January 2, 2008

Being the Best

Every day, I go through this struggle. It seems that somehow I picked up the notion that I must always strive to be the best at everything. I didn't have a high self esteem as a kid, so I guess I related being the best at something as making me worth more. As a child, I wasn't really the best at anything, but I did make straight A's, was talented with drawing and art and writing. As I got older I pushed harder to make the best grades I could in all subjects, be it chemistry and calculus or choir, I was going to make an A. And I did, but, maybe I developed an unhealthy desire to be the best??

Until I had Alexa, I didn't normally second guess myself. I had confidence that I could make intelligent and wise decisions. I didn't really worry about being a good wife, I mean I did think about it and tried, but I wasn't doubting Matt's love for me or anything. I pretty much felt I could do anything I wanted, because I had tried so many different things and excelled, so I wasn't afraid to embark on new adventures.

Then I got pregnant. Then I became a mother. Then I became a mother two times...three times...

Even with Leiah, our firstborn, I didn't struggle that much. I did research and seek out the best way I knew how to take care of her, but I felt confident in what we were doing. But now, I am constantly worrying if I am doing things 'right'. Why, oh why am I doing this?? Why is there this driving need to be perfect? To have the perfect body, raise the perfect children, keep a perfect house, the perfect marriage...? What is the deal?

I know that I can't be perfect, I'm human, so why do I keep buying into the idea that perfection is attainable? Why do I keep comparing myself to other moms? I DON'T KNOW!!!! I need to get over it, but it is so hard.

I will admit, pretty much my biggest fear is the fear of failure. Especially failure as a mom. I guess I'm just afraid of blowing it with my daughters. Everyday, I weary myself telling them the same things over and over and over, repeating again and again..."Don't do that. Stop. Get off the coffee table. Don't take toys away from your sister. Quite squealing. Don't stand in the chairs. Don't stand on the stove. Get off the coffee table. No drinks in the living room. Alexa!!! Quit playing in the bathroom. Don't bite the dog. Pick up the toys...pick up the toys...Now. Look into my eyes, Listen to me. Did you hear what I just said? What did I just say? Don't stand on the couch."

Maybe some will think that I don't watch my children or 'tomato stake' them. I freely admit I am not 100% consistent. It is very hard to do that over long periods of time. I have not stuck with scheduling every moment of their day and keeping them separated. With the holidays and all, what was the point? Our 'schedules' were different everyday. How about I'm just plain ole tired from all the hoopla and lack of sleep?

Am I a bad mom if I let my children watch a lot of TV one day? Am I a bad mom if I yell? I don't want to do these things, but in the above paragraph you can see that after several repeats of it, things get a little tense and sometimes the voice gets louder. No one else has walked in my shoes or is in my current situation, so why should I feel guilty for not doing things someone else's way?

Again, I'm talking to myself. Yes, I need to spend more time playing with my girls. I need to spend more time training them how to do things around the house, how to sit still, and to obey the first time. I need to smother them with love, which I have not been doing. I also have a special child that needs a lot more one on one than she's been getting.

So, can I do all of the above while maintaining a clean house, keeping my kitchen lab going, buying frugally, exercising and some sewing? I don't know yet. Most importantly, can I do all of that and be faithful to have time with God? My true worth, my intrinsic value is found in Christ alone. Apart from Him I am nothing and can do nothing good. I have not 'arrived' yet, or finished the race, therefore I am a work in progress and need grace. Lots of grace...maybe that's why God led us to naming our middle daughter, the challenging one, Alexa Grace. LOL.

It's hard to keep my focus on Him and what He thinks of me, which I know that my worth is far more than I think- I'm costly enough that Someone else shed His blood for me. I shouldn't ever feel that I'm not special or loved or worthy, although I do have times when I feel that way.

I know that I am not a bad mom, I'm a human one, with three little girls all competing for my attention. They are childish and don't think the way I do about things. I know I don't remember a thing about how clean our home was except that Saturday was cleaning day. I don't recall my parents reading books to me, or reading the Bible to me. But I always felt loved and secure, and had a hunger for the Word. I knew I was valuable to them and I had a happy childhood, thankfully a Christian one too. So, if I am taking all the time I can to invest in my own children, surely I will do something right.

"For I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."

Dying to self, each and everyday, to serve and give my life to Him and my family, it's a struggle at times. My flesh rears it's head up quite a bit, shouting it's not fair and that I can't do it. Thankfully I have the Greater One living in me, to help keep me from totally succumbing to the monster, and get back on the narrow path.

I guess all that matters, is that I am doing my best with what God has given me, with a right heart. If I mess up, it's ok as long as I realize it, and give it another try.


MAMA said...

Yes.....I was afraid this would happen when I saw your detailed new schedule! But just to encourage you...you sound like a GOOD mom! Please don't compare yourself all the time. That's a hard life to live. Do what you know is right for sure and love on them girls. It'll be ok:)

Val said...

Great post. When you wrote "Am I a bad mom if I let my children watch a lot of TV one day? Am I a bad mom if I yell? " I almost laughed out loud. Not at all because it's funny but because I have felt like that so often.
Now with me it's kind of opposite because with my first I was so self-doubting,and now with number 2 I'm much more relaxed.
However I do think I yell too much. And my son is just so different than my daughter(of course :P). Sometimes I am so thankful he will sit and watch a 30 minute Sesame Street video. And he's a good napper. Those two things often keep me sane!
I love what you said about smothering them with love. What a beautiful image.
Finally-I love love love the ending of the post. What a great way to sum it all up. "I guess all that matters, is that I am doing my best with what God has given me, with a right heart." True dat girl!
Take care :D

Vix said...

Hugs Mama!! No advice, you dont need it. :) You are NOT a bad Mom! That is a word from the enemy! Dont listen to him, he just wants you to fail. But You can do all things through Christ who gives you stregnth. The Enemy has come to steal kill and destroy. Even your joy. You, go, do your best everyday and remember that your best is made perfect. (he is made perfect in our weakness)...

All that to say, WE have all been there! No one is perfection. The blogging world makes pp look that way, but they are not. all have flaws. The only flawless human died on the cross. :)

Part of my disappearance from my blog was my own black cloud. I should have posted about it. Part of my goals in blogging is to be 100% real! anyway, this is long.. Just know Im praying for you!

Anneatheart said...

Wow- thanks for all the encouragement ladies. I wasn't really planning to post anything about that, but it just came out because I'm tired of crying on the phone to my husband about my awful day.

Rachel said...

We compare ourselves because we want to be the best we can for our children. We aren't born knowing all. I did learn that what works for one may not work for another mom. I enjoyed playing with my kids.. my neighbor babysat 6 and her house was spotless. I had 3 and mine was a wreck! WHY? I played with mine. She made hers play in confined areas with specific toys. It was also her job.. it was my own kids :)

I struggled with the discipline too and felt like I was always saying NO and Don't and Stop. I suggest getting the book How to Talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk. A list of their suggestions use to be online.. but no longer :( Such a great program. I took it through the YMCA and it was awesome! gives you the tools to be more productive. Like, instead of Stop leaning back in that chair, you'll break the legs. That puts kids on the defense. Instead.. give information "leaning back in chairs breaks the legs." It's things like that they teach you. The program had a teacher, videos to watch, workbooks.. was great! We read each night from the paperback book. I recently found one at a garage sale and have loaned it out several times.