Wednesday marked the official start of Lent and as a result, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were chock full of people declaring what they planned to "give up" for the seven-plus weeks leading up to Easter.
|I took my daughter on a date to Starbucks. Don't judge.|
I do not belong to a church that requires this practice, though in years past I have observed it simply because I think it is a good exercise in sacrifice and self-discipline. So I started thinking... are there any intangible things that I could cease doing for Lent? Better yet, are there any things that I could stop doing/thinking/saying permanently? I came up with a few that relate to my role as a Mom. Maybe these apply to you as well.
As Moms, we should really stop...
Comparing ourselves to other moms. It helps to have a support group that is always cheering you on in your endeavors as a parent and to block out the negativity. Most moms are actually pretty good at finding the right people for this support system. In fact, a mom's worst enemy is often herself. In every category from body image to kids' success at school, moms put the pressure on themselves to be "perfect." If not perfect, at least pretty darn good. The truth is that if we care enough to beat ourselves up over our choices, we care enough. We do not need to use other parents as measuring sticks for our own successes; We just need to be ourselves.
Resenting our kids and family lives. Yes, I did just go there. In general, I do not resent my daughter, stepchildren, being pregnant or being married. If I was speaking in surface terms, I would say that "I'm happy." There are moments, however subtle, when I feel some level of resentment. It's usually when I see the very same blanket that I folded three minutes earlier toppled back on the bedroom floor or have to pause my writing when I'm a roll because someone (could be any of three someones) is yelling through the house for me to come wipe their butt. I'm frustrated, if only for a moment, and then I feel guilty. I cannot control my emotions in every situation, but it doesn't hurt to remind myself from time to time that being a mom and wife are blessings in my life and that for every bad blanket or poopy butt moment, there are even more pretty sweet ones.
Judging others. This is sort of the flip-side of my first point. Watching my daughter's ballet class each week, I listen to a group of three moms who spend the hour discussing things about their other 'friends' that they do not like. I often wonder what the three say about each other when they are apart. Even as I'm writing this, I'm sensing my own tone of judgment regarding the way that these grown women -- these mothers -- behave. Parents are passionate about issues that relate to their kids and while there is nothing wrong with that, we should not have to cut down others to give ourselves clout. Our decisions should stand on their own and we should redirect any judgmental energy towards the real people that matter in our everyday lives.
I feel like I need a pulpit. Or at least a soapbox. Thanks for reading this far. Have a lovely Lent!