I’ve mentioned before how much my mom and I love books about French women. We were discussing this quote by Coco Chanel “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Great advice, right? I love simplicity, and it’s hard to beat the stye credibility of Coco Chanel, but it’s actually not a universal rule. (This post isn’t about fashion, I promise, just hang in there for my point!) I have known some friends who would do well to keep that quote in mind, while others (including me) could stand to ADD at least one more accessory before leaving the house. As my mom and I were discussing this point, I realized that it applies across the board to some many areas of life.
I have read several child training books and blogs through the years. Some emphasize creating clear boundaries, others emphasize expressing lots of grace, some are against spanking, some are for it, some are for schedules and “crying it out,” others are for “attachment parenting.” No matter which book or blog I have read, I have always been able to find someone who doesn’t agree with that philosophy, and will loudly trumpet why their method is the only right way. The thing is, for me, my personality tends towards wanting rules and checklists, so I can veer more towards demanding complete obedience in an effort to control. So books about parenting with grace are really eye-opening to me. David tends to give lots of grace and isn’t as consistent in discipline, so he isn’t as affected by those books as I am. I think it’s because this is an area that I need balance in.
At the root, I think it is tremendously important to understanding our natural tendencies on issues. Recognizing that I tend toward strict discipline helps me see that I need to inject grace into my mothering. Recognizing that my fashion style has been minimalist helps me see that I can add more fun to my outfits. Knowing myself helps me in finding balance in my life.
There have been several blog posts floating around this past year about “mommy guilt.” Most of them assure moms that they are doing just fine – that it’s okay for your kids to watch tv longer than the 2 hour limit, that it’s okay to bottlefeed, etc. Those posts are good and encouraging for some of us that tend to try to overachieve, but then I read a post that questioned all those “you’re okay, mom” posts. It essentially questioned if all “mommy guilt” was really bad. The writer made the point that you SHOULD feel convicted when you are lazy, but not guilty just because of comparison. She made a good point, but what actually struck me was that not all moms need to hear the same message. Some of us do need to relax our expectations. Some of us need to step up and stop making excuses. In every case, we all need to recognize where we are and then respond to that rather than responding to what reinforces our natural propensities. Let’s stop listening to those “preaching to the choir” and instead look closely at where we really are at.
So, here’s to a year of finding balance, seeing where we are, and balancing our natural impulses with wisdom. Here’s to adding an accessory or taking one away!
Does any of this resonate with you? Do you find yourself searching out things to validate you point or that challenge your natural tendencies?