I am not a fun mom. All the other moms let their kids do fun things all the time. And my poor kids are suffering. Or at least that's what my kids always tell me.
It's true that I am not a naturally fun person, at least in the sense of being playful. I don't think I'm dull. And I don't actually believe that my kids suffer (at least not most days.) But true enough, I've never been accused of being the life of the party. I'm naturally cautious. I'm an organized, play by the rules kind of person. And I'm not one to like too much spontaneity. I mean, I do like being spontaneous from time to time, so long as it's pre-planned. My kids frequently ask to have friends over after church or homeschool co-op with no warning, but I'm the kind of mom who wants to plan a playdate a week or two in advance.
It's not just a personality issue that makes me not a super fun mom. Part of the issue has to do with our family dynamics. We've adopted several older children, which has brought some challenges throughout the years--namely good old Reactive Attachment. If you're not familiar with RAD, I'm sure I'll post about it some time in the future. But you can read about it here.
I'll spare you the details right now, but due to having kids with adoption trauma, our schedule is often just not flexible. When trauma rears its ugly head, everything else stops. And to be completely honest, some years the stress we've dealt with has made me not feel like having much fun anyway.
But even with all of this going on, despite knowing my own personality well, and also understanding my circumstances, I can still get caught in the comparison trap. My kids' accusations--as immature as they may sound at times--still sink deep in my heart some days. I think back to college when someone told me that when I became a mother I should try to be the cool home in the neighorhood--the house where all the kids hang out. And I think about how that just hasn't been feasible for our life situation. At times I've looked at other moms and wished my life circumstances would allow me to be fun and flexible like them. Sometimes I've had a good old-fashioned pity party.
Yes, I wish I were the kind of mom who could loosen up a bit and be silly more often. Or be the kind of mom who loves sitting on the floor playing with preschoolers. The kind of mom who could say "Sure, let's create a huge pillow fort in the living room" rather than just seeing the mess of pillows and blankets. Or the kind of mom who thinks up all kinds of fun field trips or elaborate birthday parties. Basically a Pinterest mom. You know the type.
Not Fun Mom But Exactly Right
Indeed, those thoughts do sink into my heart some days. When I let them. But as I've gotten older, I have actually started to celebrate my personality more and more. Even my husband celebrates that my natural cautiousness and rule following me have given me low car insurance rates. Ha!
Sure, I'm not a fun preschool teacher, but I see that my gifting is teaching at a higher age level. Yes, age has brought some wisdom. But hands down, the biggest thing that has changed my perspective and yanked me out of that comparison trap is filling my mind with truth of God's Word. The truth is that I have exactly the right personality for the kids that God has entrusted to me. The truth is that I am a failure of a mom, but my adequacy doesn't not come from within me. It comes from God.
Maybe you don't battle thoughts of not being fun enough like I do. Maybe you think I'm not organized enough. I'm too introverted. I'm not creative enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not..... The list goes on and on.
Pondering the Truth
Let's have a little heart to heart chat and break down the truth for a minute, shall we? I'll walk you through what I do whenever I want to get unstuck in the comparison trap. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8
You might have heard this verse before. And when we get stuck in the "I'm not a fun-enough-Pinterest-worthy-mom" mode (or really any other comparison trap we find ourselves stuck in), it's great to bust out the truth. When I have counseled women who have approached me with tough life situations, I always have encouraged them to run through this verse. So let's break it down together.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8
Whatever is true:
Here's what's true. God created you and me uniquely. He's a good God and He has equipped us with exactly the personality needed to parent our children. He knows their future. He knows what they need. And maybe having a super sanguine, life-of-the-party momma is not going to serve their future well. But we are only able to reach our full potential as mothers when we are fully relying on God's strength. Our strength will never be enough.
Whatever is noble:
The word "noble" here means honest. So for a moment let's think about mothering with some honesty. Sometimes when I'm down on myself for being a boring mom, it's actually because I'm being a highly distracted mom--or even a somewhat lazy mom. And when I am completely honest with myself and start putting out the effort and full focus, everything shapes up. Not saying that is your situation. But it's always a good exercise to ask God to show you if there is a non-personality issue that is within your control to change.
Whatever is right:
We were created for so much more than to merely be Pinterest moms. We have been called to shape our children's hearts, souls, and minds and teach them what is right. That's a weighty job. But there is no personality requirement to do that. That comes from relying on God. We can't just speak what is right. We have to do what is right ourselves.
Okay, you get the point of this exercise so I'll stop there. But I encourage you to walk through the rest of the verse and break down the truth every time you get stuck in comparison mode. Busting out this little weapon of God's Word will help you fight the lies and see that when you rely on the Lord for your strength, you are exactly the right kind of momma for your children.
In closing, there are three books I'd love to recommend to you as you embrace the personality and unique gifting that God has given you.
The Introverted Mom: A Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy by Jamie C. Martin. I heard the author speak recently on the Read Aloud Revival podcast, and that conversation was actually what prompted me to write this post.
Mom Heart Moments by Sally Clarkson. I just adore anything that Sally writes, and while I haven't read this book yet, it is a daily devotional with short snippets of encouragement for momma's hearts.
You Who: Why You Matter and How To Deal With It by Rachel Jankovic. I love Rachel's blunt style and I listen to her podcast every week when it comes out. This book is about looking outside ourselves (to God) for our identity.
What is the big comparison trap that you get stuck in as a momma? What are you going to do to break out of it and embrace the truth?
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