If you don’t go any further, please let those words pour over your soul like the waters of a warm set of falls located off the beaten path of your chosen tropical location. With a cabana boy, of course. Don’t we all just need a vacation?
I’ve come to cherish the friendships of those who have had to do a bit more life than I have. They’re wiser, typically funnier and obviously more experienced than I am at this thing called life. So when one of them handed me (and several others) the ‘YOU are a BADA$$’ desk calendar for Christmas, I had to laugh and then vow to read it daily because … wiser and funnier.
The page I turned to Friday hit me square in the face. Instead of a warm waterfall think jet-stream-from-a-playful-friend feeling. It read (in part),
DO NOT WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME GIVING ONE SINGLE CRAP ABOUT WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS OF YOU.
The subtitle referenced the liberation behind that mentality.
I feel like Coronacation (that’s what Connor actually calls it. God love him) has brought both our best and our worst to the surface. Maybe it’s just me feeling that. I won’t ass/u/me for you. But when I read that daily face push, it reminded me of how much I felt like this new season has taken one of my arch nemesis games to a whole new level: it’s the comparison one.
It was bad enough a few years back when Pinterest (a social media platform last I checked) became a descriptor for a type of mom. If someone was labeled a ‘Pinterest mom,’ you wouldn’t have to Google too many times to figure out exactly what that meant. And exactly how you might not measure up. I mean, I know I didn’t. Of course I have boards and there are beautiful photos of many things I aspire to cook, bake, make and design but I’ll just be honest and say I’m much better at searching and saving than I am at creating and sharing. Shame, shame.
But Pinterest wasn’t the first measuring stick; it’s just one of many that over the course of this life’s path we’ve allowed to put some sort of value on what we have to offer. I was listening to a podcast recently about how we often feel like we walk around with a sweatshirt with a one- or two-letter red scarlet label that defines us (speaking especially to the women here). Like, for a long time, my sweatshirt had a giant ‘D’ for ‘Divorced.’ I wore it and I felt so much shame and embarrassment. And then, one day, I just realized it’s not ‘who’ I am. It’s just a part of my story. And frankly, most wouldn’t know what the ‘D’ stood for just by looking at me. For all I know, someone might walk by and believe that it stood for ‘Daring.’ And that’s friggin’ cool, right?
And I guess what I want to share with those of us impacted by this crazy pandemic in some way (oh? I guess that’s everyone) that this is not the time to be worried about what someone else might think of you. Of how you’re managing all the things. Of how you’re performing as a mom (employee, teacher, housekeeper, athlete, grocery getter, pet parent, etc. and etc.) under extremely abnormal circumstances.
I know at the very beginning, I started to panic about how even in the heck and bob was I going to work from home full-time and not completely ruin my child because he wasn’t getting his normal education. And I would read posts about how to create a schedule and how to re-learn spanish I and how to make combined office and school spaces and … and … And it reminded me of how overwhelmed I felt when I knew that I wasn’t going to be the ‘Pinterest mom.’ Similarly, I would not be ‘Pfft-give-me-some-of-that-quarantine-life-Mom.’ Oh, and when I mentioned the word ‘schedule’ to Connor, he actually mocked me. Teenagers are fun, amiright?
But I read some things and i listened to some things and found some peace. Ready, sweet thing? Please go back to the soaking comment and take this in:
- We are all quite literally trying to survive right now. That’s the measuring stick. Got it?
- This isn’t normal. I repeat, this is not.normal. I’m thankful my boss reiterates that almost daily because our work life has actually increased in pace and volume and by the end of each work day, I go back to point one. I’m meeting’d, emailed, called and IM’d out. So if I want to walk away for an hour at 2, I’m given permission to do that. And mama, if you need to go hide in your bathtub for an hour with a glass of wine or grape juice, you shall not be judged. Communion is actually encouraged last I knew.
- It’s okay to grieve. It’s funny to consider we actually thought we were in control of our day-to-day. What we actually had was the illusion of control and if you disagree, I’ll fight you in a dark alley. But we miss what we had! And it’s okay to miss that. We’ve all had some sort of loss in this season and no one gets to be mad about how that manifests for you.
- Speaking of grief, many of us have given up things we feel bad for mentioning. Like, Connor had to miss out on the big ten tournament, an NBA game and our previously planned trip to DC. And that sucks! And I let him cry about it. Now, I know that some have lost much more. And I ache for that, too. But that doesn’t make what we’ve lost any less real for each of us. We’re all gifted with a human spirit. We feel things. So, cry, yell, hide in your bathtub. Whatever. You have permission (Simon said it, actually)
- If your child had a hug, a meal and a place to lay their head today, they are fine. Showers, brushed teeth and completed school work are an absolute bonus. (And if they made their bed, that’s an extra 50 gold stars.)
- And if your child spent a couple hours cruising on some kind of screen today, I for sure will not judge you because … survival.
A couple of last thoughts because those bullets are super long and I’m embarrassed about that. My performance side says my high school English teacher might be judging me as I type. But anyway … can we just take this time to celebrate each other? Let’s not spend our precious time comparing ourselves to the one who seems like they’re killing it. Maybe they are. That’s amazing and worthy of a socially distant high five! Maybe we’re the one who is seriously trying to attain to the survival benchmark. Can we just celebrate that, too? And maybe ask how we can help? Because at the end of this day (and the past 6 weeks of groundhog-like days), we are all in it together. We should be fighting for each other. Not against. Because that’s when the enemy wins. And last I checked, nobody wants the bad guy to win.
And finally, speaking of the red letters … there is only One who we should concern ourselves with when it comes to the ‘who we give a single crap to’. And it’s Jesus. And He freely poured out red to redeem each one of us. Because He loved us that much regardless of however we got through this day. And so, especially in this season, I’m going to choose to be washed in that truth. And I’m going to hang in there as best I can. And I urge the same for you. Know that you have at least one cheerleader over here and I’m just going to proclaim that I have this feeling that we’re going to come out on the other side possibly just a bit better than when we started.
Except that I still won’t have made the vegan coconut sweet potato casserole recipe I pinned 5 years ago. And I don’t give one single crap what you think about that.