Inspired not Intimidated #1- Hair Envy
“Inspired, not intimidated.” This has become my personal mantra. Why? Because as a mother, I am confronted daily—sometimes hourly—with aspects of how others parent or just do life that intimidate and make me feel small. I know I can’t be alone in this.
A small example: I was walking my daughter to school on her first week. I was feeling good, feeling organized (let’s face it, the first week is probably the most organized we are going to be the entire school year), feeling proud—until, I saw it. Another little girl with the most beautiful up-do in her hair. I went from proud to conflicted in a moment. It wasn’t so much the hair as it was the fact that it was 8.40am and her hair was incredible. Creatively braided in a way that circles her head and then cascades in curls from the top. I mean, wow! It was beautiful. All I could do was stop and remind myself: it is the first day of school, mum went to a bigger effort—go her!
Okay, day 1 of school, well played. But this is the real world, nobody can keep that up consistently, right?!
But then, a few days later, I see this girl again. And, yes, her hair looks amazing—again! Then the next day and the next day. More than that, she has a different hairstyle each day and each one a work of art! I was conflicted before, but now I am just intimidated. How does a mother find the time? How does she get every little hair to stay still on her head? I look at my gorgeous daughter’s hair, tied back in a neat pony-tail, but still with wispy hairs escaping everywhere—how on earth does she do it?
I know it’s a silly little thing, I get that. But in our vulnerability, it’s so easy to look at these sorts of things and just think we are not as good as other mothers. Or worse, we let ourselves think we are somehow embarrassing our children. I remember thinking, If I look in this little girl’s lunchbox, I bet there’ll be a delicious and colourful arrangement of wholesome, homemade food as well! It was probably good that I didn’t look, because I think I would have cried had I seen that. The only possible conclusion being that her mother is so much more organized, so much more creative, so much more competent than little old me.
But, as I try to get in the habit of being inspired, not intimidated, I about face those thoughts … well, I try. This mother may simply be more organized and more creative than me. She might actually be a hair dresser! Maybe they were up half an hour earlier to make this creation. Maybe this little girl has hair with naturally good behavior so that there isn’t the same wrestle I have with my own daughter’s hair. Maybe this little girl cares more more about her hair than my daughter. Maybe she loves sitting through the pulling and tugging every morning. Who knows? And perhaps this is the point. I don’t know their circumstances and so any assumptions I make are simply that: assumptions. More importantly perhaps, a little girl’s perfect hairstyle is in no way a reflection on my abilities as a mother.
Hair is just not my strength—except, perhaps, a daily top knot … got that nailed! I am, however, good at plenty of other things. And to the mother who is capable of such creative hair creations: Go you! The fact is, you might be feeling just like me in other areas, but when it comes to hair, well, say no more. So, you play to your strengths, I will play to mine and we can just applaud one another for the effort. (Oh, and if I meet you, I might ask for a personal tutorial, because really you are a bit amazing!)
So, what about you that’s reading this. You may not be intimidated by someone’s hair creations, but it might be someone’s clean home, someone’s amazing cooking, someone’s perfect job, someone’s ability to play with their children, and so on and so on. I’m sure there’s something. How do we get on with life in a world where we’re surrounded by so many gifts and strengths and not feel small? I think a great first step is to choose to be inspired, not intimidated by what others can do. Then, champion each other in those things. I truly believe that appreciating strengths in others unlocks ability to find and appreciate the strength in ourselves. If we can celebrate each other then there is mutual benefit to be found. Intimidation robs us of that, don’t you agree?
Easier said than done I know…but gotta keep trying.
Inspired, not Intimidated; Inspired, not Intimidated; Inspired, not Intimidated. #goals