As I walked back into the house, I looked over at the peanut butter and realized that I had inadvertently moved it the day before when I was looking for some jelly.
I felt that embarrassed-sick feeling as I sheepishly walked into the house and told my husband the news (which he’d already guessed).
“I lined up with the peanut butter, but it had moved!” I said in my defense.
He took it surprisingly well and said, “How about we hang a tennis ball from the ceiling so you can be SURE you’re in the right spot each time?” So now we have a nice little tennis ball that bumps my windshield when I’m in the sweet spot, and I have no more scratches on my van.
Why am I telling you this?
Because there’s a lesson here that has less to do with garages and paint jobs and more to do with where our reference points are for the decisions we make each day.
We all have a standard for our lives that dictates how we’ll spend our days, how much we’ll charge to our credit cards, what we will wear, how much attention we’ll give our children and spouses, how long we’ll spend cleaning our homes, and how well we’ll take care of our bodies and minds. This standard also influences what we worry about, what we say or write, who we will call, who we’ll compare ourselves to, and how we will think. The question of the day is, “What is our standard?”
Some standards can, like my jar of peanut butter, MOVE. Even when we don’t think they will.
The Supermom standard enforced by the media has a strong hold out there. Looks are EVERYTHING. You know the drill–you’ve got to have the perfect house, perfect smile, the most fashionable ensemble, trendy jewelry, a hip car, “popular” circles in which to network and enjoy ritzy parties, and all the other stuff that goes with becoming the envy of the neighborhood. Those who can benefit from the emptying of our pocketbooks would have us window-shop blogs for a better life, buy every product offered for three easy payments of $9.95, and never feel satisfied because then we won’t buy things from them.
Making moms feel substandard is a well-calculated economical effort, but the problem with this is that these standards are going to change. What is cute now won’t be “in” this spring. All the stuff we buy is going to break down or wear out at some point, and then where will we be? We’ll be sitting in our garages wondering how we got a huge scratch down the back of our minivan–that’s where we’ll be!
There’s another choice, though. We can drill a hole through a tennis ball, hang it from the perfect place in the ceiling with a string, and have a standard that won’t change–regardless of the shifting that’s natural with life. We each get to decide what our own “tennis ball” standard will be, but since I don’t know your thoughts, I just thought I’d share mine.
QUESTION: What natural shifts have happened in your life recently?
CHALLENGE: Find a way to have your standard flow with this new shift of life.