Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book review

In her book No More Perfect Moms, Jill Savage speaks of the damage unrealistic expectations can do to a woman's relationships and self-confidence. Women tend to be "contaminated" with what Savage calls "the perfection infection"; a need for our bodies, marriages, kids, friends, homes, homemaking; our very days to be perfect. Reality is not perfection. Unrealistic expectations only bring frustration and discontent with our lives and the real people in them.

Pride, fear, insecurity, and judging all work to keep us infected with perfectionism. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others or to media representations and change our expectations to something more realistic. Pride should be dropped for humility. Replace fear with courage. Take off insecurity and put on confidence. Leave judgement for grace.

Savage's last chapter deals with the very perfect God who counterbalances our imperfections. His love is unchanging, unconditional. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

I so needed this shot of reality! I compare myself to others. I fall short. This makes me feel less than adequate in my own parenting journey. It causes a loop of derogatory self-talk, which makes me fearful and insecure. Courageous women are still fearful, but don't allow fear to stop them. I'm learning to look at myself as God does, through eyes of grace. Learning that the imperfections of my kids are not a reflection of me was very freeing. Taking care of my body is a stewardship issue and marriage is designed more to make me holy than to make me happy.

If you've ever felt isolated or "less than" as a mother, this is a great book - I highly recommend it! --Lisa White

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Imperfect Day

We haven't started back to school. Mommy did not do HER homework over the Christmas Break (planning for second semester), so second semester has been delayed a week. I did that today. I also tackled laundry; in a family of seven, if you don't do a load or two every day it becomes something nearly insurmountable. It hasn't been a daily thing lately. And as every mother knows, there's meals and dishes and cleaning and putting the toilet paper on the spindles. Somehow, there's finding time for relationships; God, Hubby, each one of your gems. By the time my hubby got home from the office (he usually works from home: I missed him TERRIBLY) I had nothing left to give him. I had mismanaged my time. My day was not perfect.

I recently tried a yeast-elimination diet at the advice of my doctor. Felt amazing for the first time in a long time! An unlooked side-effect? I lost ten pounds. I couldn't believe it was all due to the diet so I began eating as before. I'm in more pain than before and I've gained five pounds back. The diet reduces inflammation and helps some people with fibromyalgia, arthritis, migraines, and other inflammatory conditions. (These are the reasons I am on the diet; it's also good for thrush, recurrent yeast infections and is good for diabetics.) All these pain conditions have led me to a chronic use of ibuprofen: I now have an ulcer.  I'm learning to accept my high weight, the hairs on my chin, and the weird bump on my eyelid and I can "offer up" my pain for others, but acceptance is not the end. Change must be involved too. 1 Cor 6 tells me "you are not your own, you were bought at a price." Jill Savage, in her book No More Perfect Moms (you can read the first few chapters here) reminds us that "our bodies belong to God. He asks us to take care of our bodies and treat them like the Holy Spirit's precious home." She then goes on to recall to us that this is a stewardship issue. So I will go back on my diet, now that I know that, yes, all those good results really came from what I chose to eat. (Had I been in the Garden of Eden I would have been right there with Eve, questioning the serpent and curiously examining the forbidden fruit. Probably would have fallen with her, too. Sigh.) I'll try to move a little more; exercise my bulk. Continue to pluck and denude and ask the doc about the bump. My body is not perfect.

Because my body is not perfect I often have to rest. This includes naps if I over-do it. I over-did yesterday. I informed my two oldest children I was going to lay down and they were in charge. For Secunda, who is 14, this simply means be a guide if someone asks for help. For Primo, 16, this means get out the jackboots. Actually, I do him a disservice by making a joke like that. He has Asperger's Syndrome, and likes things just so, at a particular volume. When I am not there to help keep those parameters in place, he gets frustrated; which manifests in short-tempered bossiness that soon devolves into shouting which leaves my youngest (PPD-NOS) running to her room in noisy sobs, slamming the door behind her and leaves the informer (my other son, also on the autism spectrum) in my room. "Mom, you awake?" And a word-for-word account. Meanwhile, my two neuro-typical daughters are trying to smooth things over with their siblings. We extend grace and love and begin again. But the nap was pretty much over. My children are not perfect.

We have a Father whose children are not perfect. But he loves us perfectly. He looks at us through eyes of love and grace. He uses all things to grow us and mold us and shape us into the image of His son. While my day may not have been perfect, it was perfectly used. Thank you, O God of glory and grace.