The internet is awash with life mantras. And they are much more sophisticated than the Just Do It days. My Instagram thread is constantly full of inspirational quotes about having passion, never settling, doing work that works. I think I’m guilty of churning out a few myself. But the more I log on for my daily (hourly) fix, while the husband peers over my shoulder and questions why I’m watching videos of a shirtless Harry Judd (I follow his wife naturally), the more this stream of empowering messages has started to bother me.
It seems that if I’m not jumping out of bed, fist pumping the air and embracing the day ahead I’m letting myself down. I’m not meeting my true potential. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for inspiring women and mums. The recent Oprah speech made me do a silent whoop. But what if I’d like a day of just being ordinary? Taking in a bit of soft play action with the toddler, watching Holly and Phil, having an early night with a hot water bottle. An eggs and soldiers kind of day. What if I want a whole week like that? Or a lifetime?
A voice in my ear, namely social media, is telling me though that I should be out running, surfing, freelancing, practicing yoga and mindfulness, downloading the latest app, attending a returning-to-work course. I should be reaching for the stars, following my dreams. Artistically positioned cups of coffee by state-of-the-art laptops stare back at me, proving we can be a mum and have it all.
Maybe though it’s not the fact that I find the words patronising neccesarily, rather I don’t know if I truly believe them.
This girl can.
Can I really?
It’s predominantly a female thing. To doubt oneself. To be always looking for fault. Too fat, too lazy, too stupid. At home we’re worried we’re too shouty, that we lack patience with our kids, that we should be doing more. At work we worry we’re winging it, that we’ll surely get found out. Just this week a recruiter told me I should sell myself more, another that I come across a bit nervous. I try, but it doesn’t come naturally. I’m programmed to be awkward when trying to big myself up.
But seeing the positive and aiming high can never be a bad thing, so I’ll keep on scouring the endless possibilities. Tuning in for a gentle kick up the bottom. Maybe though they should come with a caveat. Follow the sun…but p.s don’t worry if you’re having one of those days where you just want to crawl back under the duvet. There’s always tomorrow. Yes it’s important to strive for a better version of yourself, to recognise the opportunities out there. But it’s still okay to just be sometimes.
Isn’t that what mindfulness is all about in any case?