Today Kellie’s sharing her mess. She has been married four years this July and has a 16-month old son. This is her third semester in MOPS.
You know that mom. The one wheeling her wailing child down the supermarket aisle while she’s triple checking her grocery list, trying to figure out whether she A. Has every item on the list and B. Can trade any of those items for her child. A jar of peanut butter seems a fair swap for a tormented toddler.
In this scenario, you’re usually one of two characters:
- Either that’s your crazy kid, and you’re feeling like the worst mom in the world because all the other children are sitting contentedly in their shopping carts while yours screams her head off because she wants Fruity Pebbles and you accidentally grabbed Coco Puffs.
- Or, you’re the mom stroking your angel child while you wonder how the other mom could possibly have let her child get so out of control and what-a-g00d-mom-I-must-be because my child doesn’t ever eat sugar. EVER. She doesn’t even know what sugar is.
Both of these moms suffer from the same mess, and it has nothing to do with their children. Both of these moms are judging their individual worth based on someone else who is totally unrelated to them or to their personal situation. Believe me, I know – I’ve been both moms, on multiple occasions.
In fact, my “Mess” is just that: the joy-sucking trap of comparison. I measure myself up to other moms. I measure my kid up to other kids.
No matter what, this practice always disappoints. When I invest my self worth into how I think I am perceived by my peers, I set myself up for failure.
For example, my friend’s one year old speaks in full sentences. Meanwhile, I’m not sure my one year old knows how to communicate in anything more than animal noises. But I LIKE his animal noises. And yet I wish them away because I want him to measure up to someone completely unrelated to him. Other children’s development has nothing to do with my son’s ability to speak. And as long as I am measuring myself and my family up to standards that are completely outside of our family unit, I will always be grasping for something just out of reach.
Roosevelt is credited with naming comparison the “Thief.” It’s sneaky, slipping in with the shadows. It creeps in when I am at my most vulnerable and snatches away that which I hold most dear: little moments with my baby. His little successes and little triumphs. The worst part is, I leave the door unlocked for this thief. Psh – most days I leave the door wide open. Sure! Come in! Steal away my happiness while I long for whatever other people have! I’m voluntarily handing away my joy.
This month, I’m going to focus on shutting down my personal mess and thief of joy. Because it can only steal away my joy when I allow it to.
I can choose to embrace the Mom that I am, because I was specifically designed to be the Mom for my child.
How do you shut down the tendency to compare yourself and your kids to others?