The simple question this mum asks herself on rough days

Kinderling News & Features

I don't normally like to go too deep. That requires brain power, plus I prefer to make people forget the hard stuff, have a laugh and provide an endless list of uses for peanut butter. I made a gallon of fresh PB this week by the way, which should keep the fam bam happy for a bit. 

The self-worth yo-yo

Anyhow, I promise I will keep this brief and I will be back to a whole lot of pointless twaddle quick sticks. I felt this week I needed to reaffirm to you gorgeous people the importance of worth and being good to yo-self. 

You, your friends or family may struggle with this sense of worth. You can feel it inside or you can see it in a face or hear it in a voice. As parents, and mums in particular, this sense of worth and value can be quickly stripped from you. We tend to internalise before we crack 10am?

  • Are the cupcakes I baked (or bought) good enough for the cake stall?
  • Are the kids eating well, sleeping, reading, playing, bathing, socialising, unplugged, plugged-in, smart, too smart ?
  • Can I deliver an important project at work?
  • Will I ever feel okay about my thighs?

The importance of self-regulation on Kinderling Conversation:

Add this to the external messages we receive from others:

"Mum you forgot to bake a croquembouche for the school fete."

"What do you mean you bought a ready-made lasagne from the David Jones food hall? Don't you make your own?"

"We are moving the deadline for that project up a month, you shouldn't have a problem with that, right?"

"Don't you just love making your own curtains? I find it so therapeutic."


That's just life right? 

These things will always be present. That's just life right? There is literally nothing we can do about it and leaving your kids is considered kinda wrong. 

We often gauge our worth by what we have achieved and there is nothing wrong with that. If you have reached a goal, then pop on those dancing shoes and go party my peeps until the worth Ouzos out of you. 

However (and you knew there was a however coming), it is the way you go about the business of being you that can provide an underestimated and untapped worth. 

I am not talking about the finesse of walking down the street with salon-fresh hair or the grace with which you carry the groceries from the car. It is a sense of worth in your words, acts of kindness, appreciation or gratitude and integrity. 

It is a ridiculously hard thing to do, particularly when you have had a shitty week or a run of events that leaves you scratching your head and clenching your fists in frustration. I remember getting to a point a few years back when I was allowing the inevitable crappiness of life and work affect how I would react or respond.

It does nothing but make you feel extra crappy and take you in unproductive directions (not to mention creates fine lines and scowl marks, and who needs more of that nonsense?). 

I decided I needed to ask myself a simple question to help centre me in times of stress or upset, I am a word person after all. It helps me with decision-making, confrontation or can just lift my mood. It instantly makes me feel better and restores a sense of worth and pushes aside self-doubt. For you it might be a piece of art, a photo or a song that works in the same way. 

'What would Audrey do?'

Audrey Hepburn is one of my ultimate icons. Her essence was one of purpose, love, style and uncomplicated elegance. Of course we only ever have our fantastical versions of our celebrity icons and we don't see their imperfections or meltdowns, which I am sure Audrey must have had, although I can't possibly imagine anything she couldn't cope with while working a pair of Givenchy ballet flats.  

Through her work with UNICEF and interaction with people, her beauty shone through. She seemed anchored in this philosophy of good that didn't stop her from being brave or having a go, failing, being annoyed with kids for leaving wet towels on the bed or just stuffing up. We are all human and I don't expect myself to be perfect and I expect it less of others. But when met with challenges I ask, 'What would Audrey do?'

It gives me pause to tap into the bigger picture of a situation and think for a minute, remembering to leave my ninja moves for those times in my life when I really do need to come out swinging. 

It has been remarkably helpful for someone like myself who can get a touch excited and revved up, although I do have to admit the only time it doesn't seem work is at the football when the Bombers are down by two points with three minutes left in the game.

Nothing Audrey ever said or did could help that situation, I am sorry. 

I know there are also times when you just want to tell someone where to go, so you could use this rather delightful phrase coined by the fabulous Miss Audrey in her role as Holly Golightly. 

“It should take you exactly four seconds to cross from here to that door. I’ll give you two.”

Or alternatively, and because sometimes nothing else will do, in the words of Dale Kerrigan, 

"Tell 'em to get stuffed."

This post originally appeared on Jaq's blog.