I’m reminded of your authentic faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. I’m sure that this faith is also inside you. Because of this, I’m reminding you to revive God’s gift that is in you through the laying on of my hands. God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving and self-controlled. 2 Timothy 1:5-7
I know it’s time to work on an aspect of myself when a particular word or phrase keeps getting repeated, one that resonates deep within. The word that keeps crossing my radar lately, via a discussion with the newest MOSAIC Moms Group, articles, and the book I’m reading is “authentic.”
Dictionary.com defines the word authentic as “not false or copied; genuine; real.” When I look at my life, the area where I’ve been the least genuine lately is in my motherhood.
The mom I want to be is the one I portray to the world. Yet, she’s often absent inside my own home. It becomes the most evident to me when I treat everyone else’s kids with more kindness, patience, and care than I do my own.
When I’m driving just my own kids in the car, I’m steering with my elbows while eating my oatmeal and drinking my coffee. When I’m driving anyone else’s kids, my hands are securely in the 10 and 2 positions on the wheel, and I’d never dream of taking them off. The voice I use inside my own four walls is loud, impatient and annoyed, if not downright angry. The voice I use the second I step out my door is gentle, soothing and patient. When someone else’s kids want to tell me something, I stop what I’m doing, make eye contact, and listen deeply. When my kids have something to tell me, I postpone them ad finitum. The list goes on and on.
If I want to be authentic in my motherhood, my actions need to reflect that. I can’t keep showering the outside world with grace, and then justify my bad behavior with my own kids by claiming my well is empty when I get home.
I need to restructure things to align who I really am with how I want to be. The only way to do that is to elevate my kids in the priority list and take action on that re-prioritization.
Being a “doer,” and needing a concrete plan, I came up with the “slash mark” idea. I put a pen in my pocket and promised myself that every time I was impatient or not who I wanted to be with my kids, I’d take the pen out and draw a line on the back of my hand. It was my way to visually see whether I was succeeding or failing. I imagined having a hand covered in slash marks by day’s end.
The astounding thing was: On that first day, I never pulled the pen out once! Knowing I was holding myself accountable forced me to shower grace on the little beings I’ve been charged with raising. Making them the focus of my day, instead of my to-do list and the outside world, had me using the energy in my well to nurture them. It’s inspired me to try this approach every day.
My kids have been like thirsty plants in a dry flower pot. As I continue to shower them with grace, it’s as if they perk up and soak it in. I watch the trickle-down effect in action as I see them extend grace to each other. Then it circles back to me, refilling the same exact well I draw from in the first place.
I won’t claim I’ve got it all figured out and I’m going to be the most authentic mom out there from now on. What I will say is: I’ll be keeping a pen in my pocket from now on. Whether it just sits there on my good days, or gets pulled out routinely to slash my hand when I lose my cool, it’s a reminder of what’s really important, and a pathway to authenticity in my motherhood.
Questions for Reflection:
* Do my actions align with who I want to be as a mom?
* If not, is there a way to realign my priorities and stay mindful of the path to authenticity?