My journey to motherhood was disappointing. I thought I knew what to expect. I had been successful at school, work and just about whatever I had tried previously. When I became pregnant, I read all the books, bought the best baby gear, and was VERY attentive to my son when he was born. It turned out he had sensory processing issues and went on to be later diagnosed with a litany of letters to describe his “neurologically diverse” brain. Motherhood wasn’t easy. Especially for me. I wasn’t meeting my own expectations. I wasn’t having fun. I sort of hated being a stay at home mom. There was no joy in building with blocks, coloring, or playing with puzzles. If I’m being honest, I never liked coloring.
I wasn’t meeting my own expectations.
After a few years feeling like a complete failure, disappointed with myself and motherhood in general, I went to a conference for Christian women with a talk by Marcus Buckingham and his then new book “Strengths Finder.” The truth of his words and work resonated with me and changed my perspective and truly set me free from the mom competition. We all have unique gifts and callings of what we must offer the world- and our children. The Strengths Finder will help you identify yours.
Offer Your Children Your Strengths
While I may be awful at coloring and generally domestically challenged, I am great at recognizing people’s greatness. There are women (and probably men) who are gifted with challenging children. They are gifted by God to get joy from working with kids with autism or down syndrome or whatever challenges may exist. I can find those people. I can make sure my children get everything they need, even if it isn’t all from me. I can offer my kids my strengths: leadership, advocacy, innovative and creative thinking, project management tools and skills. Yes, it’s very different from a life with Gina as a mom. But, I can only be my best self. I can never be Gina. I would be a miserable shell of a Gina. My children are better off with Gina in their life and the mom they have.
Guilt over who we are at our core makes us worse parents. By finding, acknowledging, growing and living in our area of strength, we give our children the best version of ourselves and the best example of what we can possibly hope for them. Take a moment to take the quiz, then take a good long time to analyze if you are living within your area of greatness at home, at work, and within the community. You have unique gifts the world needs. The best mom competition too often robs the world and our children of our greatness.