There’s a park 2 minutes from my house where I take the boys most days. The usual swings, slides and benches to sit on. There’s bins for the rubbish, and slightly wonky goal posts for the football players. Picture the scene if you will.
The park’s been all but empty for the last 12 months. But the past two weeks, it’s been manic.
To the extent that B has to queue for the swings and watch his back on the slide. I’m gobsmacked! Where have all these people come from?
Today I was there, in the chilly Spring sunshine, O strapped to my chest and B tentatively holding up the fort. It’s the first time he’s been in such a crowd of people.
He was shy. Not that it worries me in the slightest. I was shy too.
He’s not seen a stranger for over a year and it’ll take him a while to adapt. I didn’t push him but instead, was there when he needed me. I hovered and let him decide what he wanted to do.
There were a couple of moments he buried his face into my legs. I caressed his head while doing so. Cuddles with him these days are getting rarer.
I was observing a couple of the people in the park for no reason other than there’s not much else to do (of course I was watching my child at the same time…)
There was a dad in a work uniform (fluro orange one) who was racing rapidly round the equipment shouting “come get me” away from an equally speedy child. A mum with an older boy who looked anxious as hell, watching her little one tip toe his way over the wobbly bridge.
There were moments where I felt so self conscious though. But as soon as I felt it, I asked myself WHY?
Why am I self conscious?
My mind started to get a bit twitchy as I affectionately call it. I turned it off quickly, doing my signature ‘flip that thought’ and put the focus back onto my gorgeous babies. And the feelings soon evaporated.
Many smiles, nods and eye glances, we made our merry way home.
But the question remains. Why was I feeling self conscious?
What was I thinking or self conscious of?
Who was I to even feel self conscious in such a place as a playpark? With my gorgeous boys? Which is built for kids, and mums, and dads…
I was fully entitled to be there, as much as everyone else was.
This is an example of many of the automatic things we do, most of us without realising.
Conditioning from our past. Protection mechanisms. We’re human! We all have them.
But what I did is a good example of self awareness and self control.
I noticed the feelings of being self conscious, questioned them, and then changed them.
I told myself to stop being silly and to enjoy my time with the boys without worrying what others think of me.
And that’s it!
Exactly like I do if anxiety ever creeps up on me.
Or feelings of low self worth or low self confidence.
I think it’s important to share this, because I know so many other mums feel exactly the same way. Feelings of self consciousness can take over your life if you let it.
But as I teach in my coaching practise, awareness comes first. Then it’s a choice if you continue the same way or you change it.
So next time if you’re at the park, feeling self conscious or worried, question it. And see whether it’s really needed, as most likely it’s some automatic patterns from the past which you can begin to change.
One step at a time. It’s always your choice mama. You’ve got this!
Hugs. Sophie x