I've written before about the fact that I'm not good with failure. I mean, who's good with failure? No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, I'll have me a big ol' bucket of failure and a side of wedges today please. Even when you meet someone that claims to love failing, what they really mean is that they love challenge and experience and growth. I like those things too but preferably when I can get them from book, curled up in a hammock somewhere.
Mission Acceptance is not about learning to love myself it's about learning to live with myself. I want to be able to look myself in the eye and say, yeah you did wrong but you're still good. So last week's mission was to accept my mistakes - not the big, ugly, throbbing regrets (perhaps that will come later) just the day to day oopsies. I have an tendency to beat myself up over the smallest things; I consider myself to be a pretty non judgemental person but perhaps that's because I've used up all the judgeyness on myself? So the mission was to just sit with the mistakes I made; stay present in the moment and celebrate it a little. Reflect on the error and then let it go.
Day one started marvellously, I glided through the day and by lunch I was feeling rather positive about life. By dinner time I realised that my good mood was precipitated by the fact that I had made not one single mistake. Apparently I was perfect. Experiment over.
The cockiness ended at the great white shark that is toddler bedtime. Half an hour after bedtime I conceded that maybe I had made a mistake in not trying to settle him earlier. An hour after bedtime I decided that maybe I had made a mistake having a child at all. Two hours after bedtime I gave up. I turned off all the lights, put Roscoe in his cot and sat in a corner of the room waiting for him to give up. When his shouting stopped I thought for a millisecond I had won; then my senses became muddled and the terrifying thud seemed to reach my ears before I saw his silhouette slip past me.
Choking down panic I turned on the lights to see that Roscoe, so desperate to avoid the tedium of sleep, had swan dived from the safety of his cot. Livid red blood pooled in the corner of his mouth. Everything I'd learned at my parenting first aid course immediately flooded back to me, including the correct way to apply a plaster to a finger and the fact that the trainer had forgotten to bring any biscuits. Of course some cure all Calpol and a cuddle later Roscoe was fine and back to his adorably obnoxious self but my mind was absolutely not in the moment, it was spiralling. What if he'd hit his head?! What if he'd broken his arm?! This was not my mission, acceptance is not about blame. So as I fell asleep my boy breathing heavily beside me, wherever my mind tried to escape to I pulled it back to the fact that what had happened was what happened and nothing more.
I woke up feeling very zen indeed. For the following few days I sort of revelled in my mistake making. I woke up late, I didn't return emails and I let the laundry pile up. I wasn't just accepting mistakes I was queen of them. I had mistake making down. It was only as I wandering over to drop Roscoe at nursery (late) wearing some (classy) pyjama bottoms and a ratty beanie that I realised that these weren't mistakes, they were decisions. Mistakes are what happen when you are making your best effort; not making an effort was just one big mistake.
I saw that one of the best ways to avoid mistakes was to be open to them. My initial success came from the fact that it was the first time I had gone into a day with my eyes open and my heart willing for things to go wrong. So that night when I did my planning for the next day I also gave some thought to what mistakes might occur and how I might deal with them. In doing so I think I preempted a couple of things that could have tripped me up and this made my day smoother. Ultimately I said, look mistakes, I'm here! I'm ready for you. And everyone knows that a bully hates confrontation.
So I made some mistakes and I lived through them, and I'm excited to make a few more. My boy has moved into a big boy bed because perhaps I was making a mistake by holding him back. And if that's the case, I accept it.
Another mission over and another mission set tonight! Sign up here and find out the challenge for the week. And check out last week's mission!
My mission this week reminded me of this post I read on 'My Mummy Spam' recently - Let Babies be Babies. She urges us not to let our little ones grow up too fast, I think perhaps this week shows I was taking this too far...
Made any mistakes recently? I won't tell.