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Feeling Like the Runner-Up?

Despite how we feel on those crazy parenting days, God doesn't ask us to be anyone but ourselves

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A mom's life is filled with swirling emotions. Satisfaction, love, hope, and excitement can quickly change with a gust of overwork, depression, or disappointment. A busy mom can often suffer from self-imposed self-esteem issues. When most days feel like a marathon of unrelated frantic demands, we wonder if we are living below our potential. We start to wonder if our inadequacies are the reason life is so hard. I lived through one of those frustrating days and wondered if I would ever claim first-prize status again.

My parents had been invited to dinner. My daughter interrupted my cooking and cleaning every 10 minutes, insisting she would die if I didn't finish her new dress for the party tomorrow. Ron left for work in a huff. I couldn't solve my husband's work issues but I also couldn't let it go. I hurt for him and wished I could help.

My inferiority increased with a phone call delivered "in a spirit of love." The caller explained—in detail—everything she felt I was doing wrong. As if filled with all my pressures, the vacuum bag exploded and saturated the entire room in a dust cloud. I gave the old vacuum a proper funeral and trudged to the store.

The traffic jam shifted my "to do" list into late mode and did nothing to lift my spirits. The boys fought in the backseat and my mild headache graduated to a migraine. I rushed through the store and hurried to the end of a checkout line. The line snaked through rows of merchandise to the back of the store. I huffed and puffed and tapped my toe, releasing bits of dust that fell to the floor. I resembled the character Pig-Pen from the Charlie Brown comic strip. I was convinced the department store had applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest lines in the world. I panicked when I remembered my overdue utilities would be shut off if payment wasn't made in 30 seconds. This, of course, was before smartphones and online payments.

Since I was too frustrated to talk to others who were aging in line, I wondered…is this the afternoon my son has a marathon sports event and attendance by parents is mandatory? All I remembered for sure was that Rambo had been hired to track down offenders. I was late to pick up Kenny from music lessons, my church committee had elected me chairperson of hospitality and the pastor had urged me to visit prospective members. My list of things to do was almost as long as the line that tormented my feet.

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Debbie Jansen

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Feeling Like the Runner-Up?