Being. True.

Posted on February 25, 2014

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valentines2014

A few weeks ago, we had several snow days here in Atlanta. Two, back-to-back weeks of icy roads and city craziness and no school and so I decided to do some crafts with my two year old son.

I’ve had these pretty, red flat cards for years that I’ve been meaning to use and Valentine’s Day was coming up so I thought-What the hell. This year, we’ll make handmade valentines.

And we did. They took some time to make. I cut out these hearts from leftover fabric that I had lying around and I wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day” in gold ink on the front of the cards and my toddler liked playing with the hot glue gun a bit too much and so yeah. They took a few days to finish.

Sometime, in the middle of this ambitious undertaking, I stumbled across an article on the Huffington Post about “Supermoms.” It was written by a mom who is a self-proclaimed non-supermom.

In her article, she talks about how, for years, she felt intimidated by all of the DIY, craftsy supermoms until she realized that they were only like that because they had something to prove to other people.  She, in her regular momhood, claimed that she was more secure (and better, really) than those moms who were spending their free time at Michael’s and on Pinterest. 

That article bothered me. Quite a bit actually. Because, even though I consider myself anything but, I’ve been called a supermom more than a few times.

By making these valentines, was I being a supermom? Was I, in fact, spending my four long snow days making craftsy cards with my toddler because I had something to prove? And if I did have something to prove, what was it?

We finished the cards and they were very cute but that uncomfortable feeling stayed with me.

Recently, I went back to work full-time. I thought having my son in preschool all day and working 40 hours a week might reduce my creative output but it has, actually, had the opposite effect. Case in point: I’m currently transforming the playroom into an enchanted forest. It’s going to be awesome.

The more I work, the more I want to enjoy my downtime with my family. Making cool stuff and doing creative things is just something that we all enjoy. So naturally, I wanted to make these Valentine’s Day cards for the kids in my son’s classroom, too. But I stopped myself.

The other moms don’t know me and they will think I’m a supermom, I worried. They’ll think I’m trying to one-up them. If we do the handmade cards, it may look like I have something to prove.

So I decided to only send the handmade cards to the kids we hang out with and bought some standard cards for his classmates.

On February 14th, I showed up at my son’s preschool for the Valentine’s Day party, to help him pass out his cards and meet, for the first time, the parents of the kids with whom he goes to school. I was completely surprised that most of these parents gave handmade valentines to my son.

He received a card with real sunglasses attached to it that said, “I only have eyes for you.” Another parent created a heart-shaped card with a crayon that read, “You color my day.” His card box was full of these cute valentines. I mean, this stuff was adorable.

I was delighted. It’s always nice when people extend themselves to do thoughtful things for your child and he was very excited to get all of these cool valentines. Not once did I have the nasty thought-Well, these moms must have something to prove.

And that’s when it hit me.

Dismissing the kindness and thoughtfulness of others (especially moms who do special things for your child) was an ugly thing to do. It is not (as the author of that article claimed) the result of a mom who is confident in her momhood. It is just the result of someone who feels the need to put others down to make herself feel more adequate.

I was disappointed in myself when I came home from that party. I had been so caught up with the worries that surfaced when I read the piece by the non-supermom that I had decided to prove that I had nothing to prove. How ridiculous. I’m a creative person. Why not just be true to that part of myself?

While I’m at it, why not just be true to my whole self and not waste time worrying about what others think?

Since that party, I’ve begun noticing how many times I’m not true to myself in any given day. Let’s just say, there are a lot. And what’s most alarming is that almost every time I hold myself back, it has to do with giving love. Fears of being too vulnerable or too sentimental or (the worst one of all) trying too hard scares me right back into a fascade that doesn’t fit who I really am.

What I keep learning, over and over again from life, is that quality people will love and appreciate you for who you are and what you give to the world. It’s only the small people who are petty and jealous and ugly when you live your life being fully yourself. And, really, who needs those people, anyway? 

Life often gives us second chances and yesterday, I got mine. It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at my son’s preschool. I got some lavender spring flowers and put them in mason jars and tied some purple ribbon around the rims. We made these tiny little signs together with chalkboard paint, wrote, “Thank you!” on them, and tied them to the  jars with the ribbon.

The teachers just lit up when we gave them their flowers. My son stood there with me, smiling shyly as they gushed. I know that right now, he’s learning how to treat other people by watching the way I treat them. He’s learning how to be right now and what I want him to learn is that one of the most important things a person can do is be true to himself.

One of his teachers put her flowers right near the classroom window, where everyone who passes by can see them. I know this means that other people will notice them. Some of them may even call me a supermom or roll their eyes and whisper, “Boy, she has something to prove.”

I’m okay with that. People who are worth my time will love and accept me for who I am. The others? Well, who cares? I am being true. And I am being. True.

Life is much better lived this way.

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Posted in: Love 101, Self-Worth