Monday, May 21, 2012

Ideal vs. Best

I'm an idealist.  One of my professors told me so.  I like being an idealist.  I like thinking the impossible and then seeing it through to fruition.  I like proving people wrong when they tell me I can't do something and the satisfaction I get through having worked hard and done exactly what I had conjured up in my mind - like being a Biblical counselor who sets my own days and hours.  Yeah, that same professor told me that'd never be possible...

Idealism can be good.

But it can also wreak havoc on your life if you let it.  I've seen this side of the coin.

I have this picture in my mind of the ideal mom.  Perhaps you do too.  In my mind, she's always put together, as are her children.  She's healthy and trim.  Her house is always in order.  She leads the women's Bible study and volunteers at vacation bible school.  She's never behind on laundry and dishes, yet somehow never misses an opportunity to play with her kids.  She's crafty, an entrepreneur that can bring in extra income while still being at home.  She's always submissive and respectful to her husband.  Her kids are never out of line or having a meltdown in the middle of Wal-mart.  She has home cooked meals every night and enjoys baking with her kids.  She's frugal, content, humble, and a walking example of what a Godly woman should look like.  Simply put, she has it all together and is a joy to be around.

I'm an idealist.

But I'm not that woman.

Sure, there are certain elements of her that I possess - like loving to cook and enjoying baking with the kids.  But for the most part, I struggle to be this ideal woman.

A week or two ago, I realized something.

I don't need to be her.

I just need to be me.

When the floors are so dirty there's grit on the bottom of my feet...

It's okay.

When I'm behind on laundry and it keeps mounding higher and higher....

It's okay.

When I'm peeling stickers off the kitchen floor and living room door.....

It's okay.

When the dishes keep ever increasing in the sink....

You know what?  It's okay!

When I'm disciplining the kids for being disrespectful, unkind to each other, lying, or whatever other offense and I'm exhausted at the task before me.....

It's okay.

When it's 30 minutes before company arrives and I'm still running around the house doing last minute vacuuming and making beds that never get made unless company is coming....

That's okay too.

When the yard needs mowed, I'm running late getting Anna to soccer practice, when I miss a day (or 2) of jogging, I can't figure out what to make for dinner, and I get to the end of the day and realize I forgot my morning Bible study....

It'll be okay.

Why?  Because I don't have to live up to the "ideal mom".  I just have to be the best mom I can be.

Is this an excuse to be lazy, never seeking improvement or the bettering of oneself?  Absolutely not.  It's why I force myself to go jogging when I don't want to, why I usually get up 20-30 minutes before the kids so I can do my Bible study in peace, why I try to stay on top of the dishes and laundry and sweeping of the floors.  I'm always seeking improvement.

But there's a distinct difference between seeking improvement of oneself and trying to be someone you're not.

That's where I've found myself.

I'm tired of trying to be this fictional woman I've created in my head.  Perhaps she exists somewhere.  I just know it's not within me.

I want to rest in the goodness of who God made me to be.

Instead of always worrying whether or not I need to unload the dishwasher, I want to be able to let it go and sit down for a game of Uno or Guess Who with my daughter.

Instead of focusing on the impending laundry that needs to be folded, I want to be snuggled up on the couch with my babies watching Cars 2 or Barbie: The Princess and the Pauper for the 58th time.

Rather than worrying about the floors needing swept and mopped, I want to go outside and watch my kids play.  I want to abandon what my neighbors might think of me when they see me sitting in the kiddie pool splashing around with my kids.

I don't want to miss out on life because I'm trying to be someone I'm not.

Hear me out.  There is a time for sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning toilets, washing, hanging and folding laundry.  There's a time for all of that.  It's necessary.  Part of being a good wife and mother dictates that these things must be done.  It's Biblical.

The problem is when we focus more on that than we do on being there for and with our kids and husband.

Dirty floors, lots of dishes and laundry, and wet footprints through the house are a reflection of all God has blessed me with.  It means I have a husband and kids for whom I get the privilege of caring for (although it can, at times, be a daunting task).

I want to be the best Phoebe possible.

And that means that although I'm an idealist, at some point, I have to be a realist.

And the realist in me says:

It's okay to not always have everything in order.  When my kids are grown and out of the house, I can have my house back.  I can have clean floors and less laundry.

But while they're little.....  I don't want to miss it.

I don't want to miss out on life because I'm focused on being a fictional woman I've created in my mind.

I just want to rest in who I am and in pursuing who God wants me to be.

And that, my friends, is good enough for me.

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