Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Just Strong - Just Me

I remember when I had a ton of little kids at home and people would say "Wow! You look great for having 8 kids!" I would think to myself, "what does that mean?" What does a woman with 8 kids look like? I just wanted to look good. Period.

This isn't really about vanity, it's about being who I am. I have five (four plus one SIL) of the most beautiful sisters. They are gorgeous. They have style, they have great hair, they have lovely skin. They are also the kindest women I know. They serve their neighbors, they are fiercely loyal to their families, they fight for what is right, no matter what others might say or do. I might be the oldest of us all, but I definitely envy my younger sisters for their beauty, inside and out.

I, on the other hand, don't think I am as lovely as they are. I certainly don't think I'm ugly, just not as beautiful as they are. I don't know if I've ever told them that. I hope they are reading this.

I don't think I have low self esteem, but I have always struggled with how I look. I keep my hair short and easy to do, I rarely wear makeup and I could live in leggings and a t-shirt and I hate to shop. I finally have figured out why; I never knew how to style my hair when it was long, I never learned to apply makeup and shopping is frustrating. When I am wearing anything besides a t-shirt, I don't feel like I'm myself, I'm an imposter. When you see me wearing a dress, I feel like I'm playing dress up.

One thing that I've always liked about myself, is my strength. When I was in high school, I maintained a B average while working a part time job and running track and field. I saved enough money to pay for most of my first year away at college and I was so proud of my efforts.

I had a fabulous job that helped pay the bills when we were young and married. As a mother and homemaker (my favorite job ever), I knew how to save money on groceries, keep my home clean and take care of my children. I'm so proud to their mom and I know how hard I worked to help them become the adults they are. When they were older, I graduated from ASU and had two more babies while doing it. I have had lots of jobs that have built my self esteem and made me feel like I was important to my company. I started working as a teacher full time and got my masters degree in 18 months while still maintaining a household (although I might have lost some sanity while doing it.)

I survived the last 5 years of being in a weird midlife crisis with a new career, kids moving on and out and new title of Grandma while battling anxiety and depression all along the way. You bet I'm strong.

Today, I go back to teaching school amidst this pandemic. I want to be here but I don't. I have to teach in my empty classroom while my own kids are at home trying to navigate distance learning without me. I'm scared, I'm frustrated, I'm concerned but I'm also strong. I've had some trouble sleeping, I've had a panic attack or two but I'm working through my anxiety and fears about the unknown.

I'm going to get through this and so will you. Whether you are sending your kids to in person learning, choosing to homeschool or doing something in between, you're going to do great because you are strong. So am I. We're going to get through this.

2 comments:

  1. No “just” about it. Strong—Me <3
    And we will get through it...by leaning on and relying on each other.

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  2. I think you're doing great! I think you are beautiful both inside and out. You are real, you are an inspiration. You are amazingly strong. I remember years ago you taught at a RS conference and I loved everything about you. I'm so grateful I've had the opportunity to finally get to know you. Thank you for sharing all of your ups and downs and humor. Thank you for being another mom to my youngest three. I'm glad you find it an odd comment when people say you look good for having 8 kids. I get that too. So my husband I and joke that he looks great for having 8 kids! I love you Stacey! You can do this and I'm backing you all the way! Jill Bullard

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