It’s so hard to get caught in the comparison trap. To look it others and think, “Wow, if I could just be like that….”
I’ve had a war within me pretty much since the moment I found out I was going to be a mother. It was like I looked around and found all the qualities in other mothers I admired and did a buffet style “This is how I want to be.”
Then I became a mother.
And was sad to find out… it doesn’t really work that way.
So then I switched to berating myself. “Why can’t I do this?” “Why can’t I be like her?” “How come I’m such a bad mom compared to ____?”
It’s a bit disheartening at times.
Then I go through phases where I muster up all my energy and put it all into trying to be like that perfect “mom” mold I’d created out of my observations.
It was exhausting. To the point I stomped on the mold and just quit trying. Quit caring. I am who I am and my kids and hubby JUST NEED TO LIVE WITH IT, dad gum it.
But that’s not okay either.
Because I want to care. I NEED to care. I NEED to try to work at being better.
And that’s when this great thought hit me. Somewhere during my almost 2 weeks of a “mom break” I had a few weeks ago.
It’s okay to be ME.
I am how I am for a reason. God’s made me, molded me, to be the mom I am for my kids, and that’s fantastic.
But…. I need to be the BEST version of me possible. Which means I still need to work at it. I still need to care. I still need to put my “best” foot forward.
So… I thought I’d show exactly what that looks like today. What are some of the things that showcase ME as a mom… and that are just fine?
- I don’t homeschool. I want to hide under the bed at the very thought. I ENJOY my breaks from my kids, in fact. I kinda need them. It is not something God has put on my heart or given me any kind of desire to do. I look at other moms who do and am in awe. I used to feel guilty…. they must love their kids SO much more than me. But nope. That’s not it. God’s just shaped them different…. and that’s okay!
- I spank. Rarely, but I do. I look at other mom’s who don’t, who claim they couldn’t bear to hurt their child, and think… is that what I’m doing? Am I, like, in some strange way, being a bully to my kid by spanking? But nope. That’s not it. I don’t over-spank and only do it when really needed, and not out of anger. My kids are well behaved, they know they are loved, and they are honestly better for it. God’s shaped my family the way He has, both my hubby and I endured them as kids and came out better for it, so it’s one method of discipline we use… and that’s okay!
- I hate cleaning my house. Seriously, I despise it. I pray almost daily that God blesses book sales enough for me to be able to continue to stay at home and write while paying our bills — and allows me to hire someone to come in once a week and clean. I know, I know, extravagant. and until such time, I still clean. But God’s not made me to be one of those women who enjoy keeping house. It gives me no pleasure, no sense of accomplishment, and the whole time I do it I think of all the other productive things I COULD be doing. God’s given me a brain that loves to write and loves numbers and loves to fix things…. and evidently the “cleaning” gene was removed to make way for those. I still clean because my family needs me to, but ours is not the cleanest house on the block by any stretch of the imagination…. and that’s okay!
- I’m not a good cook. Evidently my cooking gene is missing too. I actually like to bake some, but cooking meals? Yeah, it’s just not my gift. I do so because my family needs me to, but I’ll be honest. We go out probably more than we should considering our slim budget. But ya know? God didn’t give me a love for fine food or crafting food to be pretty or flavored to perfection. I still cook meals for my family as best I can– even if we do eat a lot of mac and cheese. I CARE and I put my best foot forward…. but our meals are not fit for Betty Crocker’s kitchen…and that’s okay!
- I’m a silly mommy. I love to be goofy with my kids. We dance around the living room, we sing crazy at the top of our lungs, I am the ultimate tickle monster, and I recently won at a game of nerf wars, something I’m very, very proud of. When they are naughty, I frequently threaten them with a trip to the trashcan where I will throw them in. No, I don’t actually do it, but I’ve held them over it a few times until their complaints turned to laughter. Hey, whatever works, right? God’s made me silly… and it affects my motherhood…. and that’s okay!
So yes, those are just a few things about me.
Things I’m learning to embrace rather than change. To love rather than despise. To be BETTER at, rather than kick to the curb.
What about you? What are some things that define who you are as a parent that you can learn to embrace and IMPROVE upon rather than delete and rewrite?
I'm not a parent, but I enjoyed your blog post. The comparison game is something I struggle with at times.
I think we all struggle with the comparison game from time to time, regardless of our "title"!
My kids are both grown, but I can identify with your feelings. I feel the same way. The only difference is that I was always pretty confident in my parenting skills — maybe a little too much so. So I always just threw caution to the wind and did what seemed right to me. My kids turned out to be decent, compassionate people though, so I guess I did ok as a mom. We did homeschool, but only for about 5 years. My daughter was homeschooled from Kindergarten to 4th grade and my son from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. I felt a little judgement from the homeschool community when we decided to sent them to public school, but "that's ok"! We also spanked. Not often, but enough that it was an effective disciplinary tool. Both of my kids are now respectful adults and have never been violent. On the contrary, they both have great compassion for others and for animals. I don't hate cleaning, but it isn't my favorite activity either. I don't think I would ever want a cleaning person to come in, but I also don't have the cleanest house on the block. I know that for a fact, because my 85-year-old mother lives on the same block as me and she keeps a spotless house. Darn mom! My late husband was the cook in our family. He cooked at least 90% of all meals we ate at home during our marriage. He loved to cook and I don't. I do it because I have to. My 21-year-old son still lives at home, so I cook for him some of the time. But I have never really learned to love it like my husband did. And I am ok with that. We had a pretty silly household too. My husband, especially, was silly with the kids. Kids love that and thrive on it. Keep it up! It sounds to me like you are doing just what you need to be doing. You are the mom God gave those girls and you are uniquely fit for the job. So take pride in your work and carry on with pride!
Thank you Linda for your encouragement. And I'm glad I'm not the only non-momma-cook out there! My hubby doesn't love to cook, and I do most of it, it's just not the most exciting fare in the world! (that and we have crazy picky kids… LOL)
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