One of those blogs this morning had a post that tugged at my heart. It was called "25 Things I Don't Want You to Know About Me", and it was just that. While it sounds like pure self deprecation, the author's point was heartfelt and valid. In the world of blogs, we authors get to choose what we share about ourselves and our lives. What others (I'm thinking of other moms especially) often end up concluding after reading "The children and I played tag all day", "We took a picnic to the park and studied bugs", "I home school", "Here's my recipe for gluten free, dairy free, wheat free homemade bread", "And this is why my children are content not to have any electronics in the house", "Thank goodness I can stay at home with my children", that the reader is somehow...less than. The author is a better mom, Christian, wife, home maker, teacher, philosopher, role model...this list goes on and on.
There is a message board I used to participate in regularly, and that is exactly how I felt every time I read a post on there. I wasn't crunchy enough, I shouldn't feed my kids processed food, I don't discipline well, I should be more fashionable. My list goes on and on. After months of struggling to be "better" and to "fit in" there, I finally came to the realization that a few of the women on there used that place as their "atta girl" spot - where they went to feel better about themselves at the expense of others (and under the guise of "Christian wisdom", which is a whole other blog post for another day). I finally had to leave there. I couldn't compete, and quite frankly I stopped wanting to.
Now I know that only three people read my blog (shout out to the gang!), but per chance someone googles "Ann Kimmel" the author and ends up here, I want to be honest about who I am and what I struggle with. I am a real person with skills and abilities and flaws and insecurities. In an attempt to be more transparent, here is a list of 10 things I don't want you to know about me.
1. I spend way too much time wishing I were prettier. I would like to have a nose job, braces again, teeth whitening, hair extensions, fake nails, and a boob job, but I would hate for anyone to think I was vain...
2. I am a stay at home mom who pays someone to clean my house twice a month. I know I've mentioned that here, but only a few people in "real" life know that because I don't want people to think I am lazy or spoiled.
3. I struggle with being lazy sometimes.
4. My oldest son can't tie shoes without a good 5-10 minutes and even then I can't guarantee he'll be successful. Instead of practicing with him, I found him cool Velcro sneakers.
5. While I unquestionably love the Lord, I often prefer to work for Him than to sit and listen to Him. People compliment the work, and He might tell me something I don't want to hear.
6. At times, I wrestle with some serious stay-at-home-mom entitlement issues. As in, I know we are over budget on food, but I have just run all these errands with two children and I deserve a Chick-fil-a 3 count chicken mini combo with a Dr. Pepper.
7. I am terribly insecure about my cooking abilities. When I take a dish somewhere, I secretly wait to see if someone compliments what I've brought so I can relax.
8. I am about to delete this whole post because I don't want anyone to know this stuff about me!
9. I struggle to maintain friendships sometimes. It grieves me because I've lost some good ones, but I am not really sure what went wrong or how to fix things. I worry that I am not a good friend.
10. I yell at my kids too much. I am too impatient with them. Too often I get frustrated when they do normal kid things. Blech.
This may sound like a totally depressing exercise, but just like the original blog author I am going to end by thinking about something that I wouldn't have wanted you to know about me a few years ago and how that has changed for the better.
Despite the above list, I actually really like myself. I wasn't always comfortable with who I was and where I was at in life, but I have to say for the most part now I feel at peace with who I am and with my life. I am able to face the mistakes I make and move past feeling bad and embarrassed. I feel like I know more about who I am and who God created me to be. I am mostly very happy. I haven't always been able to say that in my life.
I hope by this time next year I will be able to say that I don't struggle as much with something on my list of 1 - 10...and not just because my hair has grown longer.