Thursday, May 1, 2008

Who am I??

A semi-heated discussion took place on a couple of my friend's blogs this past week. The discussion surrounded permanent birth control vs. allowing God to fully control the size of your fmaily. Many may disagree, but I would argue that this is a grey area of godliness, sometimes thought of as black and white, depending on who you ask. (So many - if not all - Biblically grey areas are like that!) Grey areas really ruffle feathers because they require so much more of you. Black and white? no problem. A quick judgment call and you are done thinking about it. Grey area? Oh great. Now I have to use discernment each and every time the subject comes up. That's a lot of work!

Not the mention the insecurities! Oh Lord, save me from my insecurities! And so this reminds me of what it was like to be a brand-new mom, when I was teeming with insecurities. Amidst the barrage of unsolicited and solicited advice, there are a googooplex of biblically grey areas that I encountered as a new mom: Do I rock him to sleep or let him cry? Do I give him a binki or not? Do I feed him solids at four months, or wait until six? Will I put baby locks on the cupboards or use them to teach my baby "no?" The questions seem benign enough but they are all questions that attempt to answer the bigger question: What kind of mom and I going to be?

When I was a new mom I had two really good friends who also were new moms. Both of them seemed to really know what kind of mom they were going to be. The two of them were (and are) great moms, but they approach mothering from opposite sides. One is laid back and spontaneous while the other is structured and organized. These characteristics naturally flowed into their parenting styles. I, on the other hand, fell somewhere in the middle of these two. And OH how I struggled to define myself as one or the other.

Lest you think the insecurities stopped once the newness of motherhood wore off, I will assure you it is has not. Now, nearly seven years later, I have defined myself and the kind of mom I want to be in many ways, but there are still places where I am still stuck in the middle, trying to decide. Take the issue of education, for example. I straddle the worlds of Public School and Homeschooling when I am with my various friends. I see the benefits of both and find myself constantly waffling between them, wondering and feeling insecure. I have a school-aged child, so a preliminary decision is made, but still I wonder.

The point, please, Jenne? Ah yes. I do have a point. Finding who you are as a mother takes a really long time (perhaps forever), and it ought to be said every once in a while that we need to be patient with ourselves (and our fellow mom-friends) as we struggle through the millions of questions that arise and not feel bad about the fact that we waffle. What is more, we must give ourselves the freedom to be the kind of mom WE want to be, NOT the kind of mom our friends are or appear to be.

And the ultimate point here, is that our identity as a mom is found when we sit at the feet our our Savior. As we seek out wisdom on our knees each day and allow the Lord to shape us in all areas - black, white and grey - we will all the more be the mom He had in mind from the very beginning. And that will be so vastly different from even our closest friends and family.

And that's simply wonderful.


Greg and Andrea said...

I appreciated your thoughts on this one. It's so easy to start comparing yourself to other moms and allow yourself to feel pressured one way of the other. Good reminder to try be the mom God wants ME to be.

Pate Family said...

Oh Jenne-you are so wise. This was so great to read- I love that I get to learn from you as we parent. The down side is that by the time you are done and compile all your wisdom into a book it will be too late for me! I guess I will just be happy to do it along side you and someday pass your book on to my kids. And also- what is it that Diane Moore says about wanting your kids friends parents to parent well because they are going to be teenagers together and your kid is going to have to marry someone! Lets keep doing lots of playdates-

Ginger said...

I'm too tired to think of anything profound, but THANK YOU. I'm right there with you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jenne. I feel like I am somewhere in the middle too sometimes, and I really struggle with the insecurities about that! I know God has created us all different, and given us each different cups in life. Those gray areas are hard for me, but SO much refinement comes from learning how to "discern every time" like you said. Great thoughts.

Anonymous said...

What a great way to describe those feelings. I feel myself waffle on the gray areas quite a bit, with my opinions easily swayed by what day it is or who I've talked to lately.

breanna said...

i'mnot even sure i could tell you how i found your blog today, except by divine intervention,but i can tell you that i needed that post today in the midst of what i'm describing as a new mom identity crisis. thanks for directing me to my knees and His feet to get this figured out.