I hear that life is good

My husband’s work has been really picking up, and here I have a job and stuff. We have this fabulous house and two big gardens, and two kittens and a full hen house. I have a zucchini plant up to my waist. On Saturday I weeded for 4 hours, picked all the cherries (made a pie today), planted carrots and radishes, organic bug-sprayed the grapes and potatoes, and generally farmed.

On Friday I went to a Marketing Department retreat, and we spent the morning learning about our communication styles (mine: apparentely I’m a shapeshifter, whatever works in the moment), and our strengths (mine: Learner, Ideation, Futurist, Relator and Activator–all made-up words that mean I live in my head and in the future, relate to people and love to start stuff). Then we rode horses in a gorgeous canyon for a few hours. I ended the day knowing (and liking) my team quite a bit. Plus, I’m getting in to the actual work part of my job now the training part is wrapping up, so I’m looking forward to my week and know what I’ll be doing.

As much as I wanted David to get another job, I realize this job makes it so we don’t have to scramble to take care of the kids and house, it pays well (when there’s work) and makes him available to do some other things that may be useful to him down the road. It makes it so we can both work without having the kids taken care of by non-parents (except when David is traveling).

But I talked to my pal Lori yesterday and was all, “But what about [whine whine],” and she clearly explained how perfect everything is, and how we’re being allowed to have this great lifestyle even though we haven’t fixed everything yet, and how now we have this great situation to get everything put together. I left that call totally woken up to how completely ungrateful and unaware I was being–there is clearly a plan.

I’ll just say it, judge me, whatever, but I don’t miss being at home when I’m at work. I like doing what I’m good at, I don’t like doing what I’m bad at. I sometimes lament that what I’m good at has no eternal significance, and what I’m bad at is critical for eternity, but hey, there it is. I love my kids, I love my family. I’m a crap housekeeper and the day to day of homemaking makes me mentally ill. I’m messed that way. Apparently God knows me, I’m His creation after all, and he’s arranging my life accordingly for now I guess.

The thing about that “strengths” exercise was there’s a place in the “Strengthsfinder” book that explained that it is inefficient to constantly focus on your weaknesses. Sure, you need to bring them up to a level they don’t destroy your life or overshadow your strengths, but if you are a natural 2 at something and put a ten effort, you will still be a 20, whereas if you work on the stuff you are a 9 at and try just as hard, you will be a 90. Think Michael Jordan, who was a 10 talent and 10 effort. He tried baseball, and he was no 10 talent, so he couldn’t come up with the same result.

The American dream is about overcoming odds and weaknesses, our culture is obsessed with our weaknesses. And we’re all about equal opportunity and saying to our kids that they can be anything they want if they try hard enough–but life is so much easier when you try hard enough with something that is already a talent for you. We’ve said that the Chinese and Russian communist states were oppressive because they take kids who show talent in something at a young age and direct them into that career permanently. Maybe that’s extreme, but I also think it is oppressive to spend my life fighting against weaknesses and ignoring my strengths. We all have both, which do you want to spend your life thinking about?

1 reply
  1. E-coach says:

    “I love my kids, I love my family. I’m a crap housekeeper and the day to day of homemaking makes me mentally ill.”

    Valerie,
    What insight! That’s why I married a man who is really great at housekeeping and the day to day. He has systems for everything and I just get to follow along.

    My ideal solution is working part from home and part at my workplace. Or, at least that’s what I’m trying out.

    Like you, I’m not sane being a stay-at-home mom. I think your kids are better off with a working but sane mom.

    Looking forward to visiting the Christensen family farm.

    Love
    Janet

    Reply

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