Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Inadequate? Or Empowered?

Now's the time of year when I read so many blog posts about family traditions, preparations for yummy meals, and excitement of family gatherings to come. Families singing Christmas carols around a piano, or neighbors and guests sipping hot cider and eating homemade fudge. The decorations are all draped neatly over every available space. Oh, alright - I can't say I've found so many blog posts that are joyful, so much as stressful. I think a lot of folks are feeling the squeeze of the Grinch too, like me. It kinda makes me wonder if anyone else feels the same way I do about all those gorgeous Christmas trees, perfectly browned turkeys, and presents with coordinating wrapping paper, ribbons and bows...

Go Away.

So lately, I have read things on some blogs that make me uncomfortable. I won't link links, but you probably have a few of these blogs on your blogroll as well - you know, the ones that just seem to be the epitome of familial perfection. Anyway, I read these blogs and I can't help but feel inadequade. I think to myself, "These people make me feel inadequate." All the good cheer, and calm voices, and smiling, and fun activities, and matching outfits, and healthy food, makes me want to just crawl in a hole. The only way I can feel better is to find some other REALLY pitiful mom out there who is even worse than me. I can always take solace in thinking, "At least I'm not doing as bad as THAT mom." Of course, THAT mom is usually smoking, calling her kids 4-letter words, and feeding them candy for breakfast. How pathetic am I?

But recently I have realized something. They don't make me feel inadequate... I do that to myself. No one has the power to make me feel anything. My emotions are my own. And, do these bloggers write what the do in order to make other people feel puny? Do they do it to toot their own horns? Do they do it because they think they are better than all of us? NO! Of course not. They are trying to share what works for them, in the hopes that it might work for someone else too. They are educating those of us who are lifelong learners in the game of parenthood. They are empowering us to become better parents, better friends, better people.

When I have read blog posts that criticize others (including my own!) I think to myself, what are they (I) afraid of? Why is it so easy to point the finger at other people and ignore the faults within ourselves? How can we be so quick to judge others? Shouldn't we judge with the same harshness with which we want to be judged ourselves?

So, why do their views, their opinions, their lifestyles bug me so much? I believe it is a deep desire that I want to do better by my family. And, I see them as accomplishing all the things I want to accomplish, while I see myself as a big fat failure.

The only way I am going to get past this, is that I am going to try (disclaimer right now: I might fail) to stop myself from getting all sad and depressed and saying "I'm the worst mom/wife/friend/homemaker in the world." I guess I'm going to make a choice to stop thinking I'm a failure just because someone else DIDN'T tell me I was one.

Now, how's that for not making sense?

13 comments:

Cindy said...

I think you sound like a wonderful mom/wife/friend/homemaker. I think it's in most peoples nature to want more than we have.

Jess said...

I agree with Cindy and your great and honest and you sure keep me going!
Merry Christmas!!

Mrs de Miranda said...

I really like this post, it is very raw and honest. Let me tell you, those mom's who do all those "good" things you are talking about, probably feel the same way. I don't think any parent has ever thought that they have done things the way they should. Parents always believe they should have dont things different...and I know it's so hard to believe this...but the grass is NEVER greener on the other side. No one escapes life, no matter how pretty it may be packaged. I don't have kids yet, but it is a hard lesson I have had to learn through my own VERY dysfunctional family growing up and with what I am going through right now. The fact that you care and worry means more than anything in the world. Besides all the vegetables, perfect family outings, etc etc...none of it matters because all that does is love in your home. If you have love, then you have the world. As hallmark as that may sound, it is more true than anything. And I promise that. And let me just say this I feel that I know this because my household was one of those packaged perfectly, everything looks as it should homes.

Merry Christmas to your family :) I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday season and that you thoroughly enjoy yourself, knowing that you are a good Momma, a good wife, and so much better than you will ever think you are!

sassy stephanie said...

Seriously? Stop it. You are a wonderful mom and you need to remember that!

I was just laughing at another blog about the "realism" of some blogs. Remember, never judge a book by it's cover.

Karly said...

I think EVERY mom/woman feels that way. Someone is always doing better. And someone is always doing worse. I think we'd all be pretty crappy parents/people if we didn't continually feel the guilt and wonder how horribly we're screwing up our kids/lives/whatever. It motivates us to do better. It sucks though.

Jen said...

I totally understand! I have so been there and I just told that little voice in my head to SHUT UP! And I am telling yours to do the same. You are not and never have been a failure. Just look in the eyes of your kids to know that for sure.

Scary Mommy said...

Perfect people make me crazy. And they are usually the most fucked up. ;P Merry Christmas!

Preston said...

Great post and you are absolutely right, only you can let someone else (or someone else's blog) impact you negatively. Plus just because something looks perfect, doesn't mean it is.

Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas even if it is less-than-perfect. :O)

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

For all those who think I'm beating myself up, y'all have to realize that I DO know I have the best intentions at heart, and a ton of knowledge in my head. But it's down, deep in my gut, where I feel that I am not doing things right. I just see other people who are the moms I want to be. And, I need to let go of that and be the mom that I am. I know it... I just gotta get my heart to accept it!

Ryan Scott said...

In reality, we don't ever know what kind of moms those other women are. And YOU are the only one who knows what kind of mother you are. We all beat ourselves up more often than we should, but it's only because of how much we care about our kids and family. If we were just worried about the look of things, we wouldn't be posting about how awful we think we are! :)

Christine said...

One of the things I love most about reading you is your candid view on life and motherhood. Have a merry Christmas my blogging friend.

Pinky said...

I used to feel icky when reading about Norman Rockwell type families. We are SO not.

I've changed SO much in the past year or so, it's simply staggering. I used to try to be something...someone I wasn't. It was a bunch of lies. Now I'm me. My house is dirtier, but I'm happier. I don't know where the balance lies. But it's a journey, and I'm walkin' it.

Hang in there.

E said...

Nah, we just don't post about the really annoying bits. Like when my two oldest kids, the ones who are loving and close and shared an apartment and a job on the Vineyard this summer, after a warm gentle sweet Christmas morning, told each other how bleap bleap,,,insert the really big bleaps here,, retarded they each were on Christmas afternoon.
Ah I was filled with the spirit. I wanted to throttle them. Then we talked unendingly about the problem. In this family no feeling or thought ever goes unexpressed. Our yuoungest said why can't you just say sorry and move on? yes, why indeed.
By evening everyone had made up and we were laughing ourselves silly over a rousing game of Taboo.
I read your comments on my blog and remembered the young years too. Try The Berenstein Bears Get the Gimmies. We used that book and it's story line as a reference point everytime we needed a shot of gratitude. It worked a charm
And just remember they will grow up and you will be having a perfectly lovely christmas and then they will have a teensy little meltdown and call each other horrible names and they will be too old for timeouts and you will eat five thousand chocolate peanut butter balls until they calm down. It is always, no matter what anyone says...always always a mixed bag. Just keep filling it with love as you already obviously do, and everything usually turns out okay in the end....