Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Compassion--for Ourselves

I recently read a post titled, "Moms, when are you going to learn? I am not supermom."  Since I'm not the cussing type (Read: no judgment.  We're just different), I am posting an edited version for delicate eyes.  ;-)

I appreciate the reminder from Michelle that we all have different strengths and priorities.  As my friend Shannon* mentioned today, we are all unfinished products. 

I admit that I have been afraid to talk about things I'm frustrated or excited about, proud of, or at my wits's end about, because I'm afraid I'll be insensitive to someone for whom that area may be a great strength, a sensitive spot or a challenge, or not in their ability at all.  Or in their ability, but not mine!

But from this article I really see what I already feel, which is that we can be such a source of strength to each other as women if we are sincerely happy for each others' strengths, and choose not to nit-pick or criticize others for being different.  What may work for me might not work for you, and vice versa.  And that's OK.  :-)  Let me learn from you what I can, and you from me, and still keep our individual identities, hobbies, & priorities intact. 

In short, don't judge (condemn) people who live differently than you.  Hope that they are being as compassionate to you as you are being to them, recognizing that we're all making decisions based on what we feel is best for our families.  

And MOST IMPORTANTLY, stop being so hard on yourselves!  I even worried that just by editing Michelle's post (someone I've never met online or IRL), I could offend her for changing the original content of her post.  We stress about so much, all the time. 

We compare our known worsts against others' perceived bests.  We often compare our reality to snippets of several other people's best strengths, thus comparing ourselves to an impossibility, one that we could never achieve.  That's the best way to make us feel inferior and keep us from being normal, albeit imperfect, moms.  Wouldn't it be much better if we were happy normal imperfect moms, instead of depressed normal imperfect moms?  And yes, I'm definitely taking notes from my own suggestions.  It's so much easier to dish advice than to act on it!

So, now that I already gave away the point of the post, here it is:

"Moms, When Are You Going to Learn?"  By Michelle from Ohio.

Look, I know the areas in life where I excel.  It unfortunately doesn’t involve me being a size two and wearing the most. stylish. boots. you ever did see.  I will not be doing a triathlon, I’ll be the one over there handing out water and cheering you on while eating a muffin.  My house isn’t ever company ready.  Just move that pile of Legos, I will make dinner.  I can make you laugh, I can make you think.  I am a great friend. . .I like the woman that I have become. . .”
My name is Michelle and I throw “Pinterest worthy” parties for my children.
I don’t think this makes me a [bad] mom, a superior mom, or that I have too much time on my hands.  I assure you, I do not. 
I also don’t think it makes you a [bad] mom for NOT throwing parties like that for your children’s birthdays, having a spotless house, and working full time.  I hope you’ll afford me the same kindness when I am braless in the drop off lane at school wearing pajamas and you look like you’ve had twelve hours of sleep, a blowout, and your makeup done before 9 am on a rainy Tuesday. . . .
We all have our own things, our gifts, and talents.  We all have our own priorities.  That they are different, doesn’t make them wrong.  We all are making the best of our collective situations, but it doesn’t mean we have to be [unkind] to each other. . . .
We’ve all become so defensive and annoying about parenting. 
Do I make my single parent friends upset when I talk about an awful day that I’ve had when Dave is traveling for work and I don’t have a break?  Do they think parenting is a breeze when there are two of us here?  {Because it isn’t.  Not even a little bit.} 
Does my friend Jen feel badly about showing off the hand sewn curtains and quilt she made for her sweet baby because I can’t sew for shit?  Does Danielle feel badly that she runs freaking marathons {with her feet!} and training takes time away from other things?  Does Kristina hesitate to Tweet that her kids are in bed by seven and she and her husband have some much needed alone time?  Does Lindsay feel awkward that she always looks gorgeous next to the other moms at school?  Does Emily pause before posting about finally, finally having her depression under control because she knows there are other moms still struggling?  Do you neglect to mention that you and your husband are going on a vacation alone and get to sleep in for a glorious week because your sister hasn’t been on a vacation in 5 years?  Does the mom from school buying Lunchables shove them under all of the other items in her cart when she sees you? 
Why are we even thinking about this [stuff]? 
Really, why?
I have friends who feel badly about giving up breast feeding early, about breastfeeding too long, about not being able to cook, about not being the stylish mom, and about being the mom that wants a break from her kids.  I have friends who feel guilty about sending their child to daycare, about not having the money to send their kid to camp, about not being athletic enough to coach their child’s soccer team.  I have friends who worry about not having a house out of Martha Stewart Living.  I have friends who feel like the frumpy mom, the single mom, the working mom, the stay at home mom, the mom that wore the wrong thing, the disorganized mom, the helicopter mom, the type A mom, the young mom, the old mom, THAT mom. 
I have friends that worry that they are the only ones who aren’t Super Mom. 
No one is Super Mom.
Not you.  Or you.  Or even you.  Certainly not me.  We just have different priorities.   
My husband would argue that maybe shaving my legs and slapping on a little lipstick could take precedence over printing and organizing 350 school year photos for the kids in Finn’s class. 
But Davester, I’m NOT Super Mom! 
You want to be a crunchy organic vegan mama championing the fight against GMOs?  Do it.  You want to be the. . .CEO of an empire so you can hire the best nanny money can buy?  Step right ahead.  You want to feed them takeout every night and spend that time playing with your kids?  Go for it.  You want to wear full makeup and heels on that field trip to the apple orchard?  More power to you sister.   You want to put those kids to bed at 7 pm every night and have some time to yourself?  Rock on.
Just be a good parent, love your kids, and do the best that you can.  [Don't be a jerk] to those who don’t share your choices. 
More importantly, quit being a [jerk] to yourselves.

*I just loved my friend's post about us all being unfinished products, so I'm including it here.  Without her permission.  Ahem.  Here it is: 
"Hoky thought for the day: Was talking to a friend today who kept apologizing for her house mess. Funny thing was, I love her and all her mess. I don't see it and think less of her, on the contrary, I know she's always out helping someone and busier than I can even fathom. Made me think about how often we apologize for or want to hide those things that show our humanity or weakness. I know I want to be a better person and learn and grow, I think that's what I'm here for. But I'm also here to love and serve others. How can I if I can't see their need? Or adore their silliness? I love my friends for all their crazy, I admire how hard they work to be good people and overcome their weakness. They inspire me to be better and help me along the way. If they all looked perfect and acted perfectly all the time, I'd just feel stupid. We're all unfinished products here, though some seem way farther along to me than others. Just thought today I'd try to accept myself and others for the potential we have and try harder to overlook the weakness and the mess. 
Sappy moment concluded."

1 comment:

Kimberly Wilson said...

Please, if you have any questions, besides leaving a comment here, also contact me via this account (click on the "Kimberly Wilson" name just above this comment). I will get back with you promptly via that email; I can't figure out how to change this blog to connect to my newer email.