Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Trifecta - Part Deux

Part Deux: A Rose By Any Other Name


It's no secret (ok, maybe it is a little) that I have struggled with my own self image over the years. Most of it comes from what I call the "greener grass" effect. Someone always is better, smarter, cleaner, a better [XYZ], you name it. I could sit here and tell you it is from having a horrible childhood, but that wouldn't be true. There probably is some truth to feeling this way growing up a bit of a different cat in a small midwest town, but even then I'm creating a scapegoat. The real trouble is how I learned to value who I am, and that I let what others think or say creep into my soul in unproductive ways...or even worse, what I think others are thinking or saying. It's how the evil one attacks me - there's no mincing words about that - the evil one really does exist, and he whispers loudly.

So, it's no surprise that settling into being the mom of two little monsters and trying to live up to an ideal that I've created in my head has begun to wreak a little havoc in my life. I sit and compare, thanks to social media, what I do all day to what my "friends" are doing, and I sure don't measure up. I'm not being paid to shop through my saavy couponing, I don't have a month's worth of meals prepped in the freezer - I can barely get one meal on the table let alone a week or month's worth! The laundry sits in piles and let's not even TALK about the condition of the house. So you see, in my mind, I am not only falling behind, I am failing.

Let me make this clear - parenting, marriage and life in general is not for those who fear failure. We all fall short in one way or another. It is the unfortunate effect of our fallen nature (Adam & Eve, that pesky serpent, being booted from the garden, etc.), and trying to return to an Edenic existence will only drive you mad. It does that to me at any rate. Amidst my conversations with other women (and the hubbers) as of late, I am often reminded, of course, that my conceptualization of what other mothers are doing, versus reality, doesn't always align. What I see are public faces, not the nitty gritty what happens behind closed doors and in the dark stark reality that faces every parent and spouse. As my doctor put it, what they tell you is what they want you to know - what you don't know is that many of them hate their spouses from time to time and want to throw in the towel.

Well, hey - at least I don't hate my hubbers! And most days I don't want to throw in the towel...and I never would. Because despite the illusions I build in my head that lead me to think I am failing, I know that the reward for even trying to live in that ideal will be worth it. So we lower the bar a little bit and give up on the sparkling clean house and made from scratch dinners every night. I realize that it isn't about how we measure up to Suzy Homemaker down the street, but how we are measuring our own moments with the ones God has entrusted to us. It is especially important that I remind myself of this constantly as I don't want to impart my battle with these voices to my children - I want them to know and believe in their worth simply as beloved children, first of God, and then of ours.

And in the midst of all this reflecting, a friend shared this article about feeling like a failure of a mom on Facebook that says it better than I ever could, especially because I'd be crying by the time I got to the second paragraph.

Lesson two: Stop comparing, start living. Go smell some roses.

PS - While I am sharing links, this article I came across on Pinterest also spoke volumes to me. So see, social media isn't all bad! :)  "How to Help a New Mom"

1 comment:

  1. I heard a comment on KLove in the last month that really resonated (sp?) with me, and what you write reminds me of it once again. Not verbatim, but they said, "It is completely unfair to compare your inside to everyone else's outside."

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I'd love to hear your thoughts! Rest assured I do read each and every word, but please forgive me if I don't get back to you right away. The toddler tugging on my leg and the one year old pulling my hair may have seized control of my typing abilities. Blessings on your day!