Hello dear ones! I wanted to send out a short encouragement to moms. Thriving magazine (a Christian magazine for families) had a great article about Pinterest and Mommy Blog envy.It got me thinking. It’s easy in this world of Facebook and Pinterest, to compare ourselves to others. We envy what we believe to be the picture perfect family. We want OUR husbands to act like THOSE husbands. We want OUR children to behave like THOSE kids. We WISH our home looked like THOSE pictures. If only WE could cook like that or craft that way. Friend, don’t do it! Turn back now! Turn off the computer for a month if you need to. There is a much better way to live, I assure you!
Alexey Tyranov [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
One of my favorite verses is 1 Timothy 6:6
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (KJV)
Contentment is something our society desperately lacks. We’ve got godliness to an extent. There are some wonderful faith filled people out there. But contentment is really hard to find. Media and advertisers capitalize on envy. You see it in the ads. You see it on social media. Our society’s thirst for more…for better. This is old news. So what?
Allow me to put words in your mouth one sec please ;). So, Amber, you say, what do we do about this conundrum? Well, dear ones (in my super voice)… Okay…sorry. I’ll quit with that. Seriously, cultivating thankfulness and thanking God for what you DO have is the first step. Then ask the Lord what He wants you to do with what you have. I’m not saying, don’t push yourself or learn from others. Sometimes God asks us to change. What I AM saying, is please don’t trap yourself and your family by trying to be someone you’re not and were never made to be.
I am not against social media. You know I love Mommy blogs and Pinterest. Here’s a suggestion that has helped me and maybe it will help you. I like to pin things that I want to actually try and have hopes of doing. I like pictures and sometimes I pin things just for the fun of looking at them. But I caution you and myself about pinning a bunch of things that just make you drool. If you look at those pins and regret the life God gave you, if you wish you were THAT person, or had THAT life…then slowly back away. If that Mommy blog makes you feel like crap about your own parenting then either unsubscribe or ask God to show you your strengths. It is possible to appreciate another Mom’s strengths and NOT want to BE her.
I get a lot of people who compliment my crafting and I often hear “I wish I was crafty”. Please don’t put yourself and your kids through that. If you hate crafting and have no crafty bone in your body, please don’t stress yourself and others by trying to be a crafty Mom. What is your strength? What are your abilities? If God wants you to branch out in something new, then great. If it’s from God then HE will provide what you need and it won’t be based in envy.
Maybe you are great at cooking and eating healthy. If you’re a homeschooler then use your strength and bake bread with your kids to teach math etc. Or if you’re sporty then use that in your school. You don’t have to know it all. There is nothing wrong with hiring tutors. If your kid loves something that you’re not good at, then get them a class to go to or the stuff they need to teach themselves. Whether a kid homeschools, private schools, or public schools there will be gaps in their education. No one kid can know it all or be taught everything. Kids will naturally do better in some areas and worse in others. If God has called you to homeschool then he will equip you. He doesn’t expect you to change personalities. I will never be sporty. So Michael has been in different programs etc…My gym, karate, flag football…etc. I don’t ride bikes with him. He does that with my Mom and step Dad who are much healthier than me.
Back to Mommy guilt & envy in a sec…I want to touch on spouse envy real quick. When I was newly married, we had close friends that were pregnant the same time we were (I was…lol Chris wasn’t pregnant). Every year they seemed to pop out another kiddo and well, we became infertile. The wife was married to a Pastor’s son that I grew up with. Her hubby was super attentive and planned romantic dates. My husband is a loner and super redneck. He’d rather watch youtube videos and get his Jeep dirty. They stayed with us one weekend and I took the wife out for a pedicure. I was amazed that she had never had one before. She told me that her hubby didn’t like them to be apart for long and she rarely had time to herself. She told me how lucky I was that Chris let me have girl time so much. I was shocked. I realized that day, that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. I happen to love my alone time. I couldn’t stand it if Chris was super clingy. I love romance….but only when I want it lol….not every second. A girl’s gotta have time to think :). Anywho, we parted ways, both being thankful to have the husband God had given us. Over the years as I’ve seen the differences in our family, I’ve learned to be thankful.
Now…Mommy envy. A good bit of my friends are “crunchy” and super healthy. Many have bigger houses and more kids. I admire them for who they are. Sometimes I wish I was Michelle Duggar. I wish I had more patience and was barefoot and always pregnant. The truth is that my only lil girl will probably be my french bulldog Annabelle. Michael may be our only natural child. And though I want to better myself, I really enjoy junk food and video games. There I said it! I like being a night owl. I enjoy having just one kid to chase around and I enjoy how close I am to my son. I like being able to have a flexible lifestyle. I LOVE how my kid can make his own breakfast and let me sleep in a bit. Does that make me a bad mommy? No, I’m just a different Mommy. I blog about crafts and take a million pictures because I love it! It’s not because I want to be famous or make other moms feel insecure. I do this blog thing because I want to and it’s a ministry. I get bored quickly and I can’t stand the monotonous. I love homeschool because it changes each year.
I love this life God has given me. Sometimes I complain and I wish but at the end of the day I wouldn’t want to be you or anyone else. I love my lil house and how the counters are short enough for me. I like the clutter and the art supplies everywhere. People ask how I do it all. Well, I don’t. No Mom does it all. You pick and choose what is important to you. My house is cluttered and honestly it only gets major cleanings before guests visit. Our carpet has paint on it and dog fur. My “office” is a mess. My grandma visited once and made the comment that she always heard that kids with messy houses are happier. Yeah, I felt dandy after that lol.
The truth is, if I tried to have a spotless house, woke up at 5 am, and cooked gourmet dinners every night, then what I am good at, would fall behind. If I had a dozen kids, I probably wouldn’t have time to write a book. I probably wouldn’t bother with intricate crafts. I’d probably be terrified of painting in the house. Sure, if we didn’t have an ark, we wouldn’t have so much animal fur and smells…..but then we also wouldn’t have so many crazy awesome pet personalities to keep us entertained. If we had a bigger house then there would be more to clean…ugg, no thank you!
Okay, so this was my “short” post…..another Amber thing. Hey, I’m a writer :). So I plead with you, be YOU…not me…not the other Mommy bloggers…not the fictional Pinterest Mommy that does everything. What does God want you to do today? You will always fall short in some areas because you are human. You will never be the perfect Mom, wife, or teacher. You can seem to be perfect and completely lack love. Whatever your parenting style is…run with it :). Love God with all your heart and love your family as yourself. At the end of the day, your kids will care more about your love than your superb craft or lesson plan. I’m here with you…learning. I know at the end of my life I won’t say “Oh I wish I had done more crafts.”
I love you dear ones and I pray for you. God made you unique and there are so many beautiful ways you can shine his light in this world. Trying to be someone else is not that way. It’s fun to learn new things, challenge yourself, and heck…even try a celebrity hairstyle. You know your motives….is it fun and to better yourself or is it envy? I challenge you to ask God to try your heart today. What are you thankful for? In what ways are you content? How can you practice contentment and mirror that to your family?
Please leave me some comment love if you will. God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
PS: This was directed towards mommies but others can definitely apply the same principles. Everyone deals with envy sometime in their lives.