I’m not the first mom blogger to write about this. I won’t be the last. There’s apparently some deep seated issue we all deal with that comes out in our writing and tends to resonate with other moms. The truth is, I think this is far more of a human condition thing than it is a mom thing. It’s about self worth. It’s about contentment. And it’s ultimately about figuring out that you’re enough just the way that you are.
Gross. I felt a little gross writing that; did you cringe after you read it? It’s ok, I get it. I’m tired of hearing the same, boring platitudes too. They’re missing their mark. Telling me that I’m enough and that what I do is important sounds really nice. It’s a compliment that I appreciate and deep down I know is true.
So why do most of us at some point have the worst time believing it? Implementing it into our thought processes? What’s the deal?
Punching that Clock
I talked a little here about how our family is pursuing a simpler lifestyle. I think that’s a piece of the puzzle. Turning off our devices, tuning into the Creator, each other, and the world around us. Focusing less on stuff and more on people. But honestly, minimalism is a trend that will pass with time, just like everything does.
So how do we settle our souls? How do we find peace in the mundane tasks of motherhood or punching a clock day in and day out? I’m not going to pretend I have the answer. I don’t. I constantly struggle with the desire to rise up and be more. More than the housekeeper, laundry folder, and diaper changer. More than the cook, the nose wiper, and the mess corraler. More than the grocery getter, the kid chaser, and the bed maker.
Those things are important. Imperative even to a well-oiled household. And I’m honored to get to have that as my “job.” But it’s easy to feel overlooked, right? It’s easy to forget how important what I do everyday is.
Because there’s that mom who’s making a full time income from home while she raises nine kids. She probably homeschools them too. That girl has some hustle. I’ll bet her family is proud of her.
Pride and the Joneses
And that’s what it boils down to for me. I want my husband to be able to brag about me. I want him to be able to say, “Yeah, she takes care of everything at home, plus she brings in a side income and volunteers three nights a week. She’s amazing!” I want my parents to praise my successes and my kids to be proud of what I do. There’s a deeply rooted weed in me that’s fed on accolades, on being the best, on pushing myself to be better.
If she can do it, why can’t I? It’s always about those stinkin’ Joneses. It’s a comparison game, and social media has amplified the game a thousand fold because, as we all know, most folks show the glossy part of life. And that’s really ok; that’s their imperative and I don’t blame them.
The problem is my heart is a bit of a bugger and I find myself thinking that I need to measure up to this constantly undulating mark of what makes a successful wife and mom. I see all of the best things wives and moms can be, mash them into this superwoman ideal, and try to be her.
Dumb. Besides the obvious impossibility of the notion, there’s the fact that you and I have been given very specific gifts to work with. We can certainly chip away at getting better at our non-gifted areas, but the truth is, I’m never going to excel at hospitality. If you show up at my door, I will be happy to have you in, make you some coffee, and share whatever I have in our home. But I’ll probably forget to ask if you want a glass of water. I’ll probably also forget to show you where the bathroom is and will likely also feel stressed about the way my house is presented to you. This isn’t a vanity thing; I simply really, really want you to feel comfortable and I’m kind of a neat freak which doesn’t always translate to “cozy”, if ya get my drift.
I have a sister in law who excels at hospitality. She thrives on it, actually, and she’s capitalized on that gift of hers time and time again. It’s wonderful and beautiful when people recognize their gifts and run with them.
It often gets ugly and stressful when we try to hijack gifts that aren’t ours and leave our true gifting in the dust. Don’t be that guy.
So what’s the best way to avoid these feelings of not being enough? How do I skip the part where I feel less than that mom over there who’s kicking butt and taking names?
Well, I’m gonna be honest and say it: it’s part of life. It’s part of growing up. It’s part of being directed away from us and toward God. When we constantly look to ourselves to define what success looks like, we’re always going to be discontented and looking for greener pastures. When I see another woman who appears to have it all and a bag of potato chips, I should be looking upward instead of inward, right? I should be like, girl, you eat those potato chips! Good for you!
And I have to be ok with the fact that those are her potato chips to eat. Translation: that’s her blessing. I’ve got my own. A whole lot of it, actually. I just need to remember that truth in those moments and give glory where glory is due.
It’s a refocusing. A daily, hourly, moment by moment refocusing of my life to pursue the most effective reflection of Christ rather than attempting to spit shine my own reflection with stuff and achievements. My “good things” will always pale in comparison to Him.
So here’s my encouragement for you: figure out what your gifts are. Ask someone close to you what they think you’re good at. Then thrive in them. Don’t ignore the parts of you that need some work, but don’t get so distracted trying to fix those up that you neglect your gifts. God made you good at certain things and less good (or downright terrible; ask my husband how good I am at keeping plants alive) at others. That’s ok. You give Him glory by simply using what He gave you to reflect His goodness to the folks around you.
The tough truth? You’re never going to be enough. You will always need Him to fill that void in your soul, so don’t kid yourself into thinking your accomplishments or stuff will make you happy or content. It’s such a simple concept, but I find myself needing to constantly remind myself that I’m only enough in and with and through Him.
Quit striving to be a “boss babe” or whatever the trendy phrase of the day is and rest in the pursuit of reflecting Glory. And if you get a chance, remind me to do the same.