This is a post I wrote in June of 2012 during our 7 Days of Hope series based on Hope for the Weary Mom specifically for the third chapter: When You Don't Measure Up. I'd love for you to join me and the amazing community of moms who are blessing me and each other every single day. God is doing some pretty incredible things through this book club. Will you join us?
I find myself comparing my life, my season and yes, even my faith (or lack of it, at times) to others. Often. Why do we do this? It's never helpful. Always destructive. And completely unproductive. And yet, we still do it.
Sadly, I've even caught myself comparing my boys to other boys.
When I am shopping with my crew of boys and I just know that they can be heard at the other end of the store, I shudder. My 2 year old won't sit nicely in the cart so I take him out and he's literally destroying entire sections of the store while my middle two are fighting and my oldest just wants to hurry up and go home....I panic and look around to see who is watching. Who sees this display of "bad mothering" unfolding before their very eyes?
I see a mom stroll by with her three very patient and quiet children, one of whom is sitting happily in the cart singing sweetly. Why are my boys behaving so badly and hers are just....shopping, along for the ride. I don't understand. I'm desperate and just know that everyone in the store is looking my way. Of course, this is where my thoughts go....I'm worried that there's some sign hanging above my head that reads..."Step right up folks...Bad Mom Right Here: attempting to get a hold of her boys, but has no clue in the world how to."
Or, I look around my house and am overwhelmed at the incredible sea of dishes overflowing from my sink and spilling onto my counters. The laundry piles are everywhere. One such pile of unfolded clean laundry is so huge and is a fairly permanent fixture of rotating clothing, that my boys have named it Mt. Laundry. Why haven't I gotten a handle on all of this?
Recently, I was talking to another mom who was describing one of her friends in a very kind way as "...A super-woman kind of mom...her house is always clean, her kids are doing great in school, and she even works outside the home and is successful in her career."
Yes, I began entertaining thoughts of what my life looked like compared to what this other mom's life was like. If that is the definition of Super Mom, then I am a miserable failure.
But it's not. And I'm not. And neither are you. YOU are exactly the mom created for the exact children you have. I'm quite certain that what others see is not always the whole picture. Every once in a while my house will be clean and my boys' school work, nicely displayed on the walls, the boys are ALL having a good day together...and the doorbell rings. Perfect! Now someone will see how "good" I am. Finally, someone will witness this momentous occasion, where all appears perfect. But, this is just one moment in time, on one day and honestly....there's no perfection here.
Life is messy. And with kids, it's even messier! But aren't they amazing? We have to stop comparing our lives, ourselves, to others. That mom in the store, shopping with her kids who are all behaving well....she struggles in some way too. The mom whose house is clean and her kids are excelling in school...she's exhausted and in need of a break. And that sweet mom, going about her day, loving her children, trying to keep up with the endless chores, planning meals, trying to find a moment alone with God, desperate for something to go right in her day....she's weary.
No matter how old our children are or what season of life we're in with them, we cannot compare ourselves (or our children) with others.
"When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." -2 Corinthians 10:12b
Weary moms...our self worth, our confidence, our security, our satisfaction and our HOPE are all found in one place....in the One who created us and loves us more than we can comprehend. If we know Jesus and He lives in our hearts, then our identities are in Him. We are worth a lot to God and that is what matters.
Satan wants more than anything to make us feel less than, not enough and inadequate. He revels in our entertaining ideas of what a "perfect life" looks like. What ever circumstance we are in right now...wherever we are in the thick of raising our sons, we can know that our God is for us. Our strength comes when we recognize our own weaknesses. For me, it's a general feeling of defeat. An "I can't" sort of attitude. When I pour this out to God and come to the end of myself, He is so good to give me grace and an extra helping of overflowing love that always completely transforms and renews my heart and mind.
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10
Linking up with Hope for the Weary Mom today. Will you join us for our book club?