25 April 2006

High Expectations

Sunday morning as I sat outside our chapel calming my toddler, I overheard a mother scolding her child. "Why are you acting like this? You're being such a brat!" she said in a frustrated voice. "I do not come to church for this! We are going back home!" Oh, goodness I thought. I knew the frustration she was feeling so well, and yet I felt badly for the child she was ridiculing. (And, shamefully, I was gratfeul that it wasn't me who was losing it). While I did not recognize her voice, I did her face when she rounded the corner in a hurry. Her eyes fell on mine and I could instantly tell she was embarassed that she had been heard. She dragged her children out the door all the quicker, letting it slam behind her.

This is a woman I'd never expect to raise her voice. She has a quiet demeanor, a sweet voice, and a soft touch with her children. I rarely see her have to leave Sacrament meeting. I've even thought to myself a time or two, "Why can't my children sit quietly in my lap like that?"

How often do we think "If only I was as calm as her, as organized, as talented, as good of a cook, as crafty", etc., etc. I'd subconsciously pinned myself up next to this woman and felt inferior, at least when it came to keeping a calm reign on her children in Sacrament meeting. And come to find out she is as real as I am! She struggles just as I do! Lightbulb moment!

It just reminded me that we tend to be far too hard on ourselves... Our expectations can get pretty lofty at times and we need to remember that life is hard. Motherhood is challenging. Were we able to do it perfectly, there would be no need for the journey.

I hope that the next time we find ourselves in a frazzled state of mind, we'll regroup and just accept that things cannot be in our control all the time. Nor are we alone in our struggles.

22 comments:

Melissa said...

ahhh..things to look forward to:)

are you able to go to jared's wedding this weekend??(probably to far away huh?) i wish i could go!

itybtyfrog said...

Great thoughts!! I always try to remind myself that I am probably comparing my weaknesses to other people's strengths, and of course I am going to come out lacking when I do that. We all have our bad days, and moments, but we also can learn from them and those around us and become better from them.

Kristen said...

Oh, so true. I'm often guilty of that myself; thinking that someone else has it so much more together than I do. This is a good reminder that that isn't always the case.

Lei said...

Mel - no. It is the 2 yr. mark of Mom's death. The boys and I have had it planned out for a while now - spending the wekeend together, visiting Mom's grave and such. And my dad and Jenn will be in GA visiting Gpa and June - so even they won't be there! I told Aunt Cindy how sorry I am that he won't have much family there... she understood, especially since they kind of threw it together last minute...

I still need to get them a gift!!! Yikes!

smartmama said...

so true- its hard being imperfect-my rule is no comparisons- just get up and make each day better

Zoe said...

So true Lei! I am learning not to compare myself to others or the standards that I think they have (like a perfectly clean house, dinner on the table every single night, organized play with their children, etc.) Sometimes I think that this is what the adversary wants us to do . . . he will try his hardest to attack the women!

Stephanie said...

It's easy to let the "if-only's" take over. I do it all the time. I agree 100% with Zoe...the cause of my inferiority complex is due to the adversary. He certainly knows how to take me down a notch. I am constantly telling myself that I am doing my best and Heavely Father is pleased with that.

Gabriela said...

Thanks for this thoughtful post. I think as women we are so hard on ourselves and are constantly comparing ourselves to others in similar circumstances. I don't know why that is part of our make-up. I hope as I grow older and wiser this is something that I will do less and less of, as I know many older women that seem much more comfortable with themselves than younger women I know (myself included).

And, on the flip side, I try to remember that even when no one is listening to how I speak to my children, Heavenly Father always knows how I treat them. Doesn't always keep me from saying something I regret later, but it helps me remember I really don't want to be a hypocrite.

Carrie said...

Women are so hard on themselves. It is easy to forget that we are all in the same boat. Our struggles may be different or even the same, but we all have them that's for sure. This was a great post. It is better to remember how special we are as daughter's of God.

ShelahBooksIt said...

When I'm at church I take my kids to the car before I really lay into them.

lammyann said...

My dear friend gave me some good insight on Sundays for LDS WOMEN with CHILDREN.
She says it's a lot like cross-stitching.
The project seems fun, and the pattern looks easy enough. Picking the colors..every stitch is sometimes tedius and doesn't always make sense, the colors don't always seem like they'll go with what you are working on...Somedays you make great progress, while other days, you rip out, set it aside, or even put it away.... yet when it's finished...and you look at the whole picture... It's a beautiful piece of art.
The same can be said about raising children. Each Sunday, we take them to church, only to spend most of it in the hallway, or cry room, or even outside... wondering why we even bother....because we aren't being spiritually fed... We teach and train things that are a struggle, and sometimes even wonder if it's worth it. We stay at home, or try to work and raise a family, wondering if each thing we do and hope for them is right. We backtrack and do-over and somedays wanna just quit.
BUT in the end... looking at the finished product, the WHOLE picture--- we can see a beautiful piece of artwork.
We're all in this together, gals!

Lei said...

You all have had something profitable to add here... thank you so much for your comments!

Nettie said...

I once heard someone say that when we compare ourselves to others we will only end up prideful or bitter. Great post, Lei. You always make me think!

shannon from rocks in my dryer said...

Oh BOY, I really needed that today. Thank you so much!

sheri said...

Nettie! Thank you so much for that comment! (and all the others, as well) I'm totally going to try to remember that from now on. Perfect!

Doulabean said...

Lei, you always have the best insights. I had a friend once, with a nice spotted past. She hestitated to come back to church because she was so far from perfect. I had to keep reminding her that no one there was any more perfect than her. What she saw on Sunday's were women who put themselves together to go do their best for the Lord...but she had no idea of their pasts, their struggles or their lives beyond that chapel. Watching women strive to be "perfect" is much different from BEING perfect and sometimes we forget that! We're all the same....all daughters of God, doing our best.

Pattie said...

Well said. I agree that we tend to be the judge and jury for ourselves and never think anyone else makes mistakes. I have the same problem. It is comforting to know we are not the only ones who aren't perfect...Nobody is! Great lightbulb momment!

Maine Mom said...

It is hard not to compare oneself to others, myself included. But I am reminded time and time again like in this post (thanks Lei!) that nobody is perfect and we all have weaknesses and challenges to overcome.

kfk said...

I compare myself as well. I know we can't all be perfect all the time and that children get the better of us at some point; I just wish I felt better about handling those times. It helps to know that who we perceive as perfect mothers, have their moments too.

Rachelle said...

Another great and true post!

Gina said...

Fabulous post! Thanks for saying this. I needed to hear it.

Anonymous said...

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