And learned the importance of grace.
Sweating and frazzled, I rushed up the stairs and into my eighth-grade Algebra class. I beelined for my seat in hopes of having my butt down before the jarring sound of the tardy bell signaled, “Too late. Game over.”
But my clumsy, 5' 11" frame got tripped up by my size 10 feet. The rubber toe of my Ked’s caught the carpet.
I lurched, stumbled awkwardly, and fell hard in the aisle just a few feet from my desk. …
Hot and sweaty, I ran in through the backdoor and into the kitchen where my mom stood at the sink. In my chubby little hands; a fist full of dark purple flowers with bright green leafy stems.
“I picked these for you!” I stated proudly, shoving the fistful of flowers at her.
“Oh Shelley,” she said, taking them from me. “Those are just weeds.” She seemed distant. Annoyed.
Purple dead nettle. That’s what those beautiful weeds were called.
I didn’t know that then, of course. They were simply the pretty flowers growing out past the yard, near where the dense…
Scrolling my Facebook feed yesterday, I read a post in a local Mom group. A mom of two kiddos introduced herself and her family.
She described them as your typical awesome gang: adventure-seeking, fun-loving, bike-riding, crafting, camping, volunteering, ball-playing, geo-caching, cool people.
She sounded like a really good mom.
I reread her post twice more. I felt a stinging annoyance and anxiety bubbling up.
Because I am not a mom that does all of these things with my daughter. In fact, I don’t do half the crap I see other “good moms” doing with their kids.
Last fall, my ten-year-old daughter came home from school, complaining about a boy. He wouldn’t leave her alone.
“Oh, just blow it off,” I said. “He’ll stop if you ignore him.”
“But remember, be nice.”
She continued to complain regularly. I told her to stop being dramatic.
“Be kind,” I said. “I mean it.”
At first, it seemed to be the typical school-crush kind of thing. But as the weeks went on, he did not stop. In fact, his focus only grew stronger, and more intense. And not all that nice.
Her frustration escalated as the incidents shifted from frequent…
We’ve got no choice but to slow down. We might as well make the most of it.
My daughter jumped up to grab some coins for the home school project we were working on. I never thought I’d be homeschooling, but COVID-19 and “safer-at-home” has us doing things I’d never imagined.
Homeschooling is one of them. Slow living is another.
I heard her rummaging through the designated coin jar in another room.
“It’s taking me a minute to find a quarter, Mama! Is that okay?”
It was the second sentence that made me pause.
Of course, it was okay. …
For nearly nine years, working-mom guilt consumed me. “If I could just quit my job. It would solve everything.” That thought ran through my mind morning, noon and night.
Finally, after years of obsessing, it happened. I became a stay-at-home mom.
These days, I’m free from my ties to a stressful corporate job. I’m able to focus on life at home without the pull of meetings, travel, sales goals, and deadlines.
So now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, why do I still feel guilty?
It seems we always feel mom guilt on some level, no matter what we choose.
You’re counting calories. You’re exercising. And You’re not losing weight. That’s how it seems, anyway. But stop for a minute. Step away from the scale and focus on your wins instead of your weight.
“I weigh three pounds more than I did yesterday!”
I recognized the frustration in the woman’s voice as she stepped off the scale in the gym locker room. Bewildered, she looked at her friend.
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t butt in. But I wanted to.
I wanted to reach out with a hug.
“ I get it! I’ve felt the same way! I’ve been so…
It’s funny how life serves up lessons in such a timely manner. Do you know what I mean?
Take today, for example. I woke up early with my day planned out:
Drop the daughter off at school. Hit the gym. Write. Therapy appointment for my ankle. Write some more.
My writing topic for the day? People-pleasing. More specifically, ways to change people-pleasing behavior.
I couldn’t wait to get my day started.
Then, a text. A friend checking to see if I had plans.
They needed help with a project. It would take nearly the entire day. Nothing critical. Nothing urgent…
Deep down, just who is the real you? Are you showing the world your authentic self, and do you show up as that person each day?
It’s been on my mind lately, the practice of people-pleasing that so many of us take on. It’s been on my mind because I’m fed up with my tendency to always please others.
I do it all of the time. In how I act. Things I do, (or don’t do.) How I dress. Opinions I hesitantly share, (or keep to myself.)
I’ve been hiding parts of my true self for a long time now…
Be the real you and stop people-pleasing.
When was the last time a quote jumped out at you from the page? The last time you read a sentence or two that shut down all the chatter in your mind and made you take a hard look at your approach in life?
For me, it was just yesterday. And these were the words that jolted me out of auto-pilot.
“In trying to speak and write only to please others, we can lose touch with our real self.” Joy Kenward, The Writer’s Creative Workbook
Why did these words impact me so strongly…