Thursday, February 04, 2010

Thoughts on Success

As I sat in my meeting this morning and discussed dental products, instruments, methods, ideas, and plans, I couldn't help but feel excited. I made my list of the instruments (dental tools) that I will need, I asked questions, I compared different angulations, edges, and handles, and I knew what I was doing (for the most part :)). I've been a hygienist for almost 9 years and while methods, products, and recommendations change, alot stays the same. I feel confident in my decisions and overall, I understand the field.

I contemplated the feeling of confidence, of knowing, of understanding and realized that one of the reasons I like my job so much is that I feel generally successful. I don't mean material success or that I'm smarter than other people, I mean that I know what usually works, I know what to expect, and while I'm constantly learning, I'm an "expert" in an area. I know products and companies, I have good relationships with reps, patients, and co-workers, and I leave at the end of the day with an orderly operatory, paperwork done, and the schedule reviewed.

It's nice to go someplace and feel successful and to feel like you know what you are doing! Too often as a wife and mom, I feel like I fail. The house isn't as clean as I would like, I don't respond to my children in a loving manner, or I just feel completely overwhelmed. Each day is a new adventure and while that can be fun, it's also hard. Some stages are more challenging than others, some attitudes more difficult, and some days, I want to give up. As soon as I have a handle on something, it seems to change. There is no neat parenting package - my work is never done, my time is at a premium, and I often second guess myself and know I should have done some things differently.

Don't misunderstand, there are many successes, "aha" moments, lots of fun and laughter, wonderful memories, and great times but I will never be (or feel like) an expert in parenting. I will gain more wisdom, I will learn and experience so much but the reality is that every family, every child, every person is different. I would be foolish to think I have all the answers.

I wouldn't trade my imperfect and sometimes disorganized "job", my privilege and joy, of being a wife and mom. It's an amazing blessing. God is constantly teaching me and challenging me. And I also enjoy the other job that God has called me to - it's rewarding, too and it's in a much "neater" (I don't mean greater or cooler just more cut and dried) package. I like feeling successful every once in awhile but I really like coming home to my wonderful husband and beautiful sons who are always so loving and supportive!

Perhaps the measure of success isn't in our understanding or our expertise but rather the measure of success is in how we live our lives and honor God.


Jennifer M said...

Oh my gosh Alaina. This post was taken straight from my heart. No joke! I have tears in my eyes. I just went back to work this week after maternity leave, and the words you wrote are "IT!" I love my children, my husband, and my home-to-be, but there is a part of me that craves the "neater" package. An area of my life where I can feel successful, if only for a small period of time. It recharges me and builds my confidence in myself as a human being which in turn makes me a more patient, loving, happy mother and wife.

Thank you for posting!

Jenny said...

Me too! And I have tears in MY eyes too!
I'm not a hygienist, not an expert in a lot of things, but this is why I sew for people! Because when I complete a garment or outfit and it looks good, I feel so competent!
And i need that...
<3 you and your great insight...