Idealism verses Reality

Before I delve any further into my series on FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) treatment, I want to side-step for a moment. Grab a cup of coffee, sit with me for a minute  Let’s talk. With some personal introspection, I realize that I am an idealistic mom living in a realistic world. Are you? When I’m writing a blog about nutrition and eating whole, God-made, natural foods, I forget the fresh fruit my child ate at lunchtime and beat myself up for not always eating healthy food like so-and-so. Huge idealistic mistake. Reality is adding more whole food to our diet, not arriving at perfection in just one day (or week or month).

Social media can paint a perfect picture of others’ lives. Guess what? Facebook lies. So does Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites. They only show part of the picture. The viewer can walk away with a false sense of reality– an ideal, so to speak.  The lie is that everyone else has an perfect life. On a talk radio show last Thursday, I listened to the results of a study on social media. The study had found that people who frequently check Facebook (or other social sites) are more likely to be depressed. I think this is because they get a false sense of reality. They walk away believing the lie.  

Blogs can have the same effect if we are not careful. I read blogs to get information and encouragement. That is great if  I take the advice with a dose of realism. The blogger who posts a great recipe with glorious photos still struggles with day-to-day living just as much as I do. Do you fall into the comparison trap?  Does everyone else’s life look better on media sites than yours?

Moms can be deceived into thinking that everyone is doing a better job then them. Todd Wilson, author of Lies That Homeschooling Moms Believe, asks:

Do you believe the lie that everyone’s…
  • kids are smarter than yours
  • house is cleaner than yours
  • meals are better, healthier and more organic than yours?
  • life is more disciplined and more spiritual than yours?
  • house is more peaceful than yours?
  • marriage is better than yours?
  • doing a better job than you?
This list applies to all moms, but there is especially pressure on stay-at-home moms. Moms who jump off the career path to stay home may believe that their home should be perfect. It should be organized and clean, meals should be organic and healthy, their spiritual life should be top notch– just because household administrator is their full time job. But those ideas are ideals to strife for, not a measuring stick to JUDGE by.
For moms raising children with any of the capital letter syndromes (FAS, ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, RAD), the burden of daily parenting can be overwhelming. Exhaustion gives way to self-judgement. When Mom is too exhausted to clean the kitchen completely because she has been helping a child through a meltdown, she tends to think other moms have perfectly pristine kitchens. When a busy schedule results in a fast food dinner, Mom imagines every other mom is preparing organic food from her backyard garden. A busy few days resulting in no clean underwear for the kiddos can send Mom into a tailspin after watching a Tide commercial: surely, every other Mom has all the laundry clean, folded and put away? Her own laundry hangs out on the family room couch.
Sisters, we must all press on toward the goal (Philippians 4:14) and forget what lies behind. We should encourage one another in love, giving advice and suggestions, but not heaping condemnation on ourselves.  I share from my experience and my failings.  In no way have I arrived.  
We confess our failings to Him, He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). And our failing here isn’t our inability to maintain a perfect house or healthy diet– it’s diminishing ourselves needlessly in the midst of REALISTIC daily life.
Let’s admit it, girls, we are the worst when it comes to slamming ourselves. We cannot be introduced to another lady without doing the self-judgement assessment: Look what she is wearing, I don’t own any trendy jeans like that. She is thinner than me!  Prettier!  I bet she makes homemade, organic bread.  She is so put together.  I bet she can do math in her head instead of on a napkin.
Let’s leave the pit of self-judgment behind, confess our sins when we need to and move on. Don’t let your ideals guilt you to death. Plan out your priorities according to your day, and then use it or lose it. When you can’t use your schedule perfectly, use it imperfectly and thank Jesus for His grace and progress!
My own confessions:
When I wrote the post on nutrition, my youngest son was coming off a sugar high.
When I wrote the post on outdoor activity, my youngest son had been staying up half the night playing a gaming device that I had taken away and he had retrieved without permission .  Consequently, he suffered the side effects I mentioned in that post- exponentially.
I just put in a load of towels, they were everywhere  around  the house, and I don’t know if my youngest has clean underwear.
Let’s continue to encourage one another and press on to the ideal, but let’s live in reality!

One thought on “Idealism verses Reality

  1. Your Facebook, twitter, etc. must be different from mine. I only check kin and friends pages and I see snippets of Bacon, doughnuts, new desserts, whatever. I don’t see a perfect nutritional anything, LOL.

    I remember Mom doing a skit when she was in school where in it, all the things that could go wrong in a young mothers life do go wrong. A kid is running naked down the alley, another is coloring on the walls, some one is throwing up, etc. I don’t remember all the specifics but I remember it being funny and about us.

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