This post is part of the 31 Days to Flourish in Motherhood series. Click here for the whole list!
“Intimidates you??” I laughed, because this mutual friend is about as intimidating as buttered toast. “Why?!”
“She just DOES so much!”
“Ahhh, ” I said, now understanding, because this particular mutual friend is one of those very crafty, artsy people whose kids reap the constant benefits of having a carefree, creative, FUN mom, “I used to feel that way, too. You’ll get over it.”
My friend laughed but looked shocked, and so I explained my response.
It has taken me a looooooooong time to stop constantly comparing myself to other people, but I’m finally getting better at it. I’m trying to banish all the “should” in my life — I should be homeschooling my kids, I should be willing to let naptime slide, I should really learn to sew, I should be running some sort of home business………. but why? Because it seems everyone else is?
Comparison is a TERRIBLE reason to set a goal! Truly wanting or needing to do something is a good reason to set a goal. But we all learned in elementary school that we shouldn’t jump off a bridge just because everyone else does. And I want to take that one step further: even if someone else is doing something edifying and admirable, that doesn’t mean it’s my calling.
We all have our strengths. This “intimidating” friend is crafty. Other moms are constantly on the go with their littles: zoo! park! farm! playdates! sprinkler in the back yard! I have tons of friends diving headfirst into the homeschooling thing. There are mommy bloggers couponing their grocery bill down to nothing. Others have poured everything into amazing, creative, and successful home businesses.
Me? I’m embracing what’s important to my family. I’m learning to recognize what makes our home run smoothly, what sparks joy in my children, what keeps the peace from morning until blessed bedtime. It isn’t exactly the same as what works for any one of my friends. God gave me my own strengths, and by His grace, I’m using those strengths to help my family to flourish.
I have my weaknesses, too — we all do, and we’re sure not as good about being open and honest about those. Maybe crafty mom has a messy house. Maybe activity mom stops for fast food too often. Maybe blogger mom uses the TV as a babysitter a bit more than she intends to. Maybe I’m on my phone too often, succumb to the allure of a candy corn binge, allow a toddler tantrum or refused naptime to ruin my day. Nobody can excel at everything — even if it seems that some people can.
It’s time to give ourselves some grace, recognize (or maybe just find!) our areas of excellence, and stop wishing we could have someone else’s seemingly perfect life. We can’t have it. Neither can they… because perfect doesn’t exist. It’s time stop the comparison spiral and flourish in our own individual, God-given gifts.