Idealism Versus Reality

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 post 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. The reality in this scenario is adding more whole food to our diet, not arriving at perfection in just one day (or week or month).

The Social Media Trap

Social media can paint a perfect picture of others’ lives. Guess what? Facebook lies. So does Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites. Social Media only shows 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 a perfect life. I listened to the results of a study on social media on a radio talk show. 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. 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 than them. Todd Wilson, author of Lies That Homeschooling Moms Believe, asks:

Do you believe the lie that everyone’s…

  • Kids are smarter than your kids?
  • House is cleaner than your house?
  • Meals are better, healthier, and more organic than your meals?
  • Life is more disciplined and more spiritual than your life?
  • House is more peaceful than your house?
  • Marriage is better than your marriage?
  • Doing a better job than you are?

If you do, you are believing a lie. It’s a trap that can keep us stuck in depression and anxiety. Instead we must believe we are the best Moms for our kids. We are working toward ideals without getting stuck on perfection. Remember, we’re looking for progress! Not a comparison trap full of lies.

This list applies to all Moms

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 a household administrator is their full-time job. But those ideas are ideals to strive for, not a measuring stick to JUDGE by.

Moms Raising Kids With Capital Letter Syndromes

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-judgment. 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. Add a layer of stress from what is going on in the world, and we can believe others are coping better than we are. While we take a nap every day or watch movies in the afternoon instead of clean, we are sure everyone else is out there solving all the world’s problems. Throw that sort of thinking off. Take it captive and replace it with “I’m doing exactly what God called me to do right now.” If you feel as if you need to do more, ask God to open a door and wait, not worry, compare, and carry the weight of the world on you. Jesus already did that.

Encourage One Another in Love

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 or suggestions, but not heaping condemnation on ourselves or others.  I share 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 parenting well– 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-judgment 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.

Leave Self-Judgment Behind

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.Let’s continue to encourage one another and press on to the ideal, but let’s live in reality! 

3 thoughts on “Idealism Versus Reality

  1. Though I haven’t always succeeded, I try not to be in self-created or world created boxes. I remember, in my youth, when a couple of friends said this is who he is, referring to me. I didn’t like that, and I didn’t agree, just laughed it off. And in my life, I’ve done things none of my friends or family could have predicted. They’re not supposed to. We all are created equal but different.

    1. Yes, we are created equal but different. Isn’t it great? And I love that you have done some great stuff with your life that no one could have predicted!

      1. I always encourage the youth to try different things, follow their interests, for who knows what the future will hold. I can tell you are one always thinking and pondering.

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