not exactly an expert

I don't want to speak for moms in general, or women for that matter.  I can only speak for myself, so I'm putting this out there.  If you feel the same way and feel compelled to validate me, my sanity would greatly appreciate it.

I am my own worst critic.

There are some days when I take a step back and think, "Man, I just can't do anything right."  And maybe even, "Is there anything I can do?"

I like to think we all have those days.  (It makes me feel better about myself.)

The days when we wake up, having completed our daily "To Do" list the night before, only to be foiled by a late-ringing alarm clock, a dryer that seems to be taking four hours to dry a single load, the realization that your son forgot to do his daily reading the night before and you have ten minutes to get him fed, dressed, and to school, and a nice spit-up stain or snot smear that you notice on your shoulder only after you arrive at work. 

That's when you realize you left your lunch in the fridge, the milk on the counter, and you're wearing your flip-flops instead of your work shoes.

You make it through the rest of the work day generally unscathed, only to get to the daycare, where you find that your infant is running a low-grade fever, your toddler had an accident during naptime, and your kindergartener got a yellow face for talking.

Maybe all of those things didn't happen in one day, and even if they did, it wouldn't be the end of the world, but some days just don't seem to go the way we think they will.  Lists or no lists.  (Though I contend that one of the most depressing things out there is a To Do list with nary an item crossed off.)

I'm generally able to give myself a chin-up, you-can-do-it pep talk that enables me to get through dinner and bedtime, and I usually do.  However messy and unpretty it might be.

The other day, my best working mommy support group posed the question, "What is your expertise?  Outside of work, if you were called to be an expert witness, what topic(s) would you be able to cover?"

Perhaps I took the question too seriously, but I thought long and hard about it.  And quite frankly, I walked away a little depressed.  I don't think of myself as being able to claim expert status on anything.  I can't cook.  I don't sing, dance, possess skill in any kind of fine art.  I don't speak any foreign languages.  I don't enjoy history in any capacity other than in the form of a good movie.  It's been a long time since I played or even watched organized sports.

What can I say?  (Again) I'm my own worst critic.

As an exercise towards attaining #23 on the list (Have more confidence in myself), I've decided to make a list of things at which I do excel.  Areas of expertise, maybe.  So here goes nothing.
  1. Folding towels (especially after waiting four hours for them dry)
  2. Refolding towels (after my rambunctious children knock them down rough-housing on the bed)
  3. Not crying about having to refold towels (after my rambunctious children knocked them down after I folded them after having waited four hours for them to dry)
  4. Entertaining three children with nothing but items found in the glove compartment when we end up waiting unconscionable amounts of times in the car for various reasons
  5. Making my own baby food (I can't cook things that have to be seasoned and taste well, but by golly I can boil a vegetable and freeze it in small cubes)
  6. Breastfeeding (just wait...there's going to be a BIG blog about this on or around May 13th)
  7. Couponing (a special thanks to www.southernsavers.com and www.couponmom.com for their assistance on that)
  8. Cheerleading (in the form of encouraging my kids)
  9. Sending encouraging mail (not to toot my own horn, and I'm not even sure if the mail ends up being encouraging, but it's meant to be and I send lots of it...so I get to count it)
  10. Jogging more than a mile without keeling over (second-ever 5K coming up on May 1st)
  11. Creating my own circumstantial lyrics to the tunes of the Alphabet Song, Frere Jacques, and If You're Happy and You Know It
  12. Feeling a deep emotional connection when I hear about ailing children
  13. Retaining unimportant, but usually interesting bits of trivia
  14. Sneezing in rapid succession
  15. Knowing the different drink each of my 5 family members prefers at dinnertime
  16. Wearing the same t-shirt for 10+ years (obviously I take them off to wash them, but you know what I mean)
This is by no means exhaustive, but I guess it's proof enough.  I am good at some things.

We all are.  

Some might say that women and moms fall into the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none category.  I would probably agree.  But I also believe that we sell ourselves short.  I believe that I sell myself short.  The reality is that we are probably a master-of-all.  The tricky part is convincing ourselves of that fact.

Maybe I didn't quite nail the message of empowerment, but here's a little food for thought this Monday afternoon.

The most common way people give up their power
is by thinking they don't have any.
~ Alice Walker ~

Today, I challenge you to make a list (of course!) of five things you do well.  However simple, however trivial they may seem.  Because, believe it or not, we're all good at some things.

Edited to say that I would absolutely LOVE to read your lists if you're willing to share.  Thanks so much and have a blessed day!


Diane said...

and Jennie - you missed at least one: writing interesting, thought-provoking, and humorous articles! you always make me smile.

Cindy said...

I agree with Diane, I love reading your blog. I think you are great at it.

Debbie said...

Oh goodness, I was going to say what was said above, and they beat me to it.

Actually, I gave a shout out to you in my most recent post before I even read this because I am continually amazed at that incredible mommy dexterity of yours. You are a multi talented young lady!

I loved this post for a variety of reasons.


(The one who often flunks towel folding...
with or without children running around at her feet.)

Suzanne said...

Five Things I am Good At:
1. I am very good at creating weekly menus, shopping for the items, and sticking to the menu for the entire week.
2. I am very good at advocating for people who aren't able to advocate for themselves.
3. I am very good at making lists and planning (maybe not the follow through, but by-golly I can plan!)
4. I am very good at trying new things with an open mind.
5. I am very good at seeing both sides of every situation.

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