First Aid for Moms: Stop the Comparison Game

Some days make it harder to be a mom than others.  Yesterday, Memorial Day, was one of those days.  We were visiting my parents and my sweet little Fixergirl had an accident at the neighborhood pool and managed to bonk her chin on the side while jumping in, requiring her fourth set of stitches or staples in her six short little years. Some people go their whole lives without needing a single stitch, yet my sweet tiny but mighty girl has done this FOUR times now.  That’s not a great Mom-feeling. Of course, she’s fine and will continue to be fine once those stitches come out in a few days. But there is one thing I’m REALLY good at. Mommy-guilt. Oh yeah. Sound familiar?

The latest few episodes with Fixergirl are teaching me (I’m still learning!) that God has given us Moms an inner instinctive voice, and I need to work harder on listening to mine. I should’ve told Fixergirl to be more careful when she was jumping in the pool; to jump straight out and not twist around to make it easier to swim to the side after her jump. In a former life, I was a lifeguard too, so this should’ve been a no-brainer. But I saw the way she was jumping and didn’t consciously think to warn her. We’d been watching her jump all afternoon. The actual lifeguard hadn’t said anything.  But I need to learn to focus more on that internal voice, and when it speaks, ACT instead of not hearing it consciously.  Hindsight is twenty-twenty!

Mommy-guilt is an insidious thing.  It’s everywhere we look these days.  Pinterest tells us our house is too messy and our food too unhealthy. That we’re not spending enough time with this exercise program or that new fad diet. Our beauty regimen doesn’t include the latest styles and looks.  Then there’s schools and strangers who hear that our kids are homeschooled and compare us to what they are more familiar with. Can your child recite pi to the 14th digit? What about socialization? How are they ever going to know how to deal with the inevitable bullies they’ll face “in the REAL world?” We’re too protective!

And then there are certain Christian subcultures that tell us we work too much outside the home, or not enough. Our jeans are immodest, or we aren’t wearing skirts and our head is uncovered, or that we should be having more babies, or that we aren’t giving enough of our time, or we don’t have the nicest things in our homes.

Even bloggers (*ahem*) add Mommy-Guilt with long lists of “quick tips” that help make life “easier,” and yet we never get around to implementing those ideas, or realistically have the time to even consider them practically. We are our own worst judges and juries. We compare ourselves to our friends and acquaintances.  How does so-and-so do that?  Such-and-such family’s children are fill-in-the-blank.

After all this, the verdict? We simply must not be good enough. What a lie.  Being human and making mistakes is normal. But the only standard we should be measuring ourselves up against is not Pinterest, or how so-and-so’s kids are performing, but the Word of God.

We need to develop a habit of reconnecting every day with the only One whose opinion of us really matters. It’s that daily “attitude recalibration” that will help us remember, even when we’re being bombarded by kid’s injuries and comparisons and “you should haves” every day, that we serve a God who loves us.  He gave us these children to love and to protect, and he knows we are worthy of them.  So don’t beat yourself up.  Instead turn to His Word to see that the Heavenly Father understands our frustrations and loves us just the same.

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