I’ve always felt that I was less than. My whole life, I was never the best at something. I was never the fastest, the smartest or the funniest. I was, and am, completely average. So growing up, I was never a bragger. I had nothing to brag about.
Now that I’m a mom of three girls, I’m beginning to realize that how I view myself is going to have a HUGE impact on how my girls see me and how they see themselves. While I don’t want them focus solely on being the best at something, because maybe they won’t be, I want them to be able to take pride in what they can do. Even if someone can do it better.
So in contemplating this topic, I’ve come up with this. Some people can do one or two things incredibly well. And that’s it. But I can do A LOT of things pretty well or decently at the very least. And I’m alright with that. So in the spirit of accepting my above average mediocrity (you know what I mean) and being positive and realistic about who I am, here is a list of things I can do fairly well.
I can cook. And have you seen my expanding waistline? That should tell you that my food is pretty darn good.
I can be sporty. Before having all these babies, I played hockey, softball and volleyball in adult red leagues. Someday, I will again. If I stop cooking such delicious food…
I’m a decent photographer. Have you seen my girls? Trust me, they don’t always look like that. Nor are they usually that happy. It takes a lot of patience to get the right shot of tiny babies because they do not stay still.
I’m a good writer. While I will always doubt my ability (probably even if/when I get an agent and am published the traditional way) I did pass my masters thesis so that means there are experienced writers who approved of my skill.
I am artsy. Definitely not the extent my sister is (and I’m sure even with training I wouldn’t reach her level) but I can draw and I can create. Which was a big help teaching kindergarten. And for my crazy stay at home mom crafts.
I’m a good teacher. Or so I’ve been told. Of course I didn’t see eye to eye with every parent or really like all my students (hey, I’m only human – you try teaching middle school), but the parents that come back and the students that come back to thank me make all the bad stuff worth it.
I’m highly educated. Sure, just about anyone can beat me at trivial pursuit style games, because I have a shit memory, but I am smart. Not going to college was never an option for me. I know it’s not for everyone. And yes, there are plenty of people that are incredibly smart and talented, or who make excellent money, that did not go to college. I am proud that I was a full-time college student (while working 2-3 part-time or 1 full-time job) on the dean’s list, for ten years and as a result, have a bachelors and two masters degree. Sure I’m saddled with debt and still in a career that leaves me piss-poor, but I wouldn’t change any of the choices I made regarding my education. And if I had the means, I would be getting my doctorate, or a the very least, taking classes in another field. Because it’s never to late to learn something new.
I had to stop and ask my husband because I couldn’t think of anything else. According to him…
-I’m pretty handy and have a good eye for detail. Like I can decorate stuff good.
-I’m an amazing wife and mother (and he also seconds the cooking)
As I reread the list above I’m already starting to feel better about myself. And I guess that means this was a good exercise. Can I be better? At those things that I listed above? Or at something else? Sure. I know I have zero willpower and could be more open-minded (especially toward republicans 😉). I know if I applied myself more to certain things I could improve my skills. I could also be more social and I could work harder to rein in my emotions in difficult situations (sometimes I think my “fight or flight” is broken and has been replaced by “cry and flight”).
There are things about myself that I would like to change. As I’m sure is true for most everybody. But I have a wonderful husband who loves me, with all my faults, and three amazing little girls. So I hope that I can be better for them. Maybe not in decorating or drawing or photographing, but in being a better person. Someone who is confident in her own skin, proud of her accomplishments, who loves herself no matter what, and who is kind, less judgmental, speaks out for others, and is generous.
Because these are the hopes that I have for my daughters.