Friday, March 19, 2010

For the Insecure Moms Out There

Does the phrase "insecure mom" describe any of you, or is it just me? I used to think I had the motherhood thing in the bag, but then my first kid started walking and talking and it was all downhill from there. I briefly recaptured those "I've got this" feelings when I had my second, but then she started following her brother and I realized it was 2 against 1 and threw in the towel. I know I am not a horrible mother (don't get me wrong, I DEFINITELY have those horrible, very bad, no good days), but I have known for quite a while that my kids have been getting the short end of the stick.

While I have always taken much of the blame for this, I have also blamed my kids. "If only they'd listen to me, I wouldn't yell so much. If only they weren't so nosy, I'd take them into people's homes. If only I knew they'd behave, I'd let them go on/let them have more play dates." Can any mom actually guarantee that her kids will behave?

I started reading the Beth Moore book, "So Long Insecurity, you've been a bad friend to me" about a month ago. After reading the first 2 chapters I thought "Now why am I in this book club reading this book? I am a pretty secure person", but by the second week I realized I suffer from some decent sized insecurities that have stolen a lot of joy from my life and caused me to live a life that is less than what God desires for me.

One of my biggest areas of insecurity is being a mom. I think I always kind of new this, but never really gave it the label "insecurity". There is a chapter in the book that gives a lot of different ways that insecurity makes a fool of us, and the one I most identified with said "Insecurity can cause a mom to be over controlling or just generally out of control". Why do I not always go on play dates or moms groups-because I then have to keep my over controlling OUT OF CONTROL nature hidden, and it really just stresses me out. I know that my kids are not the most horribly behaved children out there. Really, I do know this. Yet I sure don't act like it. I am so worried about every. little. thing. they. do. that I prefer to stay home where they can run free and I can not feel like every eye is on me watching my every mothering move. Do the other moms really even care?? That's another whole insecurity-being self absorbed and thinking all eyes are on me.

Thankfully the "So Long Insecurity" book doesn't just want you to label your insecurities, but deal with them and instead live as women secure in our God given dignity. Thank you Jesus! So I have a lot of work to do, but "He who has begun a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion!"

I read an article in the Focus on the Family magazine, "Thriving Family" that also really spoke to me. It wasn't about insecurity, but guilt, which kind of go hand in hand. Here is a portion of that article:
Guilt is a common emotion among mothers-whether out kids are 17 days or 17 years old. Sometimes guilt comes when we compare ourselves to other mothers. Other times it comes from an ideal we've dreamed up.
One of the best ways to slam the door on guilt is to realize we compare our weaknesses with someone else's strengths. The best guilt buster is to focus on what we do best and humbly build on that.
I love Ephesians 2:10; "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
This verse reminds me that God made me with specific talents. By inviting Jesus to work through me in my parenting role, I will do good works-not identical to other moms, but good works all the same.

It is so easy to fall into the comparison game and that can really fuel a person's insecurities! Stick me in a room with a bunch of mom's and their kids and I will A.) be overly aware of every little thing my kids are doing and B.) be almost equally aware of the kids doing everything "right". Let the games begin! (Ok, occasionally there is a C.) enjoying an evil laugh in my head as a kid that is NOT MINE does something naughty that makes my kids look calm for once.) I have never really thought that when I compare other mom's and their kids to me and my kids I am often letting myself get so stressed that my kids aren't just like all the others, that I don't see the strengths that I have as a mother and that I have passed down to my own kids. Instead I find myself putting my own kids down in front of other moms, or coming down hard on my kids and letting their little friends have their way all the time.

Lots to still deal with and process, but I have wanted to be free from this for so long, I just didn't quite know what I was dealing with!


Amy said...

I read a book awhile back (think it was a youth ministry book!) that said everytime you compare yourself to someone else you lose. Either you don't measure up and feel insecure or you think you're better and then develop arrogance. I find myself in this trap too as a mom, pastor's wife, youth leader (back when I was) etc.

We've had a couple rough playdates lately where my daughter (who is always super laid back) was acting out and not getting along with other kids. Quite surprising as she always seemed be the good kid getting bullied by the bad kids. One of my friends said as moms we need to learn to show extra grace to other moms. These moms are now showing a lot grace to me as I had to show it to them in the past.

I do agree that sometimes it's so much easier to stay home!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog today. I love your honesty, and can relate to how you sometimes feel when you're around other moms and their kids. I feel like I'm so much harder on my kids too when we're around others, cause I don't want my friends thinking my kids can be mean sometimes. A mean, bratty kid tends to reflect badly on the mom, and obviously we want to put our best face forward and appear like we have everything/one in control. :)

Thanks for sharing your struggles of being a mom... wish we could sit down together and talk about our struggles in person (while our kids are fighting over toys in the back!) LOL! Love you, Tami

jonna said...

Amy, I like that idea of showing grace to other moms because you never know when you will need to be shown it yourself!

Tami, I wish we could sit down and talk about it all in person too!!

LJFredricks said...

Jorri, Thanks for stopping by and leaving me that beautiful comment. I actually save those for my "bad"
days (shhh, thats pretty dorky don't tell anyone :) )
Loved your post today (and your other posts LOVED the dentist one)
The insecurities and comparisons are some of the things that most moms struggle with. I always struggle with guilt and labelling myself a failure if things don't work the first time. I look forward to reading more about the study. Maybe its one I should look into!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was a very insightful entry Jonna!! You gave me a lot to think about!
Love and miss ya!
La Shawn

Anonymous said...

jonna mich
you amaze me... we are 2 peas in a pod... seriously .. sometimes it is easier to stay home :) but i can't wait to see the adorable feys this summer and see for myself.. how sweet they are.. love you so.. xoxox laurie