It can be so hard not to define ourselves by our weaknesses rather than our strengths. I have found this to be especially true as a mother. I struggle to acknowledge the areas where I actually do well. It feels arrogant somehow to say “Hey, I’m pretty good a frugal parenting. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars cloth diapering, switching to cloth napkins and lowering my paper towel use by substituting old rags.” It’s not a contest. I’m not saying that by doing that I’m better than anyone else. But it isn’t always an easy thing to do, and it was a goal of mine back when I first became a stay at home mom and our income was cut by a third. In that way, I have succeeded and I should be able to admit that victory.
But instead, I’m quick to bring up where I think I’m failing. That my home schooled third grader is behind on at least two essential subjects and my kids do almost no chores around the house. I rarely buy organic. we’ve never purchased farm fresh, free range meat, and the only reason my kids don’t eat more packaged snacks is that they are so ridiculously expensive that my budget doesn’t allow for them. I yell at my kids sometimes and I do not, in fact, enjoy every second of being with them. My kids usually get at least two hours of screen time in the late afternoon, sometimes even the two year old, which breaks just about every pediatrician recommendation and regularly causes me to question my fitness as a mother.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it so difficult to acknowledge our strengths rather than harp our weaknesses? I want to help to foster a culture of honor, in my church, in my MOPS group, on my blog and even in my home; where we can celebrate our successes without it allowing us to diminish those of others.
There is plenty of hardship in life to go around, we don’t have to keep emphasizing it. Failure is difficult enough we don’t need to elevate it. The theme set by MOPS International this year is Free Indeed. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we were free to fail and to revel in our successes because we know we are unconditionally loved?
What are you good at? Where do you feel you’ve succeeded? Sometimes the standards are your own and it isn’t a competition. Let us celebrate with you.