Wednesday, September 25, 2013

From Now on I'm Going to Live Ishly

Every morning, after I drop-off Molly at school and the boys make their way to the bus stop, I have about half an hour before I then drive Shannon to school. During that time, I check emails and Facebook. A few mornings ago, I came across this Facebook post by Glennon Melton. She has a blog,, that I follow as well. 

During my internet fast, I learned that Facebook makes me feel bad. I wish I were cooler so it wouldn't effect me, but it does. I once saw an Olympic swimmer interviewed after winning a race and she said "I swim best when I mentally stay in my own lane." Me too. Facebook just takes me right out of my own lane- every single time. No matter how satisfied I am with my life, career, family, social life, etc etc - as soon as I log on to Facebook and peek into others' lives, I immediately feel that unease caused by comparison. I start to doubt myself. I just feel a little kernel of doubt settle into my gut and it feels really bad. Comparison is the thief of joy, and Facebook is a breeding ground for comparison, don't you think? I called my Sister the other day and said, "I'm going to quit Facebook. I don't use it right. Whether I want to or not, I just end up comparing myself to everyone else." And Sister said, "Actually, you're using it for the exact thing it was designed for. Remember- some college guys made it to compare women to each other." And I thought- AH. Right. Huh. The origin of Facebook is really annoying and offensive, actually, when you think about it. And even more annoying is that we often still use it for what it was originally intended:Comparison.
I think our only hope for joy is gratitude and comparison shoves us out of gratitude swiftly and dependably.

Does anyone else ever feel this way? If not, never mind, me neither. I'm totally cool over here.

This post had thousands of likes and over a thousand comments. People could definitely relate to what she was feeling. As a mom, as a woman, as a person, we all compare. I try to keep social media a positive influence in my life. I look at all the places that my friends visit and add them to our list of places to go someday. Friends share recipes, new stores opening, neighborhood happenings, lost pets, found pets, funny things our kids say or did. I enjoy them. I surf over the negative and try to stay positive, but then there are those days that you fall into that comparison mode and you just don't feel like you're doing anything right. Why do I feel like my house is always a mess? Why are my kids always fighting? What am I doing wrong? Wow, so and so made an awesome dinner tonight, we are having take-out. My biggest struggle is the question of when to go back to work. I know so many working moms that do such a great job of juggling the full time mom job and also work outside the home. This year I know two moms that have stayed home for years that went back to teaching this year. Should I make the plunge? Can I juggle these two full time jobs? Why do I feel so overwhelmed by this when so many other woman do it? Compare, compare, compare.  We all get into those ruts, or at least I do. 

And then two mornings later after reading the momastery post, I read this blog post about comparison in that half an hour before taking Shannon to school. You can read it here. It's a short little post, but it stuck with me. Go, read it...I'll wait.

Okay, you're back. Deep down, I already knew this, "the Lord has assigned to each his task." I can relate to this. I am a task oriented person with my to-do lists. I just needed a reminder that my to-do list is not going to be the same as anyone else's. So even though others may be working moms, others may have gone back to the classroom, I don't think that is one of my tasks...just yet. I am a meal maker, a chauffeur, a laundress, a travel agent, an adviser, a nurse, a counselor, a homework helper, a snack maker, a party planner, an organizer, a reader, a writer, a volunteer, and a teacher to my children. 

We shouldn't be comparing because we each have a different task list. 

I thought about this all morning as I was picking out my next read aloud to Molly's class for Thursday afternoon. I thought about the first book I read to them, Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind. It is about a teacher that is determined to find that "just right" book for all her students so that they can beat the principal's challenge to read a thousand books by the end of the year. We talked about that the reason why there are so many genres of books is because we are all different kinds of readers. We all have different tastes and like different things and that's okay. We talked about how the world would be pretty boring if we were all the same and that is the same with books.  

Then last week, I read two books to them. The first one was Carnivores. This is a funny book about how the carnivores are misunderstood and that they have feelings too and that no one likes them just because they ate a few neighbors.

The book trailer is hysterical. You can watch it here. I couldn't get the video to load to the blog but was able to load the link.

The next book I read to them was Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.

This is a story about Mr. Tiger being tired of always dressing the same and acting the same and being the same as everyone else in town. He gradually shows his true colors of who he really is, until one day he goes wild.

After we read, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, we read the lyrics to Katy Perry's new song Roar. We compared it to the two books we just read. We talked about being who we really are and not doing things just because other people do them. We talked about how we are all different and that makes the world a more interesting place...and then we sang and we RRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOAAAAAAARRRRRRRED!!!!!! 

We had so much fun.

So now back to the morning of thinking about "my task" and how "my task" is different than anyone else.  I was online and came across that September 15th is International Dot Day based on the book by the name, you guessed it, The Dot.

I've seen this book, I've heard of this book, but I've never read this book. I love this little book.

Vashti thinks that she can't draw. She tells her teacher, "I just CAN'T draw!"

Her teacher replies, "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."

Vashti makes a dot.

Her teacher tells her to,"sign it."

This is brillant, just make a mark and see where it takes you! 

So then I had to read ISH.

Now we have a boy, Ramon, who is not satisfied with his art work. He crumbles up everything he attempts to draw. He then finds out that his little sister has taken all his crumbled up drawing and taped them to the walls of her room.

"This is one of my favorites," Marisol said, pointing out.

"That was supposed to be a vase of flowers," Ramon said, "but it doesn't look like one."

"Well, it looks vase-ISH!" she exclaimed.


This is why I love children's literature, because big problems are told and discussed and shared in their simplest denomination. It was an aha moment. The lesson that I am still trying to learn myself, is the same lesson that I am trying to share in all the books I have shared with Molly's class.

As an adult, I've been grappling with comparison, always asking questions of, "How does she do it?" Whether it's about keeping the house clean, getting all the errands done, cooking healthy meals for the kids, volunteering a million hours, working a full time job??? 

From now on, I'm going to try to live ISHLY. My house will be clean-ISH, my meals with be health-ISH, chores will be done-ISH, the laundry will be folded-ISH and I will learn to be happy-ISH that everything is not perfect. It reminds me of when I was trying to get my Project Life book photo album done...done is better than perfect.

I'm still learning, but sometimes you can find the answer in a children's book.

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