Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our Worst vs. Their Best

Recently my good friend, a counselor, talked to my adoptive mom group about Mommy Guilt.    She made an excellent point that I want to share with you:

We, as moms, often compare our worst to other women's best. 

True dat.

Can I get an "amen," sisters?

Think about it.  

Facebook.

Pinterest.

Twitter.

Blogs.

Texts.

I like pretty things as much as the next girl.    A pin, a tweet, a post----each can send my mind reeling. 

Like right now.  What if we adopt a boy?   The natural mama groups I follow on FB are all ranting about circumcision right now and how horrible it is.    How did I not know about this?  I mean, I was just going to do what I thought parents were supposed to do in this regard.    Wow---was I about to royally screw up a future son?   Gulp.   Must make time to research this very important topic.

Then someone posts a link to an article about the fact that it's completely ok to ignore your kids at the playground while you jack around on your cell phone, catching a five second break from mommyhood.   To sum it up:  It's cool to neglect your kids sometimes, and don't judge moms for it, ok?!?  Wait, now I'm confused.  I should be an uber involved parent....natural parent.....neglectful parent....laid back parent.   Something else? 

Then I check out my favorite blog which shares ways moms can enjoy housework more.   Just put some more Jesus into it, ok?  Everything a Christian does should bring glory and honor to Him.   Um......I'm not feeling it.   But hmmmm...maybe I should.  I mean, if I want Jesus to like me more and bestow some more favor upon me, maybe I can earn it by whistling while I mop?  

So then I jump onto FB again and see some gorgeous baby photos of my friends' kids and think, Maybe I need to put my kids in some nicer clothes when we head to the park?  And make sure their hair is done perfectly in case I run into any Black people who will think me to be a horrible adoptive mother.     

Then I see someone post something about teaching their kids Bible verses and how preschool age children are the perfect age to memorize Scripture.  Oh and yes, Miss E is preschool age and really doesn't know many Bible verses.  She does know some Beyonce lyrics, though.....

FAIL.

Vicious cycle.

So I get my mail and there's two Pottery Barn catalogs.  Love the $1000 sleigh bed and the $300 curtains.   Oh, and why doesn't my laundry room look more like a 5-star hotel?  Darn you, Pinterest!

As my friend shared, we often blog, tweet, pin, text our very best---those moments of glory---be it our decorating, our parenting, our employment, our cooking, whatever.  I'm totally guilty of doing this.    I'm likely not going to post about forgetting to brush my teeth ALL day because I was too busy changing poopy diapers, wiping dried spag off the floor, and thinking about neglecting student e-mails.     I'm not going to post that my husband and I had an argument about money management, or a family member is getting on my last nerve, or one of my kids was whining AGAIN.  

Most of life isn't Pinterest worthy, is it?  

So I'm really having to work at making sure that while I celebrate the triumphs of those I follow online, they really are just like you and me---trying to make it day by day, trying their best, and making ends meet emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually.

In adoption, we are already told by society to be what I call Super Parents.  We waited how long to have kids, and then we adopt, and struggles, well, they should be seen (by us only) but not heard (or talked about.   We should be really really damn grateful for having these children, so no hardships allowed, got it?   Spotlight!   Action!   Be the best you can be at all times!  

The pressure!

(I will be addressing this issue in my book, fyi).

I think that inspiration can inspire and encourage us to be better, stronger people.  But if all we do is take inspiration and expectations and dog on ourselves for not being "that woman" (whomever she is....well, she doesn't really exist)----we are hurting ourselves and those around us.

I mean think about it, if we are all trying to be THAT WOMAN, and THAT WOMAN doesn't exist, we are all walking around as some really dysfunctional, unhealthy people!

So, back to my friend.  The point of her talk was that we must LET IT GO.   Whatever it is.  We have to let it go.  

Or, we choose to self-inflict some pretty nasty stuff that not only hurts us, our spouses, our children, and our peers, but we don't live life well.

I don't want to live a broken, watered-down, mediocre life.

I choose better.

Do you?

8 comments:

Emily said...

I didn't even think about it, but I totally do compare myself at my worst to other people's best... Or what I see as their best. That's good food for thought. Thanks :)

annieglan said...

The only thing I judge myself on is being sweatpant mom. If I was thinner I would be a super cute dresser, but I can't find styles I like in my size. Every mom has strengths and when I laugh when my kids fall I know other moms judge me. Whatever. To each their own and we all have strengths.

annieglan said...

Also, my blog is filled with my fails. You have to laugh in life's pitfalls. My adoption profile book was also "imperfect" which EVERYONE who saw it loved.

Gaby said...

Hey, Rachel. I have read so much lately on this. About how when we are real we give other people permission to be real with us and we develop more meaningful relationships. Good thoughts. As for the memorization here is a tip: Seeds Family Worship. YouTube, or they have a website. Bible verses to music. So easy to memorize! And you feel like you are doing something awesome for your kids :)

Crystal said...

This is so true! When I started my blog the purpose was to have a record of our adoption wait. Then it turned into just stories from our day to day lives I didn't want to forget. Some were good, some were bad - but I tried to be honest. Now I read other blogs filled with scripture and relating everything back to how good God is that I feel guilty for my lack of substance on my blog. Would anyone know I was a Christian by reading my stuff? Then I realize I have to let it go and not worry about it so much. I'm doing the best I can and even though Cade doesn't have a lot of scripture memorized (but he knows every teams stats in the SEC) he is still an ok kid. He has a heart for Jesus and others. He will turn out just fine - as will your girls.

And, I don't get on Pinterest much. I've had the same thoughts that you had about it. Even when it first started there was something in my mind that said "this isn't healthy!" I do enjoy looking at things, especially if I'm working on a project. But I also think it can breed a lot of unhappiness in people who aren't centered in where they are in Christ. Just my opinion!

Chrissy said...

I'm so glad you wrote this. I needed to read it today.

Rachel said...

AMEN, AMEN!!! I have to tell myself a lot(A LOT) that another women's success is not my failure. Maybe another mother is able to write a book, cure disease, and have a house that looks like a pottery barn catalog all while being super mom to her 9 kids. But that doesn't mean that the triumph of having my two little boys make it through target without any tantrums any less.

Emily Morrice said...

I liked reading this because I think, on some level, we can all relate. But one thing I've seen a lot in the blogosphere that I'm a bit frustrated by is the phrase "darn you, Pinterest!".

It seems every few posts I read someone is cursing Pinterest as the source of mommy guilt. I don't buy it.
I have Pinterest and I use it as a pin board - for myself. I don't follow anyone on Pinterest and I don't browse their pin market. I just pin things as I see them online (through blogs or what have you).

I think the root is our sinful desire to one up one another and to be the best. Pinterest and mommy blogs and the Internet in general are not to blame, our idolatrous hearts are. Sorry for the rant, but I've had that on my heart for a while!

LOVE your blog and your family's story :)

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