Tuesday, April 10, 2012

learning curve

i've always been a sucker for new years resolutions.  i know lots of people think they are futile, but for me the idea of corporate change and accountability somehow motivates me.  this year was no different.

i typically try to focus on one or two things.  sometimes they are small, like not eating sweets during the day and gorging all night long.  other times i get more serious, more deep. this year my main resolution has been to be a better parent.

it wasn't long ago that b and i were mostly the same.  granted he's always been insanely smarter than myself-- evidenced by the fact that i still don't care know what a mechanical engineer is.  but when we first met, we were fumbling our way through college... we had similar enough goals and ideas about life and really had had a lot of the same life experiences.  for instance, back then we both thought that planning a trip to the UK over spring break was not only a great idea, but that we should fund the said trip by filing our taxes online (which then led to being banned from online filing for the next two years due to some discrepancy about paperwork.  tomatos, tomatoes. all i knew was that we each miraculously had $300 and some change in our account after hitting 'file.'  and really who would have thought this whole concept of 'e-filing' would really take off?)  needless to say, this idea to whimsically file online and not follow up was my idea, but the point is was that b conceded to it.  something i know he would never do now.

fast forward 12 years and b has not only become a partner at his firm, but he also has acronyms at the end of his name and listens to podcasts from harvard business school!  fast forward 12 years for me, and i haven't worked one day in my degree and my idea of intellectual stimulation is the amazing writers of 30 rock.  the point i'm trying to drive in is that brandon is really, really good at his job.  can you see where this is going?

its hard for me to even get in the space of 'my job' as being a stay at home mom.  i don't typically like the conversations i hear about it, and if i'm honest i always preface my title with a just in front of it.  i've heard all the racket about how stay at home mom's have 'the most important jobs' and 'we are raising the next generation' and 'what a privilege and honor it is to stay at home.'  i will concede that all of these are very true.  especially the bit about it being a privilege to stay home.  i don't say it nearly enough, but seriously not a day goes by where i don't thank god for being able to do what i do with, and for my family.  i find it frustrating that society is so two-faced about it.  on one hand it seems as though my job is very prestigious and esteemed, yet  every day i feel like i'm barely making a difference... barely affecting my kids the way i should be... barely able to do the mundane tasks i'm called to.  i'm frustrated that i always put that 'just' in front of my title.

so instead of settling for mediocrity in it all... i decided this year my new years resolution was to be really, really good at my job.  god has called me to be a mother and a wife.  first.  first before my email, first before the spin class i'm dying to take, first before talking on the phone with my friends, and first before my bad ass (second) career as the greatest realtor around.

thankfully my first step was to do something i do pretty ding dang good... read.  i started digging in to some of the great parenting books.  however, i started to realize that while they all seem great while i was reading them, before the dust even settled on the pages i'd already forgotten all the magic they held.  i don't know why it took me so long to realize that i really needed jesus to be a better parent.  how quickly i forget.  before i became a christian i tried and failed miserably to change.  i tried to quit partying so much, fail.  i tried to not be so insecure, fail.  i tried to not be gossipy and jealous, fail.  it wasn't like my coming to faith made me perfect by any means, but by the power of the holy spirit i really began to see change in my behaviors and thinking.  i can't tell you how freeing it was.

perhaps my biggest motivator and also biggest failure was realizing that my ideas about success in my job were contingent on the behavior of my children.  i was starting to see things that i really didn't like in the way they were turning out. parenting was getting harder instead of easier.  i felt like i was doing my best but wasn't getting the results i wanted.  unlike my husband, his success led to pay raises, a better car, daily pats on the back.  my success's were measured in potty training, sleeping through the night and good manners but my failures were like a slap in the face with every temper tantrum, bad attitude, and bratty behavior.  in my quest for knowledge b and i took a parenting class through our church.  there was soooo much good stuff in it, but the one thing that really struck me more than any of it was one simple, obvious statement.

you are raising imperfect children to become imperfect adults.

duh, right?  i couldn't believe i had never realized this.  i can't tell you how embarrassing and humbling it was to realize that i might have been trying to raise perfect people.  i mean, i know they aren't perfect but i think i honestly thought they might be if i just tried a little harder or did something a little different.  i wasn't able to understand that kids do kid things.  they blow it all the time.. just like me.   that little bitty undeniable sentence set me free in a way that no book has come close to.  for the first time in a long time i felt a freedom that allowed me to do my very best but not let the outcome affect my efforts.

so you need jesus to be a better parent? i need jesus for everything.  but yes, i am realizing i  have to be more prayerful.  i have to be around people that are seeking the same outcome i am.  i have to seek out moms that take their calling as a mom and a wife as their highest priority.  i need to talk it out and be held accountable.  and really, more than anything, i need the time each day to heal my own heart and search out my own shortcomings by humbly coming before the god i love and asking for forgiveness and assistance.  for the first time in my life i really feel like i'm understanding dependence on him in a way i haven't yet known.  and instead of feeling frantic, i feel free.  free to finally be the mom and wife that will be glorifying to my god and have that be enough.  cuz nothing is more worth that sacrifice than these faces:


The Calamond Connection said...

Love this post. Thank you for sharing. I also have been struggling with my new role of stay-at-home mom. I preface my job to those that ask with what I used to do instead of embracing what my new calling and privelege is. And I am struggling with the imperfections of my parenting. I really appreciate the line "we are raising imperfect children to become imperfect adults." I agree, "duh". I have been too wrapped up in perfecting my kids. Really appreciate your view and insight on this topic. Couldn't have come at a better time for me.

Anonymous said...

pure truth...good to read and be reminded...miss your face.


Anonymous said...

Holly once again you are so relatable! Thank you for sharing this and thank you for the reminder. That one sentence that changed your view, gave you freedom or helped you better yourself as a parent...was so nice to read. I needed to hear/ read/remember that as well. It's helped my perspective since reading your post yesterday. Love that your back to blogging! Mariah:)

Sheila said...

Hi Holly, You know, I don't think there is a lot of difference between how 'stay at home' moms or 'work outside the home' moms feel about the challenges of raising our kids. We all do the best we can, and our efforts are indeed imperfect. I think that one of the most important parts of being a good mom is the example we set by our own actions and behaviors. And you do an incredible job at that.

This blog is absolutely, uniquely wonderful and awesome. You bring such holy, earthy, INTELLIGENT (don't ever 'dis' your brains young lady!) observations to your community of readers. You benefit us and we are entertained, enlightened and come away more reflective people.

Keep up the great work! You are doing a great job! You are one of the highest ranked employees of the Motherhood Inc.! And, we love you for it.