Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
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A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire...


Mothering Myself

We mothers are fantastic at encouraging our children when they are struggling with their endeavors. We are dedicated purveyors of adages like "practice makes perfect." I believe my children can do anything (within reason), and I will repeat this as many times as needed until they believe it, too.

When my nine-year-old, Penny, came to me with an in-progress drawing, discouraged because she couldn’t get the shading right, I reminded that we get better with practice. I gave her advice on ways to improve technique, then she said, “I will never draw as good as you!” I explained the reason I draw well is because I have had thirty-three years to work on it and I’ve practiced a lot, adding that you can’t use others’ abilities as a determination for your own. There will always be someone who is better and worse at something than you.

Recently I overheard my daughter and her seven year old brother, Yukon, having a conversation while drawing on a whiteboard together. Yukon lamented, “I wish I was as good at drawing as you!” and with the authority of a sage, Penny replied, “You shouldn’t compare yourself to me, you can only compare yourself to yourself.” A smug smile crossed my face as I congratulated myself on doing a good job at this mom thing.

When it comes to my writing, however, there is no smugness. Instead, I struggle with the very thing I so easily advised my daughter on as she doubted herself. I have to wonder why it’s so hard to take my own advice. I fully believe in what I told Penny that day, yet can’t seem to apply those beliefs to my own undertakings.

As a writer beginning my career what feels like a decade later than my peers, I battle with negative self-talk and feelings of inadequacy. I cower before the same demons that I swiftly exorcised for my daughter. The mother and the writer: suddenly incompatible parts. How can I tell my children that they can succeed through perseverance, while giving into my own feelings of defeat when the going gets tough? The answer is I can’t. For myself, and for my children, I must walk the talk.

I give my children the grace to make mistakes, get frustrated, and even throw a tantrum, so I can allow that for myself as well. But when flailing ceases and tears have dried, that isn’t the end of trying. I don’t let my children give up, settling for less than their capabilities, so I also can’t let myself. I know my kids have many talents and can be great. Their efforts will be rewarded. Now I need to extend the honor of that mode of thinking to myself. I have been practicing these skills with my little ones for almost a decade, so it’s time to make perfect by mothering myself, too.

Join our After Page One series. We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects. Read more about submissions to the blog here.

Jasmine Williamson is a mother of two children, one dog, one cat, and one tortoise, living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is currently finishing her MA in English with a focus in creative writing at Northern Kentucky University, as well as embarking into the wonderful world of freelance writing. She has had a passion for the written word since childhood when she was always lost in a book or writing one of her own. Nowadays, when she’s not writing, she spends her time working out, thrifting for kitsch, traveling, or planning her next travels.

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