Do you ever get frustrated or angry with yourself when you can’t do something that you think you should be able to do?
When I worked as an elementary education teacher I met some really great friends that formed a “Mom’s Group.” We were all expecting our children at about the same time and we wanted to support each other in the challenges and joys of parenting.
By the time our second wave of having children came around we had this idea that we were going to really do it differently this time. We were determined to be “back to the basics” parents. Making our own baby food, only using cloth diapers, no media/technology, only manual stimuli. We had concrete plans and discussions for how we were going to parent and we committed to ourselves and each other to not veer from the course. No store-bought baby food for us.
I was determined. If they could do it, so could I!
Cloth diapers in hand and fresh vegetables to be made into baby food, I was prepared.
I set aside Thursdays as my day of domestication. Baby food making commenced. Quickly
the stench of scorched green beans so burnt they crumbled upon touch filled the house (along with a significant amount of smoke). Throwing the pot away was the only viable option.
Then, I decided to tackle the diaper pail. Cloth diapers were “all the rage.”
Guess what happens when you don’t change the water like every other day?
Yep, maggots. Which completely freaked me out. (This was long before you could google “how to use cloth diapers” and apparently I missed a lesson in cloth diaper etiquette).
I threw the entire mess away. Drove to the nearest grocery store, and admitted defeat.
Domestication was clearly not for me. I was embarrassed and felt like a failure. For days I nursed my wounded ego because I didn’t feel like I was a “good enough mom” because I couldn’t do what my friends were doing.
I’d like to invite you to finish these sentences . . . and seriously, do more than just read them. Perhaps read through them, then go back, read them again, and this time fill in your thoughts as if you were literally answering the statement out loud.
“My image of perfection for myself is . . .”
“My image of the perfect spouse/partner is . . .”
“My image of the perfect best friend is . . .”
“My image of the perfect co-worker is . . .”
“My image of the perfect boss is . . .”
“My image of the perfect church is . . .”
We all have images of “the perfect” something . . . When we create these “perfect” images, we then have expectations that those images are lived into, and that’s where we get into trouble.
Our image of perfection is the reason that we reject ourselves, feel as if we are “not enough,” and is why we do not accept ourselves as we are. We think we (and others in our lives) SHOULD be a certain way. Because we believe we are supposed to be a certain way, we get frustrated and angry when we don’t achieve that. We often then try to be something we are not, trying to live into our ideas of perfection or the ideas of perfection that others have set for us. Each time we do this, we are setting ourselves up for failure, anger, and disappointment.
We are created by God to be uniquely ourselves, not having expectations and judgment towards ourselves when we don’t measure up to standards set by ourselves and others.
What standards do you need to challenge today?