Tag Archive: compliments

Just a spoonful of sugar…

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.  -Mary Poppins

When I was a nanny, I was often described as a “real-life Mary Poppins”.  I’m not saying that to brag on myself.  As a matter of fact, this post is about how I tend get compliments and  marginalize them.  What I should have said in response to something like that was simply, “Thanks.  I love what I do!”  What I’d do instead is bumble on about how great “my girls” were, and how they make it easy, and it’s not really a big deal and blah blah blah…

Twice yesterday I got complements about not even looking like I’ve just had a baby.  (Just for the record, I disagree…but if I could wear that blue sweater everyday of my life, I probably would.  Apparently it works for me!  :-))  One person asked me what I was doing to “get so skinny so fast”.  In my head I was thinking, “Really?? I sure don’t feel skinny.  And those numbers on the scale aren’t dropping quite like I’d like them to.  And you surely haven’t seen me naked!”  What I actually said was something about chasing around 3 kids under four.  It wasn’t a bad response…but I still should have just said “Thanks” and left it at that.

Something else I keep hearing is how “together” I seem to have it, even with three small children.  Once again, I should probably just smile and say thanks…but I don’t.  I blabber on about how great it is to have Marshall around more to help this time, or how great a baby Asa is.  My gut response to those people who seem to think I have it all together is, “You didn’t just hear me screaming at them in the car.”

What I’m saying in all of this is that I appreciate the compliments.  I really do!  But I have a hard time accepting them.  I feel like a fraud when I just smile and say thanks.  While none of my so-called rebuttals are bad things, I feel like I’m just talking to talk, talking to fill the air.  What I’m actually doing is either trying to cover up all the negative things going on in my head, or trying to hide my embarrassment.  I know I don’t take compliments very well, and that’s something I’ve been trying to work on.  And, just like with pretty much anything else I “research”, I did a little Google search on how to accept a compliment.   Obviously I’m not the only person who has this same problem because there were thousands of websites that popped up.  And the overwhelming theme is don’t brush off a compliment.  Don’t say, “oh, it’s no big deal”.  Enjoy the mini-moment in the spotlight.  Remember that a compliment is someone else’s opinion, and they are sharing it with you.  There’s no reason to negate their opinion.

So…my plan is to come up with and practice a response to any complement.  Smile and say, “Thanks!  That’s very sweet of you to say.”  But in order to try and head off any of the negative responses that are probably running through my head, I’m going to write them down here and go ahead and get them out of the way.  Since you’ll all see this and know what I’m probably thinking, I won’t need to say it.  You’ll already know it!  🙂  I know that kind of defeats the whole accept compliments graciously thing, but it’ll make me feel better when I do just say “Thanks”.  So here it goes:

I’m glad you think I’m skinny, and I wish that my self-image was as great as your perception of me.

Do you really think my hair looks good like this?  It feels a little big.  And don’t you think I look like a poodle when I put it behind my ears?

The only reason it seems like I have things together is because of the moments you don’t see.  The ones where I scream at my children for miniscule things that don’t deserve screaming.  And not proud to say that I frequently lie to my kids in order to get out of doing things I don’t want to do.  More than once I’ve left Lydia in the bed waiting for me to return after I told her “I have to go to the bathroom…I’ll be right back.” (She’s almost always asleep by the time I get back from the “bathroom”.)  And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told Carter that the TV was broken and so we couldn’t watch the Cars movie.  I’m not proud of it, and they’re eventually going to catch on.  But it’s all I can do sometimes.

I’m glad it looks like I’ve had a lot of sleep and that I have plenty of energy.  It’s because I stay up at insane hours getting things done, and then nap while my kids watch TV.  I chose doing craft projects over laundry or dishes.  And I haven’t cleaned my toilet in months.  I just pour a bunch of bleach in the bowl and let it sit awhile.  When I come back, the ring is gone and I guess that’s good enough.