Behold, the Underminer!

“Who’s on your list of best friends?” I asked Little Miss a few weeks ago. We were just joking around. It was all in good fun. She walked over to the entertainment cupboard, pulled out Super Mario Galaxy and showed me all of her best friends: lumas of vaious colors, Princess Peach, and Mario himself.

I wasn’t quite satisfied. “Who else? Anyone else on your list of best friends?” And as I awaited her answer, I heard the ridiculousness of the situation. And also the stupidity. 

List of best friends? Is that what I wanted to teach my daughter? To make lists of people she likes? And then what about the rest? They don’t matter? (Not that we don’t all have several of those lists in our lives . . . .)

But seriously. I sense some self-sabotage going on here. “We love everyone! We are kind to everyone!” I say because I want to raise kids who are kind and loving and accepting. And then I say, “Yeah, but what I really want to know is: who are your favorites? Am I one of them? (Please please please please?)”

It kind of reminds me of that time I took Squish to the doctor and he got some shots. Back at home I asked him to tell Micah how brave he had been. Tears ensued. Accompanied by the explanation: “But I wasn’t brave! I cried!”

He seemed unconvinced by our insistence that bravery and tears are not mutually exclusive. And upon further reflection, I could think of half a dozen reasons why he might think that. Starting with every time he falls and we exclaim, “Be brave! Don’t cry!”


I’m super careful not to talk bad about my body, I try to keep an open conversation about all kinds of important but uncomfortable topics, I make a sometimes Herculean effort to do good deeds. 

But now I have to wonder: in what ways have I/will I/do I undermine my carefully considered plans in unguarded moments? It’s a shame I won’t know until I hear myself begging my two-year old to tell tell me that I am as cool as  Mario and Princess Peach. 

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1 Comment

  1. Self-sabotage can be a regular ol’ struggle for me. I have goals. I know who I want to be. And yet. And yet I regularly fall fantastically short of those aspirations. I don’t really know what I want to say here, other than undermining/self-sabotaging will happen. Recognize it. Call it by name. Make a plan for how to do better. And move on. In time (at least I’m sure hoping in time) we’ll improve. Less undermining. We’ll better live up to who we want to be. It’s like that Ira Glass quote on being an artist. Horrendously paraphrasing here, but you have to get through the crap to get to the good stuff. Get through the crap, keep working, and eventually you’ll be who you want to be.

    Love the post. Clearly I have had something that I needed to say to myself, and I’m happy to share it here with you.


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