This morning when my oldest daughter woke up with a stomach ache I was not the one she turned to for comfort. And, I mean, I shouldn’t really be surprised since my immediate reaction was to roll my eyes while my husband’s was to say, “come lay down with Daddy and I’ll rub your back.”
Moms are known for being the nurturing, comforting parent. Everyone (no matter how old) just needs their mom sometimes, right? Not my kids.
My kids just need their dad. He is their soft place to fall. He is the hugger and the kisser and the bobo healer. My husband is a better mom than I could ever be. I know it, he knows it and the kids know it. And, you know what? It doesn’t bother me one bit.
It doesn’t bother me because I’m getting better at knowing who I am on the inside and accepting that person wholly. I’m spending less time expecting myself to be perfect at the things that don’t come naturally to me and more time working on the things I’m actually good at.
The Phrase That Freed Me
This shift has been facilitated by the phrase, “that’s just not my strength.” It’s what I’m clinging to these days to remind myself that I do not suck afterall.
When I was younger, I would frequently beat myself up for not being great at the same things my friends were good at. I still struggle with that in some areas of my life, of course, but I’ve stopped expecting things from myself solely because someone else does them. I’ve stopped comparing.
I have friends that are great at remembering to cook a meal for new mothers, friends that are great gift givers, friends that always remember my birthday, friends that are good at sharing an encouraging word, friends that are always volunteering at their kids’ school, and so on and so forth.
And even though I know many women who are excellent, thoughtful gift givers, that’s not my strength.
I’m not saying this is a free pass to completely abandon all of the things that fall into the “not my strength” category. (I don’t think my children would be happy with me if I never bought another present again.)
Yes, we are called to push ourselves, to be and do better, but I think it’s equally important that we don’t promote bad feelings about who we are. It would do us some good to identify what our strengths are in the first place and then to remember they won’t always line up with the strengths of others. It’s ok that we suck at some things, it’s great even! We’re different. We’re meant to be!
Being Patient With Yourself Means Being Patient With Others
When we learn to forgive ourselves for not being and doing all the things we automatically become more patient with others (and we free up more time to do the things that God actually wants us to do). Just because I can write an encouraging note, doesn’t mean you should, you may not even think to help in that way. I shouldn’t expect that of you and, most importantly, you shouldn’t expect that of you. You weren’t meant to be my clone and I wasn’t meant to be yours.
My daughter curled up in her daddy’s lap and took a nap. She was where she needed to be. A younger version of myself wouldn’t have been able to really see my husband in that moment; I would’ve been too busy feeling guilty. I would have robbed my husband of a moment that filled him up. I would’ve spent that time looking inward and wondering what was wrong with me instead of recognizing and appreciating the beauty in front of me.
My husband is a better mom than I am and that’s ok.
Want to read more on this topic?
- Here is another post I wrote about learning to parent with my husband (instead of shutting him out).