Friday, September 28, 2012

Proving Myself?

So, the 3 year old likes Power Rangers (sigh). Did you know there are five bazillion Power Ranger series? Seriously. The acting is campy, the fighting is staged (I like this, honestly), but it does teach good things: friendship, loyalty, good vs. evil, kindness, etc. So, I allow it (sometimes). Usually I tune it out when it's on, but I heard something this morning I liked: "I don't have to prove myself to anyone. I know who I am."

I do, though. Have to prove myself to people. In fact, I do this a lot.

Several times a day I use the phrases "well, my six kids" or "since I have six kids" or "when I had my sixth kid" or "since I had that sixth kid" all over the web, on FB, blogs, etc. I use it as a badge of experience and to prove that "I know what I'm talking about. I mean, I have six kids! Look at ALL these children! There are SIX! So many! I'm such a busy mom! I have SIX KIDS!!!!!"

Yeah. It's annoying and obnoxious, eh? And today I realized I am using it to prove to people that I know what I'm saying. I'm using it to place myself above other people, to judge them, to brag.

Truth is, my experiences are not any better or worse than anybody else's experiences. They're just slightly different. But everybody faces the same challenges in life: heartache, grief, hectic schedules, taking care of somebody else they love. It doesn't matter if the person is single, married, a parent, grandparent, or whatever.

I'm sure there are other things I brag about in order to prove my worth to other people. I keep talking about how "I could have majored in music" or "when I wrote that guest post" or "when I went to China." I use my experiences to prove my worth to other people. All. The. Time.

There's nothing wrong with sharing experiences. In fact, we all learn and grow from each other when we do share our lives. I think, however, what I need is simply a change in attitude in how I go about doing it, you know?

Example! One time, I was at a social gathering and I had baby with me (#6, just so you know that it's recent). I met a new person who also had her baby. We were talking about sleeping schedules (or lack thereof), and she went on to talk about her other kids (she has four). I got the impression that she was being very magnanimous in imparting her wisdom to me, the woman whom she thought had only one child, and I found it annoying, amusing, and interesting. I noticed that she was, in a way, bragging about her mothering. I felt bad about it, because I didn't want to embarrass her, but then I decided to be petty, anyway. I'm not proud of it, but I was bugged. So, I said something about "when my 9 year old..." and she looked surprised. She asked, "How many kids do you have?" And then it was my moment! I was gloriously to be validated and vindicated! "Six!" I said, proudly. She looked slightly embarrassed. I left feeling smug.

I don't think about it with pride, anymore. Sure, she was guilty of doing the same thing I did, but seriously? One-upping another mother just because I happen to have more children than she does? Who does that!? Oh, yeah. Me.

Point: I shouldn't have to prove my worth or my experience to anybody. I know who I am. My children and husband know who I am. Heavenly Father does, too, and really? His opinion is the only one that truly matters.

Have you felt the need to prove yourself to others? How? In what way? 


Anonymous said...

Hey, if I had 6 kids, I'd brag about it too. I mean, six kids--SIX! SO MANY!

I often feel the need to prove myself to others, and then I remember that I have no proof. It's very frustrating.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I do this too. When I'm with other moms, I have to throw in the fact that I have a son with special needs and I'm also attending college and caring for my physically disabled father...and when I am at school I have the need to make it known that I'm also a mom. Sometimes its a little like bragging, but mostly I do it because I'm searching for understanding and validation. I just want people to go, "Wow, that's a lot to handle. I'm proud of you for even getting out of bed today!" :)

Stephanie said...

Sometimes, I have to prove how smart I am. This was especially a problem right after I had my first kid, and I went from a high school math teacher to a stay-at-home mom of one, ONE!! In case you're wondering, the two jobs are perceived VERY differently by the general public, and it took some getting used to.