Monday, January 04, 2010

Checking my mommy motives

I'm not good at basketball. Or volleyball. Or softball, or any other kind of ball. I can swim only well enough to stay above water. I don't play the piano or the guitar. I probably can't even play a kazoo. I was a good student, but not a great one. I'm not an actress and I'm too nervous to sing in front of people. I'm a mediocre cook. I can't draw or paint. I've never really had a "talent". You know what I mean. That thing that you were born to do and it's obvious because you are SO good at it. It comes natural to you and you excel in it. Everyone around me has always seemed to have something they were talented at, but me not so much. As a result, when I became a mother at the ripe old age of 22, I declared to myself that this is going to be my talent. This was finally going to be the one that thing that I was good at. Really good at. I was going to be the best mother EVER - no matter what it took! It seemed like a worthy talent to desire and pursue. It didn't take me long to realize that I didn't have the natural ability that I thought I would. But I didn't let that stop me as easily as I did with things like basketball and painting. NO, this was too important!

So, I've spent the last 9 years striving for this perfectly talented mother thing. You know the image I'm talking about. She's a cookie baking, craft making, sweet talking, self sacrificing, encouraging, fun mom. And on top of that, she's skinny and beautiful and cool. She's a spiritual giant, just oozing with wisdom and the fruits of God's spirit. She spends hours in the floor playing with her children and somehow her house is always clean too. She always feeds her kids healthy meals. And since she's the perfect mom, her kids are obviously going to be perfect too! They have impeccable manners, are always respectful, and constantly asking what they can do to help out around the house. They never argue with her or one another. Everyone wishes that their children were more like hers.

Once again, as I've thought about a new year, I've been asking myself how I can come a little closer to achieving this perfect mommy thing that I set out to accomplish 9 years ago? Because, you see, I'm not talented at it. I stink. It's hard. Nothing about it comes naturally. I yell. I put them in front of the TV to accomplish my tasks. I've even resorted to buying Cookie Crisps for breakfast! And the kids....well they are a far cry from perfect too. I'm called stupid head by my 4 year old on a daily basis. When I ask my 9 year old to help with a chore he has been known to say, "Here we go again.". My 2 year old is still pretty sweet. I haven't had time to ruin her yet :). As I've made my mental list of all the things I need to do better and how I'm going to do them better and how as a result my family is going to BE better, God has been whispering something that I just didn't have the ears to hear until this very morning. This morning he has finally stopped whispering and has shouted at me, because I can be quite stubborn and He knows this. He is telling me to stop. Stop. Stop trying to prove yourself. Stop using your family to make yourself feel good. To make yourself feel talented. You see, for all these years I've been lying to myself. Or rather, I've believed the lies of the Enemy. Somewhere along the way I convinced myself that this pursuit of perfect mommy was for my kids. It wasn't about me. They need a perfect mommy. I convinced myself that since God had entrusted me with these children, he must want me to be the perfect mom. But all of this was really just a lie. Deep down, my quest to be an unselfish mother who gave all of herself to her family, was rooted in my own selfish desire to be talented at something. To be recognized for being GREAT at something. God is telling me to stop.

So, while I will always be striving to be a Godly mother to my children, from this day forward I will accept that I am not talented at this either. And that's ok. It's actually quite a relief. It means I don't have to be racked with guilt when my children wake up in a few minutes and scarf down a bowl of Cookie Crisps. The old me would have been beating myself up that it wasn't bran muffins. And when Sophia watches 3 episodes of Dora in a row just so that I can finish helping Noah with his math, I will try to be proud that I'm teaching one of my children math. And when Micah calls me stupid head today (because he will), it won't be quite as irritating to me that he's not perfect. Because neither am I.

Maybe this year I'll try an instrument again.


Jessie Daniels said...

Thank you Jenny. I have had the SAME struggle. Not with being a mommy of course, but not being good at anything (in my eyes) and forcing what I can control into perfect molds. I am also having the same revelation that I cannot be better than what God made me and I need to explore his work and forget about mine. Thanks for this post. Love you!

Sarah Ezell said...

Well this made me laugh out loud, and love you even more than I already did. Just so you know, I think you are wonderful and not because of your many God-given talents, but because you are wonderfully you.