Can we chat about something for just a minute? Well, maybe three minutes. Because I’m wordy and also over 450 people hit like on this post on my Facebook wall and much discussion was had in the comment thread so I think it warrants 3 minutes of chit chat here on my blog:
(click to see original post)
It obviously struck a chord or hit a nerve depending on which side of the spectrum you fell. For me it was a beautiful chord. One I need to be reminded exists once in a while. Plus the snark abounded. And I love a good snarkfest.
But first, a burning question…I really just want to know why has this never happened to anything I’ve written? Because obviously I’m a brilliant writer and I think one of my posts going viral might give my life meaning and purpose.
And also, why has nobody invented a sarcasm font yet? (Italics will have to serve the purpose for this post.) Because I really needed it to make that statement come out just right. Obviously, it would have helped the writer to make his point a little more clearly as well.
Oh, click bait…you do so tempt us bloggers. So many people had made up their mind what that post was about before they read the first word. And of course that’s never happened to me. (More lamentation over lack of sarcasm font.)
An aside…I was trying to be on a break from social media. I just happened to read and share that post. And that thing kept spitting out notifications all week long! ALL WEEK! And when the discussion started heating up I had to give my break up altogether to moderate.
So let’s talk about this topic…this one that the Accidental Missionary was trying to talk about before his snarky ways and tragic lack of sarcasm font got the best of him: Comparison. It wasn’t really about the crafts. At least, I don’t think that’s what he intended for it to be about. That was just the catalyst.
Here’s the thing…I’ve been the crafty mama and enjoyed it. Truth. But then there were food allergies and people who don’t eat sugar and people who don’t do food dyes and a kid only needs so many erasers and pencils and plastic spider rings. It just became too hard to figure out anything to put in goody bags that wasn’t going to be in someone’s trash can two hours later and fit my budget. And to be honest, I was just over it. It was a relief to me to not have to worry about that kind of stuff anymore when we decided to homeschool.
What’s more? I probably would have kept sending in the treats, and I would have made sure they were Pinterest inspired, but I would have ended up resenting it eventually. I would have only done it because everybody else was doing it. Because as much as I want to be a non-conformist, I still crave approval and tend to be a rule follower. Diplomacy might be my secret power but in some cases it’s my kryptonite.
I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure men don’t compare every blessed thing in their lives, or at least it’s not part of normal male behavior for most of the guys I know. Bless them for their one track way of thinking. The female brain is another story entirely. Rather than a single thought it’s more like an intricate spiderweb of thoughts happening in our heads.
[Tweet “Women are hard wired to notice, multi-taskers. But noticing and comparing are two different things.”]
I know I don’t ever set out to compare myself or my abilities or my belly or my house or my shoes to any other woman’s but it just seems to be hard-wired into my brain…second nature. I can’t help but notice all of these things and more. I feel like it’s part of the whole survival instinct given to women. And becoming a mother doubled or tripled it. Bless.
Here’s what I’d like to add to the Accidental Missionary’s thoughts on comparison. It’s not so much that it’s wrong to notice other people and see what they do, how they dress, where they live, etc. Because it’s not. We girls are hardwired for it. But when we allow those things to become measuring sticks that dictate our own behavior, we’re sliding down a slippery slope that leads to pride or jealousy. Because we’re always going to be better than someone at something and someone’s always going to be better at something else than us.
As I read through this socially battered dad blogger’s post here’s my takeaway: We don’t need to waste our time trying to measure up to someone else’s standard. Chances are they were never trying to set a standard in the first place. They were just doing something that they love. (What?! For real, friends.)
There really are people that really enjoy creating crafts and have naturally extended that passion to creating goodies for their children’s classes. I know because I used to be one of them. They don’t care if anybody else does them or not. They do those things because it brings them joy.
Do you remember what it feels like to do that thing that brings you joy? If not, it’s time to try that again.
I play a French Horn, write and make pretty graphics. In fact, I actually occasionally make money doing those things. Not a lot…but some. And I LOVE doing those things. One of my friends loves science and does experiments with my children and helps them love science, too. I would pay her but she just does it because she loves it and it’s important to her. Another one of my friends enjoys organizing and helps keep any project that she is involved with running on schedule. I’m terrible with schedules so I’m thankful I have her in my life.
If all of us women were to focus our energy into our areas of talent and spiritual gifts, and do the things we love, think about the impact we could have in this world. And if you already are, then you have my utmost respect. We shouldn’t be spreading ourselves thin trying to do a decent job at all the somethings that are someone else’s sweet spot, or layering the guilt on ourselves because we decided not to do that very thing.
So if you love making crafts, then make creative gifts for your children’s class, and send fun mail to your friends and sell your wares and leave a trail of glitter wherever you go. Please do! (And that wasn’t in italics, my substitute sarcasm font! I humbly implore you to do those things!) Because life would be awfully drab without a little bit of glitter.
If your talent is music, or science, or building Ikea furniture, or organizing, then do those things and find ways to put your talents to good use and don’t beat yourself up for sending a bag of oranges for your child’s class goodie bag, no strings (or cute custom tag) attached. And be happy there’s a momma who loves to do those things. Because they’re cute. Even if the other moms are the only ones who really notice your extra effort.
Put the rulers away, my friends.
And also, if you’re really on a Facebook break, it’s better to just not post anything. Let this be a cautionary tale.