I’ve been unemployed for just over a month now. Yet, among job searches, school lunches and family dinners, I find myself feeling that I am living a life I never thought I’d deserve-life is just that good right now!
I’ve been more disconnected from the world than I had been since joining the online social frenzy years ago. I log onto my facebook but I do so to share what I feel the need to share and I no longer look longingly at picture perfect meals that are posted or extravagant family vacation photos that are being shared.
It isn’t that I don’t care for what my friends are sharing, it’s that I’ve found that admiring the polished aspect of other people’s lives that they choose to share, often leads to my comparing my real life to it and I inevitable become discouraged!
I mean, it isn’t that I consider myself a failure by any means but it isn’t in my nature to be competitive, either. Not to sound presumptuous, but I’ve always only attempted being better than myself and I don’t view anyone else as competition.
So, when I began feeling discouraged over facebook posts about other people’s seemingly perfect cooking and perfect lives, it made me question myself.
Why do I care what other people post or which aspect of their lives they choose to show the world? The answer came to me while having a conversation with my son today. He said “Mom, you gave me the best gift anyone could ever give me”! He had been outside working on his truck so I figured, he was referring to it since he does love his truck-a bit much if you ask me. 😉
Instead, he said “I inherited your brains and resourcefulness. You know there is little I can’t fix?” That my friends made me realize that the reason I question myself and compare my life to that of those people on my facebook feed is because I want to be the best parent that I can be because I feel that my kids deserve no less!
The thought of other people out there being better parents than I am, intimidates me! It makes me wonder whether I’m doing this whole parenting thing right. I mean, even realizing that it’s been years since we took a family vacation or did anything worthy of a facebook post made me feel discouraged about my life.
As if I weren’t already doubting myself enough, the other day, I read a blog post on the topic of how centered parenting has become on pleasing our children and on how much we tend to sacrifice, as parents, to provide them the things we feel we lacked when we were growing up. It explained how doing so has enabled most children to grow up with a sense of entitlement.
That article made me doubt my parenting skills so much that, for a moment, I was convinced I’ve ruined my children for the rest of their lives because while I don’t over indulge them with material possessions or extravagant family vacations, I do make it a point to provide my children with all the love, security and understanding that I never had as a child.
I thought “Oh, good Lord! I knew I was doing it all wrong, I knew I should re-think that whole corporal punishment thing and perhaps come up with some new rules around here so that I can begin enforcing them as soon as possible”. >.<
Days passed and the guilt of what a poor job I was doing kept nagging at me in the back at my mind. Then, this past weekend, my little one and I drove to our local Walmart and as we were leaving, I asked her if she was hungry so we could grab a snack because it’d be a while until we got home and she replied "No. But can we buy a snack and a drink for him?" while looking out the window at an older man who was sitting on the curb with a cardboard sign that read "Homeless veteran, please help".
We drove across he street and grabbed him a hot meal and a nice cold drink. As soon as we handed them over to him, my little one said "I feel good about this, Mom. I know we're not supposed to do things to feel good about ourselves but rather to help others feel better about themselves but I just can't help feeling really good about helping him."
In that moment, all doubt I had about whether I'm doing a good parenting job left my mind and my heart was filled to the brim with joy at the realization of how fortunate I am to have such an amazing human being call me Mom!
From that experience, I learned that what I need to keep in mind is that no one is playing with marked cards here, no one knows exactly what they are doing or has all the secrets to perfect parenting, or perfect living. We are all learning as we go and I'm pretty sure, we are all just as afraid of all the ways in which we fear we might be doing it all wrong.
So, I've decided that rather than compare my life to other people's, I'm going to continue enjoying it just as it is and I will continue being grateful for it all!!
Be still, my heart! Be still!! (: