So you may be wondering what posts about judging have to do with being a so-so mom. The short answer? A lot! I felt it was important for you to understand the general stance I have come to about judging before reading this post, so if you haven't read 'Why We Need to Quit Not Judging,' please do so.
During my first few years of motherhood, I was overly concerned with how other moms were judging me and told myself what they thought about me from certain looks or other not-so-definitive words or actions. There were very few incidents in which I had any real evidence that someone was being critical of me. I also spent a lot of time judging other moms and frequently coming to the conclusion that they were better moms than I was. Other times I judged harshly to get that, "Whew,-at-least-I'm-doing-better-than-that-mom!" feeling. It was all about how I thought I appeared to be doing as a mother
This is the type of judgement that destroys us. Judging ourselves against others in a way that makes us feel we aren't good enough eats away at our confidence. On the flip side, judging others for the sole purpose of lifting ourselves up is a false attempt at building self-esteem.
I can't exactly tell you how I arrived at a place in which I can face motherhood with confidence even when I know there are a lot of things I could do better. But I can tell you that it is a good place to be and I hope knowing you need to get there is half the battle. I think it is important to look at your mothering choices as well as those of others with deep introspection. This is an exercise in staying rational and avoiding the emotional. It is possible to analyze without condemning.
For example, I can judge myself about how many times I have fed my kids hotdogs recently and realize I need to do less of it. I gave them apples with their chicken fries tonight. I realize this is a pretty minimal step up from hotdogs, but you get the point; I am working on it without going completely off the deep end, flipping out at them for being picky, and serving them healthy crap they are never going to eat. I also don't feel the need, as some apparently do, to get on-line and pretend my kids eat hummus and avocados for lunch. I apologize for sounding a little snarky here, but I just don't believe any kids eat this stuff! I no longer get too worked up about what they eat. Some of them would blow away in the wind if they were any skinnier, so I have come to the realization that I can relax about food because, trust me, I have bigger fish to fry!
What do you beat yourself up about that you need to stop and analyze more calmly?
I am really interested in learning about and understanding my personality type in all its wonderful, albeit chaotic, glory. I have discovered the reason I find this topic so compelling is, ironically, due to my personality type.
My favorite personality test is at www.16personalities.com. It is short, has a sliding scale, and only a couple of questions that are difficult to understand completely. I am an ENTP, which is fairly rare. Only three percent of the population has this personality type. The letters stand for extroverted, intuitive, thinking, and prospecting. Each trait has an opposite and those are introverted, observant, feeling, and judging. The various combinations of each trait result in sixteen different types. There are a number of other sites that are based on the Myers-Briggs personality types, as this one is, but it's free and most are not.
The most important thing I read about myself after the test is this:
ENTPs enjoy the mental exercise found in questioning the prevailing mode of thought, making them irreplaceable in reworking existing systems or shaking things up and pushing them in clever new directions. However, they'll be miserable managing the day-to-day mechanics of actually implementing their suggestions.
I am constantly dreaming up better ways to go about doing just about everything. I fail miserably at actually implementing very many of them. I literally laughed out loud at myself when I read this. Knowing that this is an innate part of who I am helped me to stop striving to be a detail-oriented, get-things-done type. I still try to take baby-steps in that direction, but I now realize that it is not something I just need to try harder to accomplish.
The best example of this for me is my 4-H story. I hated the way our 4-H club (and all clubs in general) did things. I just knew there was a better way that would create more harmony and enjoyment for everyone involved. After a failed and extremely ugly attempt to make some changes within our club, my husband finally decided that we simply needed to create our own club and do it my way. (He may have had serious concerns about my mental health and I am sure I was not too pleasant to live with during that time.) Fast forward a few years and I love our club, and apparently, so do many others because we have quickly become one of the largest clubs. But I stink at managing the details that have to be taken care of and I hate that. I hate doing it and I hate how poorly I do it. Thank goodness for my ESTJ hubby!
I am always going to hate that I am horribly disorganized and lack the ability to follow through with things the way I would like. However, I love that I am never going to run out of new ideas. I cherish that more now because I had not previously realized that not all people came up with new ideas all the time. I also know that a perfect package type of personality does not exist. Each type has its downfalls and strengths.
Do you sometimes drive yourself crazy and ask yourself why you keep doing things a certain way even though you would like to do them differently? Do you intellectually understand how you need to make a change, but for the life of you, just can't seem to do it? If so, I guarantee a personality test will provide you with some incredible insight. Please give it a try and tell me all about it in the comments or on Facebook!
I am the mother of seven children ranging from teens to a toddler, living out in the middle of nowhere, USA. I aim to hone the craft of giving advice without pretending to have this whole mom thing figured out. I am Christian, but not the really nice kind that is good at it. I am also conservative, but I promise not to be in your face with political agendas very often. I like to infuse humor into my writing, so don't freak out if you are offended or appalled by what you read here. There is a very fine line between serious advice and sarcastic hyperbole.