Before I had children I worried that people would think I talk too much. I worried that my opinions were too strong. I still worry that my inappropriate humor will seem, well … inappropriate to more appropriate people. As I have evolved into a woman of almost thirty I worry less about what others think of me and more about my inner truth.
No, not some relative theory of right versus wrong.
I worry that I will not have enough integrity to be who I am in every situation.
Facebook is one example. Do I post that I would rather throw myself down the stairs than create another meal plan? Or do I say what everyone wants to hear a mother say? Something like, “So, glad I put that roast on this morning. Now off to peel, boil and mash the potatoes!” with a little :) to place an emphasis on the joys of my domesticity. Do I post that I hate being organized because it causes my neurons to catch on fire with everything I am now responsible with? Or do I say something positive?
Even now, I can’t think of a single example of something nice to say about my schedule. How’s that for a :).
My search for personal integrity is only complicated by my family. Children have a way of making you face your insecure worries about other peoples’ thoughts. Every time you are forced to make a decision about your children in the presence of another human being your personal integrity is being tested. Oh, and don’t let that human being be a person whose opinion actually counts for something. Sweat drops will start to form and your brain will start to ooze at the thought of making the “wrong” parenting choice.
Marriage means compromise. It means that because you are now one human being, you get to share a personal integrity that may not be your own. My personal integrity tells me that my sarcasm will give my children a unique sense of humor while my husbands’ says it will give them all smart mouths. Unfortunately, we are probably both right and we have to negotiate what our personal truth will be in our home.
I try to live honestly. I hate it because it does mean vulnerability. It means that when you are moving through this world you are not wearing a coat of arms. There are no facades. When people say mean things about me, there can be no misunderstanding. They are talking about ME. When my parenting is called into question, it really is MY parenting. I am not pretending to call my son a Ding Dong when he finds his gloves in the bottom of his backpack (but Mom, I looked there!).
The good news is that this rule also applies in good circumstances. When I tell my husband that he is the hardest worker I know, it’s the truth. When I allow a friend to sit in the warmth of my kitchen it’s because I want her there. When I am praying for a friend, I am praying with sincerity.
Where my honesty fails me I hope that my love will bring me some mercy.
:) ….for emphasis.