Ok, the “three day test” is over. And you know what I learned? That self-measurement is a waste of time. As I looked at my marriage, children, my house, my groceries and my business, how do I measure “success?” Is it in the way I feel? The way everyone feels? Or is it by some standard of perfection I will never reach (set forth by my culture)?
I wanted three days to focus on my family and marriage because I felt disconnected. During these three days I intentionally got on the floor and played My Little Ponies. I ate out at restaurants more often because it was time spent with my family and I wasn’t stressed out from the prep and clean up. I also stayed off
DramaBook Facebook. While Josh took the children to Tae Kwon Do I relaxed and snuck some social media in on my phone. All that happiness I enjoyed began to dissipate. I should never have turned it on during my break! I read something someone enjoyed and compared it to my life, felt unhappy. Then saw a post that angered me and overreacted emotionally.
I have to limit recreational time on Social Media
As a writer, I need to disperse my writing. That means co-promoting posts from other bloggers so they promote mine. That also means sharing my posts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and engaging on those platforms. While this can be a really fun part of my job, I realize my weakness and must be wiser with my time on-line. I’ve said it before – I struggle with comparing my life to others. While I have made huge progress, it is still my Achilles heal. And like Roo said, social media is the worst place to find people to compare myself to. Limiting my recreational time online will help me control my reaction to things and be more aware of the time-suck it can be.
I am burning the measuring stick
What ruler do I use to measure my success or failure as a wife or mother? I am going to rely on my husband more and myself less for this. There have been so many times lately that I freak out over something and Josh looks at me incredulously, holds his hands up and says, “ok, well, if it means that much to you….” and allows me to wallow in my freak out. If the house is a wreck, he doesn’t mind, my children don’t mind, my friends don’t mind. So why do I? Good question. If my children don’t sit still in church, no one cares except me. I keep referencing this imaginary ruler – and failing. This ruler is not found anywhere, I don’t know where I find the standards to live up to – is my house tidy? Are my children excelling (not just learning) in school? Are they well rounded? Are they polite? How many date nights do I go on each month? How much time do I spend with him? The questions go on and on. And they don’t matter. They only stress me out.
Partner-reviews are more important
I value Josh’s input, but during this break I realized how wise and important his point of view is! When I presented him with the idea, he had no idea why I needed it. To him, I was doing just fine. As much as I love him and respect him, I didn’t know how little weight I gave his opinion sometimes. Wait Josh, I can’t be doing a good job right now because I work too much!” Maybe, he says, but I am happy when I work and it brings so much benefit to our family, so he thinks I’m doing just fine. If my partner and the father to my children thinks I am doing well, I need to relax and enjoy his approval, not criticize it.
When I pray and focus on Christ, I am more centered, more focused on the blessings instead of the mess. I must surround my mind with thoughts of gratitude, joy and truth. By turning my thoughts to ones of purity and grace I can enjoy the tiny blessings I otherwise gloss over in my search for errors.
Show my love
By watching my social media reactions and time spent online, by intentionally snuggling with my children, making them a meal I think will help them grow healthy, I will show my love. Also? Love does not keep score. I am not going to give with the hope of getting the same back. Love gives because love must or it isn’t love.