For some reason whenever I try to respond to a message in my CZ inbox, it says the recipient is not accepting messages -- this has been going on for a while. So I did receive your message but could not reply.
Any time I fall into the trap of comparing my insides to other peoples' outsides, I go nuts. Because I am really being fearful and assuming that they have no problems, difficulties, fears -- which is actually very selfish of me, too. Self-centered fear is a horrible place to be and certainly does not help my children to become secure and stable little people --
I think the way out of feelings of low self-esteem is really to perform estimable acts. You can't think your way into feeling OK -- you can only act your way into it. That's why the balance is important to me -- if I'm trying to do too many things at once, I feel frazzled and unfocussed, but when I can lighten up a little bit and just do what's next, not worry about what's not getting done, and make sure to spend some time that's completely pleasurable with the girls -- then I feel OK.
I am really looking forward to the girls' starting preschool this fall. I think it will be great for them to see other children receiving direction from adults, and for them to receive that direction, too. A pitfall of being a fairly isolated stay-at-home-mother is that they of course do not learn enough from other kids and adults. I enrolled them in a sweet little preschool at a local church where a lot of people have had a good experience -- I only wish I had done it earlier. Of course I have fears about this, the other parents there, the school staff -- I find it very difficult to get up and out the door in the morning and am often confused as to how people do it so effortlessly and look so good -- but my experience is that people are in general pretty nice, and that as long as we get there, we'll be OK!
I don't know what I would do without some close women friends who can listen to my "stuff" and steer me into a reasonable place and out of my fears sometimes! I do have a great friend who reminds me that it's perfectly fine to be in the middle of the pack rather than out in front, and that OK is also fine -- my first instinct is to give up on something entirely if I can't do it perfectly at once. The greatest thing for me to remember about parenting, and just about anything else, is to lower my standards and move forward! I think that kids benefit from having parents who are flexible, OK with change and chaos, kind and considerate toward others and that sort of thing. I don't think they benefit from looking perfect all the time and possibly having a mother who is therefore compelled by being perfect, which can be really rooted in fear of what others think. My friend Susan says to remember "WC" -- who cares?
My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to resend!