By Sabrina Schlesinger
I am the convenience queen! Anything that makes my life and schedule a little easier to juggle, I am all about it. But I wasn’t always this way. For years I carried guilt that I wasn’t as good of a mom and wife because I seemed to lack some of the basic skills that came so easy to apparently everyone else (or at least it appeared that way). I wasn’t a good cook, I wasn’t crafty, I didn’t love the baby stage, I didn’t do laundry well, and the list could go on and on. On top of that, I struggled with my weight after having kids, experienced a ton of hair loss (on an already thin and fine head of hair), struggled with acne (even though I was WELL past my teenage years) and never felt like I was the living up to the cute Instagram mom that I saw all over my feed.
Anyone else relate?
Mom guilt was something I dealt with constantly, and in some ways I would say it morphed into Mom shame. The expectations I had placed upon my self to measure up to ridiculous standards and comparing myself to others who were at such a different place then me left me crippled in my motherhood, sucking the joy out of my life. I knew enough to know this kind of living and thinking was not healthy, and I wanted to model security, confidence, and self-acceptance to my daughters, knowing they would have to face similar issues, so I knew I had to make some changes.
So here are two things I did to change my thinking:
1. I stopped comparing myself to others
The biggest thief of my joy and security is when I compare myself to others and don’t love how God made me. In fact, I came to realize that when I compare, I am actually making an indictment against God, accusing Him of making a mistake when He made me. Which is pretty arrogant to say, think, or imply when I think about it!
Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
I LOVE this verse. It reminds me that when God formed me in my mother’s womb, He–with fear and trembling–put me together. He chose to give me brown eyes and olive skin. He chose to give me big lips and brown hair (that I have made blonde for the time being). He chose to place inside of me passions and desires, a distinct personality, and skills that would come naturally to me. He impressed Himself and took His own breath away when He formed and fashioned me. And I love Him for that! How can I, the creation and product of His love, look at Him and complain about me? When I see me through His lens of love, I learn to love myself even more.
I am uniquely me. I am not you. If I try to be you, then I can’t be me and fulfill the purposes of God for my life.
2. I picked my battles.
I am a horrible cook. Some of you are amazing, and I think that is awesome, but cooking does not come naturally for me, and quite frankly I don’t enjoy it at all. This is me, and I have come to terms with it, and more than that, I embrace it! My husband is happy with who I am and the gifts and talents I DO have. We find ways to make it work, and it works for us, and our family! I should write a book on how to feed your family when you don’t cook! Better yet, how to make a thanksgiving meal without lifting a finger! LOL! I have done it all!!!
I have had to decide whether or not I am going to let myself get all stressed out because of my limitations as a mom, or if I will focus on the more important things I can do well. There are plenty of modern conveniences today that make up for any and all of my shortcomings as a mom. From grocery delivery (thank you Boxed Wholesale), to Costco meals; from house cleaners to friends who love to do crafts with my kids. There are ways I can make up for the things I don’t do well and I don’t have to stress about it for even one second.
The point is, I DON’T have to do it all. I just have to do what I do well and let some of the lesser things go. I am not sure what it is for you, but whatever it is, be sure to give yourself a break. Don’t kill yourself trying to live up to ideals that are only achievable on a social media feed. Get inspired, share ideas, but lay down the expectation you put upon yourself to be all things to your children. It does take a village, so utilize the village of friends and family around you to shore up the areas you may not be a 10 in!
What are the areas that you need to let go of? What things have you been doing that stress you out because they are not your gift? Can you let it go? Can you get help? If you answered, “No” to those last two questions, then you need to surround yourself with some new friends and a support group you can talk with to help you overcome the state of mind you are in. If you don’t already belong to a church, find a good Christian, bible-based church that has good small groups! Then join one! If you don’t like the first one you try, don’t give up until you find one that is the right fit. (Or maybe you are supposed to start one?!) And then be deliberate to build friendships and relationships so you can have a village around you to help with your kids. As much as you need others, they also need you and the strengths you bring to the table. None of us are to do this alone. We all need one another.
So don’t sweat the small stuff, sister! “… Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;” Matthew 6:38 (NKJV)
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
Don’t forget who you are and who created you. You are all together beautiful my darling!
Sabrina is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is also a pastor’s wife, freelance graphic designer and mom coach! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-n-cheese over vegetables, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!