Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Not-So-Fabulous Mom

We just got back from Elizabeth's gymnastics class and now we're home in a somewhat darkened house listening to the rain come down outside. I love days like these. Rainy days encourage me to slow down, to breathe, and to read and snuggle more with my kids.

As I said in my last post, these gymnastics classes are wonderful for my little girl. She's rather timid, not just socially, but physically as well. She will never be a dare devil! Gymnastics is encouraging her to speak up a little more as well as take some risks that she normally never would have done. It is so fun to watch her blossom.

During her hour long class, I try to keep Gustin contained and I can't help but to observe the other moms. Some watch their kids intently, some seem to be very busy with papers and planners, others make one call on their cell phone after another and some sit and chat with each other. They are all so different, except for one thing, they are all fabulous.

By fabulous I just mean that they are everything that I am not, namely perfectly put together. A Fabulous Mom's clothing is unwrinkled and fashionable, her toes are pedicured, her hair is perfectly cut, colored and styled, her makeup is impeccable and her accessories coordinate. Please don't think that I am saying that there is anything wrong with that, it's just that it's not me. Today I had my freely graying, slightly-damp-from-my-shower hair pulled back in a quick ponytail. I used wrinkle remover spray on my shirt to quickly try to smooth it out before I went out the door. I was wearing $5 flip flops though I did actually get a light application of makeup on before we left. I don't think there was anything wrong with that either. The way I was dressed suits my personality and aligns with my priorities.

So how come when I'm around Fabulous Moms, I start to feel insecure about my looks and my priorities?

Why do we mother's feel threatened just because someone else is doing something differently than us? It could be the way we discipline our children or how we show love for our spouse or the way we feed our families. We make choices that we think are best for us and our families, but then as soon as we see someone else doing it differently, we immediately question our decisions.

Maybe this tendency is a good thing. It makes us constantly reevaluate our choices and make sure that they do align with our priorities. But, it can also create anxiety, lack of confidence or can even pressure us into making choices that do not align with our priorities.

I guess these feelings are common when you live a counter cultural lifestyle. Being a practicing, orthodox Catholic stay-at-home mom is certainly not a lifestyle seen on TV or in the movies or even on my street in my neighborhood.

I don't know if there is a point to this long and rambling post. But, one thing I have realized as I have been writing it is that I am so thankful for blogging. Through blogging I don't feel so isolated as I struggle on a daily basis to be counter-cultural. On any given day I can connect with moms (both Fabulous and Not-So-Fabulous) all over the country and the world who live their faith. What a blessing.


Shannon said...

I think you're a perfectly fabulous and wonderful mom!
You love your kids... you're invested in their lives... you love God....and you love your neighbor.
As long as you're taking a few minutes in there to take care of "you" you're golden.

BLessings to you, you dear and wonderful, FABULOUS mama.

Colleen said...

You are so sweet! Thank you! I feel more fabulous already!

Lillian said...

I know what you mean. When I take the girls to swim practice every evening, I seldom look my best. First, I can't see putting on makeup when its so humid in there. And I usally wear a ponytail because I know I'm going to get hot. If I could jump in the water, I would!!

Plus, I am SOOOOO pregnant that I just know people are whispering and watching to see if I slip into the water!! LOL!!

Anyways, I am such a contrast to all the moms who are there after arriving from work in their suits, makeup and hair do's. But I've learned to just not care.

If I went out into the world everyday, I'm sure I would work harder on my appearance. Instead, I'm just glad that I don't have the need to impress other people, other than Craig.

I do want to look my best when I go out but only so my girls have a healthy image of motherhood. And I really think that its healthier for them to think of women as normal beings and not fashion dolls.

My heart goes out to all those mothers/daughters who are so caught up in their looks, fashions, and shopping. They really get their self worth from how they look. And little girls are learning this at such a young age. I prefer not to make too big of a deal of my daily appearance (without looking too frumpy either). Its humbling to not be wearing the latest.

Its good for me and my girls. But I know that the other moms would NEVER understand. That's okay!

You're a fabulous mom in so many ways, Colleen!!! I'm sure Eric would agree.

Sure do miss the both of you!!!

Colleen said...

I agree with you. I want my kids to have a healthy view of beauty. They need to appreciate the natural beauty God gave us, not artificial beauty that takes so much time and money to create. I want to look decent, but I'm not going to spend more than 10 or 15 minutes on my appearance on a weekday morning. There are too many more important things to do! And, you are right, it is humbling to not be wearing the latest. That's how I'll look at my weekly hour at gymnastics, it's an opportunity to practice humility!

Tracy said...

Man.. join the club:) I have been feeling this way now for the past 15 years and was almost scared to give it a voice.. it feels so good to know that I'm not the only woman/mom that has these same feelings.
I sometimes wish that I could look like the working mom but still be the stay at home mom.. I would like a fab wardrobe but not work the big time hours to make the kind of money for that wardrobe, makeup etc.
But, at the end of the day, I know that I'm right where God wants me to be and other mom's are hopefully following the path that God wants for them.. I would like to think that as moms.. working, at home, etc. we all have the common bond of being "moms" and so in that way we share a sisterhood "so to speak" and I know that right now.. I'm right where I need to be and right now you are right where God wants you to be.. so hold your head high and smile at all the others mom's.. they might be feeling jealous and insecure when they look at you and feel like they should be at home etc.
I think as moms and women in general we tend to be way too hard on ourselves. Blessings:)

Jill said...

Europe is especially full of Fab moms. 'Everyone' has high heeled black boots no matter what they are doing. I've got bad knees and babies that need holding. I'm a tennis shoe girl all the way!
I really don't fit in fashion-wise. But, I always tell people that I rarely have people not like me, because they simply don't see me as a threat! ;) I'm not ever going to be competetive, let alone win, a fashion or achievement contest...so, there is no reason to be jealous of this Mommy.
Well, except that I have the cutest kids ever!!
Anyway, you and I are a lot alike. Have I said that before? :)
The fun part is that when I do feel like dressing up or doing something more with make-up, it has a dramatic effect. So, it makes it more exciting then if I toiled for hours on my looks every day.
I like jeans, a plain colored top, and my Land's End comfy brown shoes!

Anonymous said...