Unfortunately, the comparison trap is an easy thing to fall into and how we parent is one of the easiest comparison games out there. But comparing never gets us anywhere. It only makes us feel less than. So how do we get out of this trap? There’s one truth about being a mom that every mother needs to know, and if we can accept that truth, we’ll know just how amazing we really are.
The other day, I was feeling a bit down. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I was failing at motherhood. I wanted to do so many things for my kids and our family, but I couldn’t seem to make any headway. I felt defeated.
When my husband got home from work, I told him how I was feeling. Instead of rolling his eyes or helping me solve my problem, he looked at me and asked me a simple question: “Do the kids know you love them?”
It sort of stopped me in my tracks. That wasn’t the response I was expecting at all. And as much as I wanted to answer no, in that moment, I knew that wasn’t true. Of course my kids know I love them. If there’s one thing my kids know, it’s that their mom loves them.
That lesson has stuck with me.
Being A Mom is Hard Work
As a mom, I feel like I’m constantly at war with myself. Am I teaching my kids everything they need to learn? Did I handle that situation right? Am I doing enough? It seems impossible to accept my limitations and natural imperfections.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. In a world of social media and the constant bombardment of information, ideas, and images, it can be hard to step back, take a deep breath, and feel like your efforts are enough. We go, go, go and give, give give. That’s part of being a mom.
Even when we aren’t physically taking care of our children, we’re thinking about them, worrying about them, trying to figure out how to make their lives better. It never stops. We give so much energy (physical, mental, and emotional) to them–and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s hard. It’s exhausting and sometimes I feel like all my hard work is futile. No matter how much I give, it will never be enough.
I Want to Do It All
I’ll never be able to make three meals 100% from scratch (all organic, gluten & dairy free, with no added sugar, of course), AND sew all my kids clothes, AND have one-on-one time with each kid every day, AND make personalized baby books for each kid, AND throw insanely cool birthday parties every year with hand made party favors, AND create an in-depth family learning program where I focus on teaching my kids one important value a month AND on and on and on and on.
I can’t do everything. Nobody can.
But is that the point? Really, is that the point?
The Comparison Game
Sometimes as women, we get so caught up in DOING ALL THE THINGS, that we forget what’s important to us personally.
We see Sally over there, kicking butt with her two-hour-per day gym sessions and think, “Geez, why can’t I get my ish together and workout?”
Then we see Susie with her six perfectly-even-spaced children and their perfectly-coordinated family outfits with clean faces and styled hair and think, “How does she do that everyday? How do her kids always look cute? I’m lucky if I can get my family to look that good once a year on family picture day!”
And then we see Sharon with her well-behaved kids, sitting quietly and patiently while she waits in line at the DMV and wonder how that’s possible when we can’t even get our kids to sit quietly for thirty seconds.
So obviously we’re failing as a mom, right?
We All Have Something to Give
But what we’re missing is that Sally and Susie and Sharon look at us and think something similar. We all have something we’re naturally good at that other moms envy or look up to or wish they could do the way we do.
Maybe it’s the way you’re able to deal calmly with an intense toddler meltdown in the middle of Target without getting flustered.
Maybe it’s that you always seem to be sitting on the floor playing with your kids.
Maybe it’s the fact that you get ready everyday (hair, makeup, and actual clothes, not your pajamas or what you wore yesterday).
It might be how organized your house is. It might be that you’re great with routines and systems so your everyday life runs pretty smoothly. It might be that you’re always ready and willing to step in and serve someone in need. It might be that you always have a smile on your face and stay positive amidst trials.
It could be any of a million different things, but I promise that no matter how much you feel like you’re failing, there’s a mom out there who wishes she could be you.
You are More than Enough
So let’s stop this! Let’s stop comparing ourselves to other moms. Let’s be who we are and be proud of that fact for once! Our kids love us, just the way we are.
In the movie Mom’s Night Out, one of the characters says something so profound and amazing that I cry every time I hear it. I even cried when I told my husband about this post idea and I’m totally crying now as I write it.
(Side note: if you haven’t seen that movie, do yourself a favor and go watch it–especially if you’re feeling like you’re failing or that maybe this mom thing is just too hard right now. If you’re anything like me, you’ll sob uncontrollably, but it’ll make you feel SO GOOD.)
Anyway, he says something to the effect of, “God knew what He was doing when He made you their mom.”
Go back and re-read that and let it sink in for a moment.
That statement right there is TRUE. It’s a truth I forget all the time, but it’s also a truth I believe with my whole heart. God gave you your kids for a reason–and this goes for adoptive moms and foster moms, too. So whatever your strength is–be it cooking or cleaning or playing–it will teach your kids something wonderful and important and good. See your strengths for what they are: STRENGTHS.
You are the perfect mom for your kids. They need YOU. There are truths that they need to learn that only you can teach them. And the love that only you can give them is a perfect kind of love.
Love your kids. Love your life. And love yourself.
I know your kids do. And that means you’re doing a truly amazing job.
If you need more inspiration, check out this post: