Labeled. Part one.

Something that fascinates me and always has is where I fit into things. How would I label myself and how would others label me? Who am I? Who am I compared to them? Who am I in relation to who I think I should be?

What got me started thinking about all this was a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks ago. She is a former counselor, now staying at home with her children. We were talking about the answer we give to the “What do you do” question.  When I am asked “What do you do?”  I find myself answering, “I just had a baby and stay at home with her, butIusedtobeateacher.” I find myself using my old label and tagging it onto the end of my new label. I feel like a cicada that has shed its skin and is standing looking at the leftover shell. Am I this new person or am I the old? Am I both or neither?

Another part of the difficulty I have with this transition into my new label is that I have these picture in my head of what a stay at home mom does and is. The first picture I carry around in my mind is equal parts 1950s housewife and crunchy granola mom. Clean house with laundry always done, dinner finished and dished washed, shower taken and hair done, baby toys picked up, carpet vacuumed; organic homemade baby food, cloth diapering, babywearing, attentive to baby’s brain development… The second picture is much simpler. Stay at home mom: two parts. One is staying at home. The second is mom. Both parts sound boring and stifling. I ask myself, who am I compared to others that have chosen to stay at home? Am I a balanced mix of stay at home amazingness, or am I boring?

Another reason is that I have attributed very little value to my new label and that’s why I feel such a need to explain what I used to do. Raising my daughter has tremendous value, yet it’s not enough yet for me to define myself by it. I desire it to be. I want to be fully accepting of my new “what I do.”

What about you? What are your labels? This week, take a look at how you’ve labeled yourself. Which should you keep? Which should you let go? Are there any you should add? I will be thinking as well. I think there’s a lot I want to add.


A month gone by

Procrastination, my old acquaintance, you whom I welcome at the back porch door, you whom I let into my kitchen for a cup of coffee yet pretend I don’t recognize you when we meet on the street, you that cause me worry and frustration; you have been with me for many long years. Procrastination, you are the other dark side of perfectionism. You tell me that if something can’t be done perfectly well, one might as well not even start.   Exhibit one: this blog. I had a goal of writing one post per week, which felt to me a worthy, easily attainable yet manageable goal. I realized procrastination remained in my life when I saw that my last blog post was almost a month ago. What does it matter? Should I be concerned? Should I care?

Yes, I should. It’s important to set goals for oneself and to meet them.

No, I shouldn’t. It’s about grace.

Yes and no.

Is there a deeper question? Probably so. A few summers ago I accompanied Nathaniel to a conference that his family has attended regularly for years. At this conference, someone spoke words into my life that had to do with writing books and that these books would have influence. Since then, Nathaniel has reminded me of those words at different times. I brushed them off. What if I do decide to write and nothing happens? What if I decide to try to write a book and no one reads it but my family? What if I’m not a good writer after all?

So many questions. When I was small, I ONLY had questions. I wanted to know the whys and whos and whats of everything. Why is that tree so tall? Who lives in that cemetery? Why did they die? How old were they? Why is our car grey and that car blue? Why. How. What. I’m still questioning and asking.

I don’t know how often I will write. I may only have a small yet religious following among my family members. I may never get a six figure book advance. Sheesh.  How serious do I need to be? How far into the future do I need to live?

Here’s to another post,  one month after the last. No promises on when the next one will come, only a promise to be honest and real and (possibly) funny.