Saturday, December 28, 2013

striving for grace, not perfection

striving for grace, not perfection

I found it! A mantra for me! My new words to live by. These are the words that I PROMISE I will repeat over and over in my head, every day.

When my husband rolls his eyes at something I said, I promise to take a breath, apologize for being bossy/crabby/snooty/what-have-you, and redirect my earlier statement/request/grouchy comment.

When my mom disagrees with me in that most annoying way, where I feel like she is eternally judging me and like I will never be who she wants me to be (or at least be as easy to get along with and laid-back as my sister), I promise to take a breath, and check myself to make sure that I am being true to myself and my family but in a very graceful, compassionate, and calm way. And then I will carry on.

When the voices in my head are screaming - literally screaming at me - that I am not doing ANYTHING right (not making dinner enough so that my sweet husband can take a break from that chore, not getting the house organized in the way I want it to be, not getting the house clean like I want it to be, not folding that dang pile of clean clothes that has been sitting on the loveseat in our livingroom for almost two whole days now, not getting caught up on the girls' pictures, not writing enough in their baby books, not going to yoga frequently enough, not getting those dang quizzes graded tonight, not being SuperMom, SuperWife, and SuperDaughter) I PROMISE to repeat this mantra seventeen times just to make those voices STOP. I will also give myself a little hug and take twelve deep breaths, because wow - those voices are HARD to stop.

When my little love, Bear, throws a temper tantrum I will repeat this mantra and also remind myself that a three-year-old will be a three-year-old and that it is not necessarily my fault (and therefore a reflection of my parenting skills) that she is throwing this temper tantrum. Maybe I did a perfect transition, gave her two wonderful choices to choose from, spoke to her with a smile on my face and a loving tone in my voice...but a three-year-old will just throw a tantrum anyway. Totally not my fault. And it does not mean I am a less-than-perfect mom. It means I am a wonderful mom whose family members sometimes have shining moments and sometimes have cloudier moments. And no mom is perfect.

When my littlest love, Lambie, can't sleep through the night, or can't NOT be with me, I will not interpret this as my inept parenting skills and inability to parent "correctly." Rather, I will repeat this mantra and tell myself that her clinginess this week can be the cause of so many things: teething, feeling under the weather (daddio just had the flu, after all), stress of the holidays (I have heard over and over that children pick up on the stress of the holidays, right?), lack of routine (being a teacher, I am on winter vacation right now and the lovies are not spending their days with my mom), etc. etc. She just needs these extra snuggles from me and I will give her what she needs. Because truthfully, it is also what I need.

I will not get worked up - hot, angry, disrespectful - when I have a conflict with my husband, my mom, or myself. I will carry on. I will be graceful. I will not try to be my version of perfect, or what I worry is their version of perfect (even though both my mom and my husband are always telling me that perfect does not the heat of the moment I always fear that I am not being who they think I should be). Because PERFECT DOES NOT EXIST. I will be myself. A graceful version of myself. A person who loves hard, feels deeply, and TRIES REALLY HARD.

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.