It was a perfect fall night last night. The air was crisp and clean. The sky was clear, and it was relatively quiet outside. I love and hate the fall. I love the weather, but I hate the upcoming winter and that taints my enjoyment of this season a little. Last night, however, Lee and I enjoyed fall. One of our favorite things to do is sit out on our front porch with a cup of hot tea and just relax. We always have great conversation and last night was no exeption. Last nights talk, however, resulted in me having a very restless night.
When Lee and I got married, we were, as most married couples are, full of dreams and ambition. The world was ours. We just had to figure out how to take it. Marrying Lee was one of the best decisions I've ever made for many, many reasons, one of them being that he exudes confidence whereas I've always desperately lacked it. He's brought me out of my shell in a lot of ways, but I didn't realize what a frustrating person I must be to live with until last night.
I have always had great dreams. There have always been things that I wanted to do and accomplish, but I sorely lack the drive to go out and do them because I so badly fear failure. I am also quite dependent upon what others think of me. If I try and fail, what will people think? Will they secretly laugh behind my back? Will they shake their heads and wonder why I even tried in the first place? I don't know why I'm so plagued by these thoughts, but they are very paralyzing. Lee, however, could give a flying flip what people think about him. It helps that he is so likeable that anyone who didn't like him would have to be mentally unstable. Anyhoo, I was explaining to Lee how I wish that I could go see the debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin because I have such an admiration for Sarah Palin. You see, my problem is not a lack of ambition or drive. I have a lot of that, and if I really psych myself up, I can get over the fear thing. But once I became a mom, I began to have a hard time reconciling personal ambition with responsibility. I know that being a mom is my number one priority. So I guess my biggest hold up is a fear that I won't be able to do everything well. So, I end up doing nothing at all. A bad trade off. Sarah Palin has inspired me that it's okay to be ambitious and be a mom. Somehow I have a hard time putting those two things together.
Another woman who has inspired me in recent months is Dana from Mamalogues. If you've never read her site, you should - it's great. Here is someone who is just like me. She's a mom, a writer, a smart, ambitious woman and she's actually doing something with that. I admire that. I want to do something with my dreams. When I told Lee these things last night, he all but threw his hands up in the air and told me he's been trying to get me to do something about this for 8 years now. His exact words, so true yet so biting, were, "I've never met someone with so much talent and so little confidence to use that talent." Ouch. You gotta love an honest spouse, yeah? After that he started talking about war and Braveheart as an analogy for networking...Apparently I am like someone on the front lines who gets stabbed and retreats quickly at the discourgement, when I should be running all the way into the middle of the pack so I can see what I've got to work with. I admit, I giggled a little during this part of his rant.
After that, we went to bed where I spent the night tossing and turning, thinking about the things I want to accomplish and wondering what I need to do to get started and get past this fear. I'm not sure I've come to the conclusion yet, but I am certainly going to try and stop using my kids as an excuse to not be ambitious. That's not fair to them or to me. I'm not sure I'm ready to share what my dreams are either, because that's really putting myself out there. But I know I have to do something. It's not that I'm discontent with motherhood. I'm actually quite content. But I feel like I'm not honoring the Lord by fully using what He's given me. I've felt that way for a long time, but it's amazing how easy it is to shove those feelings aside and push on. Thank God for an awesome husband who refuses to let me live a life of mediocrity.
To read other ambitious women who are also excellent mothers, go to this site or this site...