As a full time working mum and wifey life is all about balance.
.. Work and family life.
.. Being part of a family unit and being an individual.
.. The guilt of leaving my kids with the need to have some time out.
.. Bringing home a wage and having a dream to pursue other interests.
.. Fun time at the weekend and the household chores (to be fair my hubby is amazing at helping with this one).
.. A desire to help others in the limited spare time I do have.
.. Romance and parenthood.
Ultimately its about looking after everyone and everything while also looking after myself. It’s hard to get the balance isn’t it?!
In the modern day world of social media overload it feels like we have high expectations to live up to – there are always going to be people who inspire us and make us want to be better or look better…
The fit chick – that girl who makes going to the gym while still enjoying treats and maintaining an amazing body look easy. I’m not trying to question their achievements but someone recently told me a little trade secret about this – that girl isn’t going to the gym for an hour three times a week as she might have you think to sell her new book or lifestyle plan! She’s there twice a day every day! And boy does it pay off for her but what mum has time for that?!
The perfect mum – the mother of four who posts gorgeous upbeat posts non stop and whose kids’ faces and clothes remain clean all day. The kids seem to adore her so much that they would never dream of throwing 7:30am strops about whether they want crunchy nut cornflakes or muffin for breakfast (yes that was me this morning!). She is literally supermum but every child is different and my two little characters (as much as I love them to bits) just don’t make it that easy!
The fashionista – I just need to accept that there are beautiful people in this world who would look good in a bin bag. They always look fab and I wish I could pull their effortless chic off as easily but I know I will always struggle with my style and getting the balance between feeling comfortable and looking glam (written as I sit here on a Saturday afternoon in leggings, a baggy t-shirt with no make-up and crazy hair!).
The flawless home-maker – I so wish I had the time, energy and ability to make my house spotless, trendy and lifestyle magazine ready. I would love to live in the big white house that wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of Ideal Home. My house has toys, bags of clothes/uniform/school essentials (that are carted to and from nanny’s house on a daily basis) littered around the house so we maybe manage that ideal spotless mess free dream one day a week – for an hour. (Sorry but you may also find a random pair of kids pants or socks lying in the hall or kitchen!)
I respect and salute all of these characters – they are all so brilliant at what they do. But that’s not my life – and if I’m honest I know it never will be! And that’s ok! So what should I be aspiring to?
Let me summarise one of my favourite pieces of scripture – Proverbs 31:10-31 using some modern translations:
A woman of strength and mighty valour.
She brings her husband good and he has entrusted his heart to her.
She delights in the work of her hands.
She sets food on the table for her house and others.
Her shining light will not be extinguished no matter how dark the night (Wow!).
She stretches out her hands to help the needy.
She even does works of righteousness for the benefit of her enemies.
Her teachings are filled with wisdom and kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household and meets every need they have.
Her children stand and bless her.
This virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe and fear of the Lord. She has become a radiant women and all her lovely works of righteousness deserve to be admired. I’ve read this scripture about the virtuous woman over a hundred times but when I recently looked at the Passion translation I noticed a very important thought in the final verse…
So go ahead and give her the credit that is due, for she has become a radiant woman, and all her loving works of righteousness deserve to be admired at the gateways of the city!
Did you catch that? She has become a radiant woman – she wasn’t born radiant, she didn’t get married, have kids and transform into the perfect wife and mother overnight. It’s something she had to work at and become! She had to learn to balance all those demands in that long list I shared.
She would have been a woman who knew how to identify her strengths and work on her weaknesses. Would she have been the type of woman who would have sat behind the wheel of her car that extra minute to soak up the quiet before returning to the family after a solo trip out? I think so! I also imagine that before she gained the title of the ideal woman she had moments when she sat on the kitchen floor crying in despair and exhaustion – most likely in a period of adjustment like settling into married life or being a new mum – we’ve all been there right!?
So instead of looking at social media and comparing ourselves to Tanya, Dionne and Hanna (my new female version of Tom, Dick and Harry) – why not select just two or three things at a time from Proverbs 31 to consider working on in your every day life? There might even be some characteristics highlighted that you already excel in and it’s encouraging to know that those things matter more than the obsessions and ideals of the world.
I know society today can struggle to understand and see the relevance of the Bible in the modern day but just as we look to ‘Friends’ or ‘followers’ for advice, our Constant Friend has given us his Word to encourage and instruct us as we journey through life’s ups and downs. My faith has given me a great foundation to help me aspire to become the best wife, mother, friend and worker I can be – I am not perfect and I never will be but if I follow the guidance of Proverbs 31 and cling to my Constant Friend then I have a chance of coming close to that ‘ideal’.
I recently had a very frank conversation with a friend and I noted that if life is as tough as I know it to be (having faced a particularly challenging couple of weeks) with God by my side then how difficult must it be for those who don’t have that close relationship with him?!
So let me leave you with this final thought…
If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.
Psalm 127:1 (MSG)
Carolyn says – “I’m a 30-something every day girl; a wife and mother of two beautiful princesses – balancing family, work, church activities and friendships ARMED WITH FAITH. My faith is the infallible weapon that assures me through the rollercoaster of life, the ups, the downs and the inbetweens, God has it all under control and my ‘constant friend’ will be beside me at all times because his eye is on this sparrow!”
Instagram – http://instagram.com/aconstantfriend