I heard about this article from Young House Love Has A Podcast and it really caught my attention. Here is a small excerpt:
“To the student who does all the homework in his hardest subject and turns it in promptly, who studies diligently for tests and shows up at every before-school help session, who has never once read an online summary instead of the actual book and who nevertheless manages to earn no grade higher than a C: You have already aced the real tests. School is the only place in the world where you’re expected to excel at everything, and all at the same time. In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best. For the rest of your life, you will never again think of this C, but you’ll bring your character and your capacity for hard work to all your future endeavors.”
(Here is the link to the rest of the article:
Maybe this is super obvious to others but “In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best” was MIND BLOWING to read! Mind blowing because how true is it?? We want our kids to be great at whatever they try. Academically, physically, creatively, we want them to be good at EVERYTHING. I certainly think it is great for kids to try everything since without trying, they won’t know if they like it or not. But our culture is so against kids not succeeding at something so we pressure them to keep trying something they hate to see if maybe over time they won’t suck.
Honestly, I think that is one of the reasons I like teaching choir more than any other subject. For starters, I’m not really great at any other subject (again, so why do we expect kids to be??) and also, kids don’t typically take choir if they don’t want to. Occasionally parents will insist their child take some sort of music class and even in some schools they do require music class past elementary and middle school. But for most of my experience, I had the pleasure of working with kids who wanted to be there and wanted to give singing a chance. Not everyone I worked with was the world’s greatest singer and some even downright struggled. But those that weren’t very strong AND didn’t enjoy it, got to drop at semester.
Academically their path is pretty much paved. We love our kids’ elementary school and at the same time acknowledge that with their resources and standards (ugh don’t even get me started) they do the best they can. So we will support them as much as we can through any homework given, reading help and interventions as needed.
Physically their path is a lot more flexible but sometimes it seems that flexibility can be stretched too thin. In our house we try to avoid that by having each kid pick one sport to participate in and they get to choose that sport. When they are young we introduce them to gymnastics. When they are 4 they can choose between that and soccer and as they get older and hear about more friends doing softball or basketball or volleyball, they can choose which they would like to participate in. But only ONE sport at a time.
Emotionally we just need to be there. There for emotional highs and the lows. Not making the team is tough and getting a lower grade on something you worked hard on can be incredibly frustrating. And, knowing all kids are different, they will all react differently to failure. And that is okay. As parents, we will do our best to help them figure out which way of dealing with things works best for them.
So while we can’t always control the fact that when our kids are young, they will have to continue to take science classes despite being absolutely terrible (that would be me…), the thing I've learned, and continue to learn, the best thing we can do is encourage kids to find what they love and to keep working hard at it.
Read the first part of my journey here and then below for the final part
December 30, 2018
"Then there are people like the dang lactation consultant at the hospital. I am struggling to nurse baby G. Pretty much since day one she has not nursed well leaving me devastated and driving myself crazy trying to make it work for her body and mine. So when I went to the consultant to talk about what to do she suggested pumping 8-10 times a day to keep my supply up. Uh, what? Who the heck has time to pump 8-10 times a day let alone someone with three other kids at home and one in school? Her response, “you know when those people tell you once you have a baby to let them know if you need anything? Now is the time to take them up on that offer.” Seriously? When people say that, they usually mean a meal or meeting to talk. And, NEWSFLASH, people work! If I need to pump 8-10 times a day, 4-6 of those times will be during 8am-5pm, you know, normal business hours. I don’t have family that stays home all day just waiting for me to ask for them to babysit. Get your head out of your ass lady and don’t assume everyone has a support system that includes free childcare.
But anyway, back to nursing. Do I quit nursing and see if that helps? Can I assume that is the root of the issue since I never struggled to nurse my other four kids so it would make sense that that difference could be fueling this? A few weeks ago I ran into a friend at bible study who had a baby about a month after me. She talked with me about how she tried to nurse for a couple of weeks but chose to switch over to formula and has felt SO much better. That week had been particularly hard as far as nursing so when I talked to Andre about it that night, he agreed that it might have been a sign that it was time to switch to formula. But then the next week G did SO well when nursing that I decided to keep going. It didn’t last, however, and when I saw her doctor a few weeks later, they said to not give up as long as I can. So I have one person telling me she is so much happier switching to formula and someone else saying I need to stick this out as long as possible. That’s not confusing. Or frustrating…cue anger. This doctor doesn’t know my case. They don’t know that I literally start bawling every time we have a particularly bad day and I ended up pumping 4-6 times while she only nurses from me once. They don’t know that trying to find time to pump when you work in a school is not easy. They don’t know that I can feel my heart break as my baby gags when I try to get her to latch. They don’t know me. But they sure do know how to lay on the guilt.
So what do you do? When people want to be supportive but they aren’t. Or you don’t fit into the mold of typical postpartum behaviors. Or people are telling you that you are doing a great job when they don’t know you yelled at your kid this afternoon for wetting the bed after YOU forgot to put their nap time diaper on. I am not supermom. Don’t put that label and associated pressure on me. I love my kids, and my husband and the family we have created and that’s all I should care about."
I've learned a lot about myself and managing these difficult feelings mostly through therapy but also from trying (key word *trying*) to ask for help more. Help is available and the thing I've learned is to look for it when you need it and feel no shame.
I have never had stellar self-esteem. Middle school was not a great time for me, high school was better but still brought with it some pretty bad days and then in college I met the love of my life. It has only been recently, like, the last six of months, that I started therapy and found out that I have general anxiety disorder. It has probably been around for a while but really only became noticeable through signs of postpartum depression this past year.
I won't go into all of the details of how incredible my first full therapy session was (it was GOOD) but it was through reflection the evening after the appointment that I had this realization. I don't let Andre love me.
^^We've actually sent these gifs to each other from across a room^^
Whenever he compliments me, helps unload the dishwasher or suggests I go out with friends, there is something inside me that decides he can't mean it -- the compliment must be because I have not looked good before. He unloaded the dishwasher because he must have been frustrated because I hadn't. He suggests I go out because I must have been too rough on the kids or yelled too much. Those words have never been uttered from his mouth so why do I decide to put them there?
I am in the thick of motherhood. So much poop and crying and scraped knees and poop and snacks and toys and poop. And some days it just seems crazy that there could be this person that can see beyond my dirty hair and the same sweat pants from the last 5 days and see me. But he does. He reminds me daily that our life together is one that he is so grateful to have and I feel the exact same way. There is no one I'd rather spend my life with so I need to acknowledge that it's possible for someone to feel the same about me.
I've come a long way in developing at least a little self-confidence and know I still have a ways to go. But for now, I am going to remember that he chose me to spend the rest of his life with so the thing I've learned is, I need to let him love me.
Hi, I'm Rebecca
I’m a wife, mom to 5 kids, former choir teacher, Christian and advice giver? I can honestly say I never expected to be the one giving advice when I so frequently ask for it, but the advice I’ve received is so valuable and must be shared! Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far!