Sunday, March 17

Women of Valor

Did you know I'm still alive?  I may be alive, but I'm not sure how awake I really am, at least not Monday-Friday.

Going back to full-time teaching after an 11 year break has TOTALLY kicked my butt.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE teaching again.  I am enjoying new colleagues and friends and trying with all my heart to love on my new students after a break to raise my own pumpkins (they're not there, yet, but they're not babies anymore.  More on that later.)  Many days I am successful.  Many other days I am not.  Such is the nature of the beast with love.

All this has left me feeling quite fulfilled, but also needing to let some things go that I love just as (or more!) passionately.  Like my every day involvement with Awake and Alive.  Like having lunch and volunteering regularly at my kids' schools.  Like lazy days with Selah Joy.  I miss that.  A LOT.  But I feel incredibly thankful for the years I did have at home--a gift many women can't have.  There is no doubt, however, that I am in the right place.  Even with our chaotic family schedule and my chaotic mind, I am peaceful knowing that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Selah with her two good friends, Jolene's kids, that she gets to be with 
twice a week when Mommy's at work.

What I am not peaceful about is the feeling that I can't measure up.  My perfectionism continues to rear its ugly head, now in both the home and the workplace.  Yuck.  Can anyone say ugly?  That's what it is.  On top of this, I float between self-loathing and a feeling that no one (aka my family) appreciates everything I'm doing to keep things afloat.  My oldest boy is a full-fledged tweener and his attitude could make a thinner-skinned parent curl into the fetal position many days (okay, that's actually what I do sometimes, but no big deal).  The other two boys follow his lead, or whine and vie for Mom's time and attention which has been greatly decreased due to her new job.  Selah is doing remarkably well considering she has three (AMAZING) babysitters each week instead of Mom, but it has, of course, still been difficult and her need for Mommy and Daddy is apparent daily.  So, I am a martyr. I vacillate between beating myself up and wanting to beat my family up for not appreciating me.

Into this horribly confusing state of mind, enter Jen Hatmaker's recent post on Women of Valor.  Well, actually it's her post AND her posting of another woman's post I was unaware of named Rachel Held Evans.  Breath. Of. Life.  If you don't believe me and you can relate at all to what I've been saying, see for yourself.  And then, as if that weren't enough, I discovered this upon more digging:

"It has become a Jewish custom for men to recite this hymn (Prov. 31) at the end of the week, and thus to think about and be thankful for all his wife has done for him and their family throughout the past week." (from judaism.about.com)

Can you believe it?  Proverbs 31 is meant to be a blessing, not the curse that so many (most) Christian women use as a measuring stick that they will NEVER measure up to. This beautiful tradition of reading Prov. 31 is done every Friday. I know how much it means to me when my youngest son (or my husband) occasionally takes the time to notice my hard work and say thank you.  It's life-giving. To be encouraged and praised EVERY Friday?  I think that would REALLY help with the self-loathing--and with my urges to take a long flight to Ethiopia for--indefinitely--until my family sees what they're missing (okay, I want to do that anyway, but not as an escape; rather, because I love them so much!)

Now I only need to convince my family that adopting this Jewish custom would be a really good idea...






1 comment:

Stacey Rider said...

Oh dearest Danielle! Stop the self loathing and see what the rest of us see: a caring, loving, dedicated friend, teacher, mother and wife. You do it all with grace and class, and your heart is bigger than anyone else I know. Love to you and your lucky family. Eshet chayil!