona on Grey’s calls them), to take care of ourselves. As I always say, self-care is not selfish, it is self-less as it allows us to fill our reservoirs so we are able to give more. If we are empty, we are unable to give to those around us.

Tomorrow’s chat is going to be a wonderful lift of spirit, energy, and will start your weekend off right!

So mark it on your calendar and pop in over on Twitter. We’ll be using the #ppdchat hashtag. See you at 3:00 p.m. EDT!

Special #PPDChat Announcement & Guest Post: “How Are You Expressing Your Authentic Self?”


During my time on Twitter, I have had the privilege to “meet” some absolutely amazing people. One of these amazing people is Josh Becker of i simply am. Josh’s spirit and his outlook on life is breathtaking. We graduated from knowing each other on Twitter to being friends on Facebook. Josh is one of those people every single one of us should have in our lives, a soul filled with light, gratitude, and ready to lift you up even when you don’t know you need it. His words have a way of speaking truth about whatever I’m going through right when I need to read them. He’s grown so much over the past years and I am beyond grateful to see him do so. I’m even more thrilled to be sharing him with you this coming Friday afternoon at 3:00pm ET for a special #PPDChat. Josh and I will be discussing the importance of self-talk, about being your authentic self as you journey toward healing and life. I sincerely hope you will be able to join us because I guarantee this is a conversation you WON’T want to miss. Go follow him over @isimplyam and say hi!
Below is a guest post from Josh, an intro, if you will, to the discussion we’ll be having on Friday afternoon. Read, comment, and share. And mark your calendar for 3:00pm ET Friday to dive into a live conversation!

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This is one of my favorite quotes and for good reason. The way we think and speak about ourselves has the single greatest impact over the way we see ourselves and the world around us. Yet from a very young age we’re taught that what others think and feel about us is what really counts. As toddlers we were (very lovingly I might add) given praise from our caregivers for the things we performed well. On the flip side, when we didn’t perform as expected, we heard about that too. There was one question we never heard enough of…
“How do you think/feel you did?”
We were never given the permission to explore our own thoughts and feelings about life. We were usually told that something was good, bad, silly, stupid, smart, dumb, pretty, or ugly without any concern about what it meant to us. It didn’t take long from that impressionable age to know that to feel whole, loved, valuable, worthy, and important we had to go searching for it. Obviously these weren’t qualities we could identify and affirm in ourselves (so we believed). Our caregivers, and those closest to us, showed us these are qualities that you obtain after, and only after, you accomplish something. Even worse than having to “work” for your qualities, they would be judged first by them.
The problem with this model is that these qualities, and many others, are Inherent. That means that you were born with them. You didn’t have to do anything to get these qualities nor could you do anything to have them go away. They were there and have been there your entire life. As we’ve seen though, this isn’t exactly what we were taught from a young age. We wound up mirroring what we learned from our caregivers. If we heard we were dumb, ugly, fat, slow, weak, unimportant, unworthy, or not enough in any way then that is what we knew. Even worse than knowing this, we came to believe it as truth.
Our entire value system was taken from us and placed “out there”. That meant that we were drawn to those that affirmed us and turned off by those that didn’t. So much so that it was literally of no consequence how we valued ourselves. Esteeming ourselves came 100% from the outside world.
It’s one thing to have someone shame  you (any comment or action that makes you think you are “less than”) but we’ve been doing it to ourselves. I’ll give you some examples of ways you might be shaming yourself today and not even realize it…
“Let me get my fat ass off this chair.”
“Oh, I’m so stupid!”
“I’m not good enough to do that.”
“I’m ugly and no one will ever accept me as I am.”
“I’m not important.”
“I don’t matter.”
“I’m not vulnerable.”
“She’s better than me.”
The way we think and feel about ourselves has everything to do with how we treat ourselves (our bodies, our thoughts, our feelings, our minds, and our spirit) and everyone else. Yet, when is the last time you corrected yourself for saying any of the above? In fact, often times you’ll stand up for yourself if someone else calls you stupid but then turn around and joke about how dumb you are after making a mistake.
If our goal in life is to become the fullest expression of who we are then we must change our starting place. Your starting place can’t be, “I’m dumb but sometimes I do smart things” or “I’m so ugly but once in awhile I can clean up nicely” or “I’m worthless so I’m going to take what I can get.” Making this your starting place forces you to express that which you think you are. If you really and truly think you’re dumb, ugly, not good enough, slow, weak, and unimportant then these are the exact qualities you’ll wind up expressing to the world.
The difference between who we truly are and who we think we are is that the latter is what’s always expressed.
I hope by now you see that you are not truly what other people think about you. You’re not truly even what YOU think about you. You are your inherent qualities that you were born with and you’ll always be those things. The question isn’t “Who Am I?”. We already know who you are. The question is, “How can I fully express my Authentic Self?” This begins with your self-love and that is expressed through your self-talk. As the Upanishads so beautifully pointed out, it starts with your thoughts but manifests in your destiny.
You are Beautiful, Intelligent, Creative, Compassionate, Important, Precious, Strong, and Thoughtful. Guess what? There’s literally nothing you can do to change that! So stop trying, stop listening to others, and start reminding yourself what is true and express that truth. It’s in that expression that your dreams, your hopes, and your Authentic Life lives!
What “I am” statement can you affirm right now? Even if it hurts to type it, let me know in the comments what the Authentic You looks like!
With Gratitude and Appreciation,
Josh
Josh_800_600Josh Becker is an author, speaker and mentor dedicated to helping you take off those glasses of false belief in exchange for your glasses of inherent nature. Josh is bridging the gap between the needed healing of our past and the tools necessary to live authentically now and in the future. You can find him at www.isimply.am, on Twitter, and on Facebook.