I’m worried. You say yes too often. You say no too much. You don’t do your pelvic floors. You should get up earlier. You should sleep more. You’re looking old. You’re behaving like a 28-year-old. You need snazzier clothes. You should sew. Why don’t you, darn it? Your hair needs a cut. You’re not trying hard enough. You’re trying too hard. You should grow more vegetables. And make your own kombucha. You need more yoga. You shout at your children too much. You’re too nice to strangers. You didn’t breastfeed for long enough. You had a cesarean. You don’t spend enough time with your children. You spend too much time reading to them. You should make your husband lasagna. You drink too much red wine. You eat too much chocolate. Your arms are getting flappy. You need new curtains. And why don’t you vacuum more? You need to plan more. You need to let go. You should write more letters. You need more variety. You need more simplicity. You roll your eyes too much. You need to find more peace. You need to smile more, in your mind. And meditate. And don’t be jealous. Ew. Be serene. Be more like Buddha. But like a slimmer version.
Your Inner Critic
Dear Inner Critic
I hear you, Monica. Can I call you Monica? You remind me of that character from FRIENDS, always anxious, controlling and bloody cleaning! Always wondering when I’ll miraculously turn into some well-coiffed person who knows exactly what kind of lamb shank to order.
Guess what? I’m not you. I don’t want to know exactly what I’ll be doing when I’m 64 and I like to imagine I’ll have pink hair and be doing headstands, you know, because of the more yoga.
I won’t be making lasagna because I don’t like lasagne. I won’t be making kombucha either. I know it’s good for me but so is sex and that’s hard enough to fit in.
I will never vacuum more. Fact. And the curtains are fine as they are because when I need to do some naked mom dancing—yes, Monica naked, wobbly and so bad it is genius—then I can close out the world. That’s all I need.
Don’t worry about my sleep. I get enough and when I don’t, I sleep in on Sundays and the kids watch cartoons and make their own Nutella toast and leave crumbs all over the couch.
The couch won’t die.
Nor will the children.
It’s true that I eat too much chocolate. I also hide chocolate from my family because I like to have some every night, after the wine, at the cup-of-tea stage and it really annoys me when they’ve gobbled it all. It makes me shout at them. I don’t want to shout at them so I hide the chocolate. Deal with it.
I hope I’m never a perfect parent because, ew, that’ll screw them up.
I’ll continue to make mistakes, even though you have way too much to say about it, because screwing stuff up is how I figure things out. Occasionally, I’ll blast right past midnight when I have too much to say to my amazing friends because the spontaneity and sheer baddassness of it makes me feel alive. Sometimes I stay up so late I have a dreadful hangover the next day but it’s OK, you know, because we have the sleep in, cartoons, Nutella on the couch routine.
I’m only 46 after all.
You’re right about one thing: I should do more pelvic floors. Look, I’ve just dropped 20 right now. Happy?
And yes, I should lose myself in meditation but every time I try it you come along with your endless shopping list of self-improvements and it makes me yell SHUT UP to you in my head and then I’ve gone and lost my calm moment. For now I’d prefer to be lost in Lord Of The Rings in my son’s small bed.
It’s true I need a haircut but I always need a haircut. I’ve needed a haircut since 1992. Straight and shiny suits your personality Monica but you’re not me. You’re my bossy inner voice and the only peace I need is some peace and quiet from you.
Can you see me waving my flappy arms at you to stop? Just stop talking. I know you’re trying to keep me from harm but you’re not my mother. I’m in charge. So, dear Monica, thank you for your input but please put down your clipboard, shut the fuck up, and trust me.
I’ve got this life of mine. And I think I’m rather rad.
PS. And on the writing more letters…well, check! Apparently the more I write to you the quieter you’ll get so I guess you’ve got your wish there. Peace. Smiley face. Kiss kiss.