A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Comparison

Two very dear friends are having their first babies this spring. I am so thrilled for both of them. I have no doubt that they will embrace motherhood like the wonderful women that they are. But today, I wondered – “Will motherhood embrace them?”

You see, too often as mothers we can feel like we are competing against each other. We inadvertently {or intentionally for some} measure our children against other women’s children. Who had the longest labor? Who had the biggest baby? Who rolled over first? Who crawled first? Who walked first?

And those are just comparisons in the first year. It seems like the stakes get higher as the children get older.

We mothers use our children as measuring sticks for how well we are doing. “Julia might not be reading independently, but she can make her own lunch. At least she is doing better than Susie Q down the street. See, I’m excelling over Susie Q’s mom as a mother.”

That is an obviously ridiculous thing to think or say. But we do it. Maybe not about Julia’s mad lunch making skills, but about other things. We see what our child can or cannot do, compare it against other children and then against their moms.

And we are damaging a special bond when we compare each other. Motherhood is not a competition, it is a sisterhood. And we moms would do well to remember that. When we compare {for good or bad} our mothering skills against others, we are focusing on the wrong motives. I didn’t teach Julia how to make her own lunch so that I could somehow be a better mom in comparison to someone. I did it because she showed interest and I wanted her to learn. Motherhood is about training and loving your children. It’s about encouraging other moms in the same quest. How they train and love isn’t dictated by you. And how you train and love isn’t dictated by them.

But what is dictated by you is how you help encourage and strengthen your fellow mom. Are you genuine in your advice {and even more importantly, is your advice necessary or wanted}? Are you speaking words of encouragement? Are you standing beside the moms in your life and fighting for them or against them?

If 5+ years of motherhood have taught me anything, it’s that I don’t always know what is best for my own children let alone another person’s children. And that when I tear other moms down, it hurts me just as much as it hurts them. But when I build them up, they build me up. Then we all win.

And if you were to ever ask Julia, she’d tell you everyone likes a win-win.

Our family spent a few days on a ranch just after the New Year. My uncle organized the event, which included my parents, cousins, a couple of extra aunts and uncles and our Nana.

It was a blast. Well, that might be an overstatement – little sleep was had, kids were off schedule, we over ate sugar and sugary drinks, at least one argument happened, and perhaps compromises of parenting skills took place {I’ll meekly raise my hand to that}.

While we were there, I overheard someone mention coffee. Always one to jump at a cup of coffee, I asked if a pot was brewing. My cousins all laughed and one even joked “Every morning I get on facebook, I look to see how many miles Sarah has run and how much coffee she’s had. What’s that? She’s run 16 miles and had 4 cups of coffee.”

We all got a good laugh. And he’s right, if you looked at my facebook updates, they are almost always about running, coffee, or something mildly entertaining {actually, I really hope that people find my updates hilarious}.

Here’s the thing :

My facebook updates aren’t my real life. 

Sure, I ran 16 miles. Sure, I drank 4 cups of coffee. Sure, I might have said something witty.

But that’s the Best of Sarah. You don’t see the nitty gritty. You aren’t seeing the failures, the mess ups, the heartaches. After all, that doesn’t make for great social media {in my opinion}. What makes for great social media is triumph. Laughing in the face of obstacles. Victory.

As I’ve spent the last several months quietly sitting back, letting the blogging and social media world get a few steps ahead of me, I’ve realized something – I’m comparing my worse to everyone’s perfect.

I’ve heard people talk about this a lot. How you can’t compare your behind the scenes with other people’s highlight reels. It is so, so true. But I’ve been doing that a lot lately. And I’ve learned something from it.

1. I get really bitter over failing to meet “expectations”.

2. I will never meet “expectations”.

I’ve been threatening for some time to get rid of social media all together. To burn our computer to the ground and toss out my iPhone in an effort to get rid of those “expectations”. But those things aren’t my hang up. My hang up is that I forget the people behind the status updates are real. I forget that they, just like me, are showing their highlight reels. I forget that I’m comparing my worse to everyone’s perfect.

And when I remember that, that the people on my computer are real and fail just like me, I can sit back and enjoy the highlights.

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