Share your Mess Monday | Taking Charge of the Thief

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.

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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.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 8.05.34 AM

#reasonswhymysoniscrying – I gave him a cheerio.

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.

Mops at GBC

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.

Art courtesy of Jackie at http://chibird.com/

Art courtesy of Jackie at http://chibird.com/

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.

Free printable from giggleandprint.blogspot.com

Free printable from giggleandprint.blogspot.com

How do you shut down the tendency to compare yourself and your kids to others?

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11 thoughts on “Share your Mess Monday | Taking Charge of the Thief

  1. What a great post, Kellie. Someone once told me that comparison makes you arrogant or miserable and neither one is good. It’s definitely a struggle for all of us! Thanks for your honesty!

  2. Joy oh JOY this self validating and makes me more determined to practice what I tell my 9yr old when she does exactly this compare measure compare joy bucket dump!!! I tell her just this !!! you are a masterpiece God made you a masterpiece too he have you gifts and treasures others don’t have so you are special too !!!!

    Thanks for the humor and affirmation to not let anyone steal your joy or give it away !!!

  3. I love this reminder. My two year old is always so active usually and I can never have a play date where the child is suppose to “sit still” for the activity. I find myself getting so envious of kids that sat still or are super mellow. Now I try to constantly remind myself of the good and how happy and sweet he is while being an active lil guy or else I too feel robbed of the joy!

  4. Well I just HAD to stop because it was and will drive me crazy especially because my son is developmentally behind so he isn’t comparable to the average kid his age. Once I came to terms with that awhile ago it was SO much better for me to know and trust that the Lord has him where he is at. and IN control He is involved in alot of therapy and is constantly improving and learning in amazing ways, so that is a huge comfort that there IS progress. I think when we compare ourselves or our children to others there is ALWAYS room for disappointment, like basically we are setting ourselves up for failure TO be disappointed and it is just not worth it ladies!!!

  5. Thanks for sharing your mess, Kellie. I hate that I do it, too. Where did we get such competitive natures that we pit these tiny humans against each other, without them even knowing it, and we hate ourselves in the process? I am blessed with a husband who can ground me very quickly, so when I start to get too “compare-y” he will knock it down and I love that!

  6. Kellie, thank you so much for being so open & honest! Also for all the ladies who have replied what great feedback & comments. I believe we are all guilty of comparing at some point. Maybe it’s because we are such proud mommies but in reality we know deep down it’s not good for us or our children. They learn from us so we need to remember to set the example. I have learned so much from you ladies to help me be a better mommy. So thank you!

  7. Honestly, one of my ways to take a FB hiatus. My kiddo is only 3, and I already worry that I am not challenging academically. Crazy, I know, but when i see posts about “my kid can ….”, the comparison monster takes over. My husband is excellent at giving me the reality check, we discuss our goal. Is it that I create the perfect preschool curriculum at home, a future Olympian or Potty trained by three? (Potty trained by three so did not happen!) Nope, our goal is to raise a family who will love The Lord and serve Him. And that should shape all our decisions regarding child rearing.

  8. What helps me stop comparing is that I try (key word- “TRY”!) to remember that comparing only leads to relationships that aren’t authentic. It doesn’t allow true bonding. As a result, those relationships usually don’t feel good and you feel unhappy and stuck living in a false world when you’re with those people. I’d rather feel imperfect but have a real relationship with another mom, than try to be something I’m (or my kids) are not and feel alone even when with another mom.

  9. I’ve only recently come to terms with the fact that everyone is not going to mesh well with me or my kids and visaversa. I’m learning to be more accepting and less offended with peoples comments, stares, or reactions to things my kids do or say. When I just had one kid, I was totally comparing ALL the time and it was exhausting! Now I’ve been given four more chances to realize that every kid (and every mom) is different and special at the same time. Life is too short to waste ANY energy on envy, jealousy, or just outright negativity to our fellow moms (and even their kids). When I catch my mind going to these places now I just start getting really thankful for the ways my kids are special. Change your focus and you’ll change your mind 🙂

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