Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I want for my son

Today concluded a short Bible study on conversations you should have with your son.

While I can't actually have a conversation with my son, even though he's starting to mimic sounds :), my husband and I should get our game plan together because those opportunities will come all too quickly.

Teaching my son to be a godly man is a very daunting task. I know that I have great examples to follow and wonderful resources all around me. While making the most of these opportunities, I'm planning to prepare for those times coming around the bend where teaching my son what God wants from him and how he can please God will be possible.

My example won't be a direct showing of how a godly man behaves because ...well... I'm not a man. But I can take it as a teachable time to show my son what a godly woman looks like and how strong she can be. He hopefully will see that relying on God for identity and purpose is what makes true beauty.

I'm a ways from being confident in that truth. I hope that I see the ways that God is giving me the wisdom and the confidence to teach my son by example about all that God has for him, because He is the only one who wants more for my son than my husband or I do.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Supermom VS. The Fear of Mediocrity

As I'm now in the beginning of my journey as a mom, I'm fighting an old fight that has been with me for almost as long as I can remember. This struggle became glaringly apparent in college as I pursued a degree in architecture.

One day at a desk critique, my professor tells me if I don't start trying harder I'm only going to ever be mediocre. He went on to explain my designs were average at best. The whole time I was choking back tears. My professors had over the years made it clear that these critiques were about our work, not about us, so not to take what is said personally.

I know and have told myself he was trying to motivate me with these words, but these words have hurt me and are still affecting me. Even six years later, I'm scared of being mediocre, not adding anything original or worthwhile to the world.

I admit that the base reason I gave up on my pursuit of becoming a licensed architect is because of this fear. This conversation with my professor did not plant this seed of fear in me, it mainly amplified it to the point where I could not ignore it or live in bliss of ignorance I had lived in before.  My idealistic views of my future were shattered that day and were not repaired as my college years in the program went on.

Going to college, I was under the illusion that I would go to school and learn how to take my field by storm. This was partly naiveté, on my part. I did not do enough research ahead of time to make sure I was making an appropriate career path choice.

With this naiveté and fly by the seat of my pants mentality, I was setting myself up for a brick wall collision somewhere along the way. I'm surprised it took until the end of Sophomore year!

I tried harder, but soon realized I was at my peak far behind my classmates. With a shortage of jobs because of a collapse in the housing and building market, I found I could not compete for the few jobs available because of the nagging reminders that I wasn't good enough or trying hard enough.

Soon, I was exhausted. Between the strenuous hours of studio work, my graduation date rushing towards me, and the hunt for a job, I was barely sleeping and stressed to the max. All the while, I was terrified of mediocrity. I was tired of not making a mark on the people around me.

I was struggling to see my purpose.

Realizing I'd have to move in with parents after graduation because of a lack of a job, I knew that was the end to my architectural pursuits. They lived in an area with even fewer architecture job opportunities than where my school was! The job market everywhere was flooded with more experienced candidates and time passing only meant more recent graduates would be coming on the scene as well. I knew I couldn't compete. Maybe it was the voice in my head saying, you're just mediocre, maybe it was reality finally hitting that this was not my skill set.

Either way, I gave up, got three part-time jobs since my school loans were coming due and tried to distract myself from my classmates getting internships and returning to school for their masters degree. I wanted to go back to be with friends but knew the course load would be too much for me.

That time after graduation wasn't all bad. Because of living closer to my family and my boyfriend, I was able to reinvest in those relationships I had neglected. My boyfriend became my husband, and my family became friends on a new level. So many blessing came from being home for those two years after graduation.

Now with life settling after marriage, a move across three states, and a baby, I've been able to process all these changes in a new light and realize the fear of mediocrity has followed me. It's been with me well before my sophomore year of college, and is still hard to shake.

Today, aspirations of being a "Supermom" seem to be my way of battling my fear of mediocrity. I must excel at what I do to battle that broken record in my head telling me I'll never be more than average.

I've found that record plays louder when I'm in a spiritual desert. When I'm not relying on God, I seem to let my thoughts of self doubt play louder.

The more time in this desert, the more ways my thoughts bring out my insecurities.

I find myself in a new spiritual desert now as I'm battling exhaustion, sleep deprivation, separation from family, endless household tasks, all while trying to embrace my changing child and keep my marriage strong.

As much as I hated hearing her say this over and over when I was younger, I find the words of my mother entering my thoughts: Your identity is in Christ as a child of God. Remember whose you are.

I obviously have failed Christ in many ways as anyone has. HE, however, has extended grace so that even if I am average or mediocre at best:
HE still died for me!
HE still provided a way of salvation for me.
HE still loves me and pursues me to be closer to HIM!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Myth of Supermom

There once was a woman who had several children and provided for all of them without her sparkling smile leaving her face. While preparing her daily organic gourmet meals and perfect chocolate chip cookies (just in time for her children coming home from school) her apron cinched her waist while displaying her symmetrical form. Even though her body looks effortlessly flawless, she'll let you know her daily runs are the true reason for her slender form--that and her eight glasses of water a day as well as all the fruits and veggies she snacks on. She never passes on a bake sale but never over indulges on any treat.

You never see her sweat. She could run a marathon or face a firing squad without a hair falling out of place.

Her children are so well behaved, they could teach finishing school and their idea of rebellion is vacuuming the carpet in diagonal strokes.

Her wardrobe reflects current fashion without making her look like she's trying too hard or trying to hide her true age.

Her hair is coiffed in a style that is effortless but stylish and flattering.

Unrealistic as it seems, she never needs help, never takes a break, never waivers in her convictions or loyalties  She's caring, compassionate, vivacious, energetic, Perfect!

She exposes all your insecurities in blinding light. Everything you struggle with she masters with ease and excels through any turbulence.

She turns you into a green-eyed monster.

She's Supermom! (queue the brass band and the fireworks announcing her arrival)
She can't be real...oh, wait, she's not...she's a myth.

Yes, there are real women who seem super human in the mom department, but they are an exception. Even those who exceed common conceptions of motherhood, fail in other areas.

I've aspired to be the mythical supermom, and even my short experience has shown failures to live up to those mythical expectations.

If we as mothers are setting ourselves up for failure by believing this myth of motherhood is ideal, what image of motherhood should we embrace rather than this myth?

I'm going to be working through different areas of the Supermom Myth in coming posts. If you have stories or insights
, please share as this is a complicated issue. There are the pressures from society, from yourself, from family. Some are valid, some are not. I am personally working through my idea of the mom I want to be and this will be one of my outlets to sort this out.