“I don’t own goats” and other benchmarking don’ts

After a long day fraught with drama of various and sundry sorts, I flopped onto the sofa next to my long-suffering husband and bewailed my numerous fallings-short.

“I’m a really bad mom.  And I don’t dust the baseboards.  I served tacos for dinner twice in the past three days.  Also I’m having a fat day and my hair is going all Rosanne Rosannadanna.  What is WRONG with me?????”

I used to think I was the only woman who suffered from this problem, but a friend of mine told me she had a similar episode with her husband, except she ended the litany with “AND I don’t even have any goats!”  Apparently my friend knows a girl who is not only supermom, but also owns livestock.

The idea of my very accomplished friend feeling like a failure because she didn’t own any goats made me laugh, but it also reminded me of my own need for reasonable and realistic benchmarks.  I thought of the three most common ways I mess up with benchmarks, and came up with some ways I’m going to try to combat these tendencies.

“I don’t even have any goats!”

My version of this is nowhere near as funny as my friend’s so I’m using her line for my tendency to impose false standards on myself.  The fact is, I can’t do it all.  I can’t expect to accomplish each and every thing that everyone I know accomplishes.  We are uniquely gifted, uniquely called, and uniquely placed.  It’s great to be inspired by the what other people accomplish, but if you get down on yourself for not doing what your friends and acquaintances are gifted, called, and placed to do, that’s not helpful.  Maybe a better benchmark for accomplishment is keeping an eye on my own goals and trying to translate them to daily tasks.

“I’m having a fat day.”

Sometimes I wake up and feel like I gained 40 pounds overnight.  I’m tempted to mope around and console myself with some sort of scrounged up treat (this is one of the reasons I can’t keep chocolate on hand at my house!).  What I’m trying to remember to do on days I feel chubby is to take actual measurements.  Sometimes the kids kick the scale and unzero it, or sometimes you drink a ton of water or eat a salty dinner or what have you and the scale might show a slight increase, but the real test is the measuring tape.  I kept measurements for different weeks and months after having each of my babies so I could measure my progress and know I was on track.  It struck me last week that I could do the same thing now and be reassured that my fat day is all in my head.

“I win the Bad Mom Award.”

It’s good to want to excel at parenting.  Of course you want to be the best mom you can be, to grow in patience and understanding and grace, and to raise your children lovingly and effectively.  But then there are those days when the kids fuss at each other non-stop, disobey and talk-back incessantly, and maybe…oh I don’t know…stick their Batman figurines into the wet drywall in the living room, and all of a sudden I am not Zen Mama.  Instead I become Fierce Impatient Mama and have to apologize to everyone and nominate myself for the Bad Mom Award.  At times like those it’s important for me not to get bogged down in feeling terrible, but instead to use the impetus to ask forgiveness, pray for strength, and purpose to do better next time.

The thing is, being negative and down about myself doesn’t make me happier, doesn’t bless my family, and doesn’t compel me to make positive changes in my life. It just bogs me down.  So I’m working on positive spins.

Just for fun, I’d love to know your positive spin on the whole goat owning issue.  Complete this sentence in the comments:

I may not own goats, but at least I….

Image credit

13 thoughts on ““I don’t own goats” and other benchmarking don’ts

  1. I may not own goats, but at least I have time to sit down with my girls and read a pile of books!

    Thanks for this! I easily fall into comparing myself with other moms I think have it more together than I do! I’m very thankful for Grace!

  2. I love this! Just remember, lady, you may not own goats, but YOU COMPLETED A NOVEL! As someone currently struggling with Nanowrimo and NO KIDS TO TAKE CARE OF, you are my hero! 🙂

  3. Love the goat picture. It is now printed out and stuck on the bathroom mirror.

    It’s a tough time for me to find positives, as you know, but prior to Friday I think I would have said…

    I may not own goats, but at least I started my back to the gym routine on track, and have stuck with it so far.

  4. Don’t have goats either, but at least I’ve gotten two decent nights of sleep in a row.

    Does that even count? 🙂

    (Who cares! I’ll take it!)

  5. A friend shared this and I love it. Especially the bad mother part. I’m battling the sickness and fatigue of early pregnancy and my usual patient self has been replaced by a grumpy impatient mom. Focusing on how awful I am isn’t helping anyone.

    I don’t own any goats but at least I have the privilege of being at home each day with my tots and have taught both (2, 3 1/2) many scripture verses and they both love Jesus. We don’t know the alphabet here yet but we can say the NT books of the bible 🙂

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