Below is a little something I wrote specifically for our Mother’s Day Out newsletter. It is for all us Moms in the trenches with our tiny ones, making messes, memories, and trying to have fun along the way!
Happy Fall! This is by far my favorite month. I’m really good at this season. I like to cook stews and simmer chili, bake treats, and add pumpkin to everything. The air is crisper, the days shorter, and it’s a time where I intentionally gather everyone near. Warm layers, throw blankets, hot cocoa, snuggles on the couch, and pillow forts are a few of my go-to faves this time of year.
Finding our Identity Through Masks
Halloween is fast approaching and I’ve finally learned preparation is paramount to any holidays’ success. I’ve been probing for costume ideas since July and my eldest Cade has changed his mind on the direction of his costume three, no make that, four times. His indecisiveness is because he wants to be so many things. In his mind, as soon as he puts on the Superman cape, he is Superman. Likewise, dressing up like Optimus Prime will make him a Transformer and thus the leader of the other Rescue Bots. (Any other superhero, rescue-loving boy moms?!) Masks can be powerful and transformative, and not just for the pint-sized crew.
Let’s continue the mask analogy into adulthood. How many masks do we wear as women? Do we put on brave faces for our family, or the mask of perfection for our friends? Much like a Halloween costume, are we wearing masks to take on a new persona or are we using it as a shield, to cover up and hide? Now, I am all about some superhero undergarments that hide imperfections and cover up a few extra pounds, but if we’re living under the shame of imperfection it’s time to shake the facade and face our true selves. Are we building a life and an identity based on perceptions or authenticity? If you get to know me for any length of time, you’ll learn that I’m bossy. I like to say that it’s actually a form leadership… but I really just like telling people what to do! Insert big smile and raised eyebrows!! How’s that for uncovering a masked trait!
Friends, it’s time to learn what sets us apart, the qualities and gifts that are unique to you. What makes your heart sing? Chances are you already know those things. The difficulties lie in creating the time to do what satisfies your soul. If you’re like me, it may be time to fully embrace and celebrate who you are and have been created to be. Learning more about your true identity is a personal and nuanced journey, and there are many who would love to walk you through the process if this thought resonates but you’re not sure what the next step looks like. (Talk with Krista Adkins at the front desk for more information or feel free to email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.)
My baby girl Charis is teething. It’s the nasty drooling, snot, fever, up all night, in pain kinda teething. She’s cutting two or three at once and it’s wearing me out! At one point, Jeb asked what I’d done to mask the pain. It struck a chord. Mask the pain. Of course, I want to see my daughter thriving and without pain, but it’s a painful and grueling process. (Sidenote: If you have remedies, I’m willing to try them! I’ve used all my bag of tricks with little success.) Anyway, the phrase got me thinking, “How am I daily masking pain without realizing it?”
For instance, I quickly move on after hurts, or little stings. Moving on is a good thing, but what if all those hurts and annoyances are being brought to our attention so we can deal with the deeper issues. For instance, I noticed a pattern of being continually peeved at the slightest inconvenience – someone cutting me off, a driver going below the speed limit, appointments running late, inefficiencies in the checkout line…the list can go on. Instead of viewing these situations as minor, I reacted like each one was a personal affront. In my mind, I was convinced that it was a scheme to derail me. Okay, not really…but I would lose peace and begin to internally fume. The larger and much deeper issues I discovered was pride, my need and insistence for control, and an inability to rest. Lots of deep stuff. If I didn’t have these flare-ups and then subsequently deal with the issues, I would probably still be masking the overwhelm with Sonic iced teas, sugary treats, and a few well-meaning, honks. 😉
As we gear up for all the Fall goodness that is to come, take a moment to reflect on the impact “masks” may have in your life. Is it a good time to personally take inventory? I use a physical reminder to take stock of my inner self each time I switch out my closet for the seasons. So, as I remove my summery wardrobe, I pose all sorts of questions to myself – Is there anything deeper I should be removing from my life? Any changes I need to be making for my family? What seems to be lacking and what do I need to add? As I quickly scan the closet, I internalize all the alter-egos I may have subconsciously become.