Friday, 15 April 2011


I like to be told that I am doing the right thing. The more anxious I feel, the more I seek the approval and reassurance of others. Was I right to go down to my mother's, leaving my husband to hold the fort and look after the children on his own during his holiday? Was I right to leave my mum in a hospital bed and come home? Am I right to be packing my walking gear and catching a train to the Peak District for a weekend away with my best friend? Whatever I do, I feel as if it is probably wrong and that I am not looking after my children, husband, mother, step-father orself as well as I should. One of my many prayers yesterday was that God's provision for me would include guidance and boundaries. It was clear to me that I needed to be with my step-father as he made the trip he had dreaded, into a nursing home. There were tasks to be done in my mum's house to leave it ready for her absence and it was important to spend time with her, comforting her, listening to her and reassuring her that her dearly-loved husband was safe. It also became clear that there was nothing more that I could do and it was ok for me to come home: in fact, I was exhausted and needed to. I am looking forward to being away, to the open spaces and freedom from admin and chores that come with walking and camping, and I am looking forward to grown-up time with my best friend, free from responsibility. I get cross that I seek so much reassurance and approval and think that I should make my decisions and stick by them. However, this just adds to the sense of not getting it right. Instead I made a choice yesterday that I would just notice this tendency and I would observe how it felt. I would not stop myself telling the lady from Social Services that I did not want to be the kind of daughter that people thought didn't visit enough; I would not stop myself telling my son's friend's mother that I feel guilty about leaving today; I would not even stop myself from telling my mother that I felt bad about leaving her. Of course, I am hoping in each of these situations that the other person will tell me that what I am doing is ok and that they do not think badly of me. I hope that in noticing but not getting frustrated or trying to force myself to change I will be being kind to myself and, in loving myself more, will gradually lose the need to get validation from other people.

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