Most of my life I have struggled with feeling not enough, or too much. Two extremes, but I think most insecurities can be placed in either category. Too emotional. Not neat enough. Too loud. Not contemplative enough. Too intellectual. Not healthy enough. Too lazy. Not skinny enough. Too much crying. Not motivated enough. And now that I’m a mom, I have a whole other category of insecurities to tack onto the list, and it gets even more irrational. Too uptight. Not uptight enough. Too laid back. Not laid back enough. Too tired. Not able to make the right foods. Too detached (vs. attached parenting). Not able to care about nursing long enough. Too lazy. Not natural enough.
It’s really hard not to live consumed by the fear that by not co-sleeping, or not nursing long enough, or not fermenting certain foods, or letting my child continue drinking milk from a bottle past a certain age, or not teaching her the alphabet by age two, or letting her watch a cooking show with me even though she shouldn’t watch tv, or preferring not to play with my child every second of every day, or not being able to cloth diaper even though everyone else in the world can, or not caring about natural childbirth even though everyone else in my world does….that by doing or not doing these things I’m somehow failing, or irreparable damage will be done to my kids. Terms like gut health, emotional stability, separation anxiety, food sensitivities, all-natural, superfood, and the like fill me with dread and guilt.
And you know what? It’s all bullshit anyway. (Sorry! I know, I just said bullshit.) But it is. I mean, to an extent. I will admit that all of these things are important, especially when it’s something that you care about. But the fear and the insecurity and guilt that comes along with the over-discussion, and the hype, and the trends and the fads, and the pressure, and the terms that get thrown around, are complete bull…oney. So my style of parenting doesn’t fall into one of the “methods”. So I can’t handle making my own yogurt just yet. So Eliza doesn’t get cultured everything, or fermented anything. None of the moms I know or can handle interacting with are putting pressure or guilt on me for not doing these things. But I feel it nonetheless. And that‘s where it all becomes a load of crap.
Because these things, while important, are and always will be secondary. I can and will try to do my very best, but my best cannot save my kids. I could do everything right, and they could still die. The fear I feel over these things of secondary importance is a trap and a lie, a ploy to distract me from that which is of first importance. Eliza needs Jesus. And God is the one who has numbered her days, and knew her before the world began. Not me. She could have the healthiest gut in the world, but have a heart that’s far from him and that’s all that really matters. I also know that, for all my lack of method, I am exactly the mother my children will need. God chose me to be their mom, and them to be my kids.
So I don’t really know where to go from here. I still want to do things better. I wish I could learn to be free from insecurity by being able to do all the things I want to do, perfectly, and just simultaneously being able to trust that God knows the days of my children, and he will protect them from both my failures and my successes. I hate that learning to trust God means needing to trust him, because I can’t ever seem to do this as well as almost everyone else I look at. (I know that everybody else feels the same way, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still convinced that my house is the dirtiest, etc.)
So I’m just hanging out here, feeling like a failure, but trying to live free. Let’s live free from fear. Let’s care about these secondary things, but in their proper places. Okay?
1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training (or healthy eating, or attachment parenting, or gut health, or natural childbirth, or a clean house, or…whatever) is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”