Let me explain.
I believe that a mother's life often looks like a track meet.
Let’s see, there is...
*The 100 yd dash to a meaningful day.
*The marathon to a good marriage.
*The 4x4 relay to obedient kids. That one is run with your spouse and the grandparents; so if it doesn’t go well, you can blame one of the other 3 legs. :)
*The hurdles to have a pinterest quality home where I usually end up just tripping over them.
*The triple jump for success at work (one jump for each role).
*The shot put to biblical knowledge where we throw verses, stories, videos, and practical lessons at our kids in hopes that they will catch and absorb some sense of biblical truth in their upbringing if we don’t knock them down with all of it first.
*The high jump to involvement at our kids school where you get to raise the bar with each added title - room mom, PTA _______, carnival ________, copy room coordinator, class video maker, book fair volunteer, Friday reader, …
*The pole vault (looks a lot like the high jump but can go even higher) of church involvement where you get a raise for activity of Sunday school teacher, office volunteer, AWANA worker, women’s ministry coordinator, Sunday greeter, hospitality committee, small group leader, …
And I am sure there are more!
I don't know about you but when I become a track star, I run into 2 key things in the meet.
First, I find myself competing in every event and sometimes trying to compete in two at the same time. Second, instead of participating in the meet along side my fellow moms and believers, I find myself running against them.
I didn't enter the race as a check it off competition, but somehow it becomes that on its own.
So Why Do We Do This?????
I think we do this for a number of different reasons:
1. Some of us think that God is like the point score or trophy at the end of the meet. We subconsciously believe our way to Him is through good achievement and outrunning the person in the lane beside us. So we run like crazy hoping to earn as much of God's approval as possible.
2. Some of us are addicted to the applause in the stands and it is never enough. I see this one all over Facebook where we post every achievement while waiting for the comments to tell us "good job."
3. Some of us feel like no matter how good we do, it will never be enough and so we just keep on trying and pushing until we are gasping for air at the end of the track and ready to walk away from all of it altogether. If this sounds a bit extreme to you, I can tell you it is very real. I have had those days where I was ready to quit every job and live on a piece of land in the hills. The problem is when we can't quit and run away, we run towards other things that numb us like alcohol, infidelity, shopping, etc.
4. Some of us don't know how NOT to be busy. This is a curse of the women in my family. My mother was an overachiever, my sister is an overachiever, and I too find my identity sometimes in my doing. When I am caught up with free time on my hands, I am lost. This is not good.
5. Some of us are people pleasers. I have a sweet friend like this. Those around her know that if you need help with something, you can always ask her because she can't say no. For that reason, I try not to ask for anything but others do and it sends her running in too many directions.
6. Some of us feel like we have something to prove as though being a mom is not enough. We are smart, college-educated women with good life experience and we feel like if we aren't putting that to use that somehow we are wasting it. Don't hear this as a knock on working moms. I have 2 jobs and am right there with you. I think the key is to work if you feel called to it or if you need to in order to care for your family. We don't have to work or say yes to the next race in order to prove our intelligence or worth.
Are you a track star? Do you see yourself in one of these 6 motivators to compete and do more? When I evaluate the track meet, it helps me to sit with my motivations for a little while before I embrace the solution. I have some "what's next" solutions for us but I am going to post those in a few days after we have pondered why we do what we do.