Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins, The Preschool Mommy | Posted on 24-07-2012
Tags: Gina Perkins, ordinary, preschool, purpose, value
So, here’s the deal. I’m just an ordinary person.
I’ve never excelled in sports. I don’t have an ounce of musical talent, and aside from my family – there’s nothing that I’m crazy passionate about. I mean, I love writing, and I love cooking – but I certainly wouldn’t die for either of those hobbies.
I didn’t go to college, so I can’t even claim a degree separates me from anyone else. I don’t speak any other languages. I definitely can’t dance. I have an unfounded fear of flying, so there goes feeding babies in Uganda or fostering Manatees in the Amazon.
Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I worked at some pretty incredible companies. From time to time, I’d get recognized by my managers, or even my manager’s manager, for stellar contributions or exemplifying company values – but that’s about as close to “extraordinary” as I’ve ever come.
By society’s contemporary definition, my life has been pretty unremarkable.
And then I had two kids. Becoming even more ordinary with each. I just ran out of time to save the world. Heck, I ran out of time to shower regularly, to keep my roots colored, or to renew my contact lens prescription.
I can’t sew. I never taught my babies sign language. We start off every morning with cartoons. Our attempt at growing our own vegetable garden failed (because I ran out of time to water). And even though every study directs me to say, “Please pet the doggie on her head, like this,” I still shout, “Don’t pull her tail!”
I’m just an ordinary person.
Sometimes, I let the world tell me that this is not enough. That ordinary isn’t enough. That I’m not enough. I spin my wheels trying to figure out what, if anything, will make me stand out from the crowd. Admittedly, there are moments when I blog about my latest quinoa recipe and I fantasize about becoming the recipe-blogging-mom. I get caught up in wanting to be the best at something, sometimes – anything. Or, maybe I get caught up in thinking that I should strive to be the best at something.
I recently read an article from the NY Times. It is all about “redefining success and celebrating the ordinary.” It’s about living a full and interesting, but ordinary, life – and being unapologetic for that. The article begs the question, “What about being compassionate or living a life of integrity?” How does that measure against what we’ve come to know as success?
By the standards described above, “ordinary” becomes transformational for me. Less of a curse word. It’s actually about embracing all that I am – the often unkempt, glasses-wearing, zip-up hoodie and yoga pant clad mom. The one who’s super content with her average life. Alas, it’s not about all of the things that I am not.
Now that I have children, the definition of success includes things like making it through a grocery store without any tantrums, or getting my three year old to eat anything besides yogurt. Success becomes less and less about impressing anyone else, and more about living a life of contentment. (Content doesn’t mean lazy, or uninspired, by the way).
At the end of the day, all I really want is a harmonious home. I want to know that my children are happy and fed and bathed. I want to know that my husband loves me. I want to know that my friends appreciate me. I want to know that my advice is valued, my wisdom respected, and my trust earned. It’s simple, really.
While my job is to recognize the potential of my children, and to do whatever I can to stimulate their growth in the areas where they excel – my job is not to make them the best at those things. My job isn’t even to expect the best. My job is to enjoy watching my children grow in a direction that fulfills them and builds their confidence. It’s not up to me to get my children into college – its up to me to ensure they have the tools to find their own way there.
My job, my purpose, is to exemplify what’s important in life. And to me, success measured by achievement is meaningless if getting there wasn’t driven by passion and an authentic desire. To me, living extraordinarily means loving indiscriminately. It means treating people, and the earth, with respect. It means telling the truth compassionately, and with conviction. It means walking the talk, wearing your heart on your sleeve, and being an open book. It means unabashedly sharing who you are. It’s such a shame that the world around us would consider such things as “ordinary.” In this day and age, the scarcity of such values makes them anything but ordinary.
So, I’m ordinary? Yep. I’m totally cool with that. As the article so eloquently says, “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” Someday, the world will see me, though. They will see me through the strength, confidence and compassion of my girls. They will see me through the impact that my girls will have on this world – for the how they will contribute to extraordinary causes in ordinary ways.