I was snuggled up with three of my kids the other day, reading them the old classic French tale “Stone Soup” (Caldecott Honor book by Marcia Brown.) In the story, some soldiers are walking through a village and are in need of some food and a place to stay. The villagers are nervous about these newcomers and are in the midst of a poor harvest, so they hide all of their food and pretend not to have any when the soldiers approach them. Through the soldiers’ ingenuity, the whole town ends up feasting and making friends, each slowly offering up something that they’ve got in order to taste a novel new food that is “fit for kings”: stone soup.
As I was reading this book, I realized that this is my life as an introvert. Often I’ll hide my gifts and my skills, because making relationships can just be so darn complicated. Our family is heartily flawed, and our warts are fully visible. It’s hard to believe that people would be willing to accept what I’ve got to offer, when I don’t have everything together. My kids’ problems cannot be sewn up neatly into tidy packages, and sometimes I allow that to silence me.
But if I can just wrap my head around giving my small contribution to the greater good, then we’ll all benefit. I may not be good at throwing huge parties, but I can whip up some mean cinnamon rolls to give to a mama who’s hurting. I may not be a public speaker or good at organizing events. But I will wash those dishes like a boss when it’s all over. I can champion book clubs like the best, even if I show up to the book clubs and don’t talk very much. I’ll give my good, and you give yours. So here’s my little bit of a manifesto for those of us who feel we have nothing to offer or no voice to use.
The Introverted Mama’s Manifesto
I will choose to use my voice, my actions, my words in ways that bring value to those around me.
While I embrace silence, I will not be silenced.
I will use my skills in ways that uplift others and foster community, even in miniscule ways.
I will not shut myself in, except for times of self-care, which will allow me to continue to help others hope and have heart.
I will acknowledge that my contribution to community will not always be outwardly visible, but I will continue to keep my heart open to new possibilities and friendships, however unexpected they may be.
I will remind myself that as seasons change, so do friendships, and I will continue to contribute to those around me, even if my friendships or acquaintances change.
I will give my good so that my community can experience the collective best: a large variety of individual, unique moms who choose kindness over the need to be right, who embrace our differences, and who can laugh at ourselves.
Have you ever felt that you have nothing to offer? What’s one thing that you can do really well?
Our number one goal in creating Rochester MN Moms Blog was to create a community on and offline through our content as well as our in-person events. Moms need moms to support and encourage one another in this epic journey we are all on together. Neighborhood Groups are a place to connect–to truly connect–with the moms around you. Our hope is to create a safe place for moms from all walks of life to share stories and receive encouragement.