A Tale of Two Comparisons
The other day, at church, there was a special program for families in place of the regular service called Jingle Jam. We were all so excited for the music and acting and dancing and knew it would the perfect way to introduce our daughter to the main service! We had experienced a relatively calm morning which included baths for all and I even managed to take care of my hair and make-up! All was well as we dropped the baby off in the nursery and made our way to the main service with our 3 year old daughter and five year old son. And then the music started. With it, came the incessant complaints and bathroom queries from my daughter.
“Is it over yet?”
“I need to go to the bathroom!”
I would hush her and pacify her requests with a “We’ll eat later” or “Why don’t you lay in mommy’s lap.” After her 4 millionth request, I took her to the bathroom. As we returned, her attention became fixated on the music video showing on the large video screen. I let my guard down and hoped that the worst of her behavior was behind us. But as soon as the actors took the stage again, her questions came rolling in one right after the other. Then at the most critical moment in the program, as the narrator is admonishing from the stage for all to hear and understand that joy comes through knowing Jesus Christ, Charlee’s whimpers became so incredibly loud. Louder and louder and one final, “Are we done yet?” just sent me over the edge.
I just lost it.
I picked her up and in a huff walked to the back of the room and out the doors. “Yes, We are definitely done,” I angrily muttered under my breath and I carried her out into the lobby area. I was so mad. So frustrated and so embarrassed. It wasn’t supposed to go down like this!
At the conclusion of the program, my husband emerged with our son. I had already retrieved the baby from the nursery and requested that we leave immediately since Charlee was soooo hungry and soooo thirsty and soooo tired. And I was soooo mad and had none of the JOY they had just spent so much time creatively talking about at church. Ugh.
The next day I hosted a playdate in my home. As the children happily played, I confided in my friend that our Sunday morning had not been what I envisioned. She proceeded to share her frustrations and suddenly I didn’t feel alone. I wasn’t the only one who had placed great expectations on the temperature of the day only to be let down by the short attention span of a 3-year-old. Later that day, my friend texted me thanking me for hosting and shared with me these words of solidarity that I now share with you (with her permission of course).
“I didn’t get a chance to say earlier but when we were leaving Jingle Jam, frustrated, we passed y’all in your car leaving church and I thought, oh if our children were only more behaved like Patty and Marshall’s kids we could have had a less stressful time today. I hadn’t even realized your struggles with Charlee. Oh how harshly we judge ourselves sometimes.”
The Comparison Trap
Oh the comparison trap. My friends, it is ridiculously easy to look at the outward appearances of a mom and determine that she has it all together. Social media alone can work it’s debilitating magic in painting a picture of parenting perfection that can cause us to feel as if we’ll never measure up.
If appearances were not enough, we take note of baby’s milestones or mommy’s post pregnancy weight loss and the self-loathing continues.
You drag yourself into work sleep deprived thanks to your one year old only to hear your co-workers baby is sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old. What!
The comparisons are endless.
Do your kids:
- Sleep through the night
- Behave in public
- Excel in school
- Wear matching socks
- Hold your temper
- Control a situation
- Lost the baby weight
- Started cooking healthy meals
- Gone back to work
- Stayed home
Did you decide to:
- Public school
- Home school
Comparison is a…
Bob Goff has a saying: “Comparison is a punk.” Isn’t it crazy how we think everyone else has it together when in all reality they are just trying to keep it together, too?
Can I let you and myself off the hook? Say these four words with me.
Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.
If you are loving your children well, teaching them to be kind and loving followers of Christ, and helping them along the way when they struggle, then the appearance of the kid-in-progress does not matter that much.
Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat, my friend.
Whether you homeschool or choose the public route: Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.
Whether your child catches on in school and makes good grades or you struggle for every C your child makes: Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.
If your child does the miraculous and behaves in public or throws herself to the ground in disgust over your suggestions to go to Chickfila for lunch…I mean… “How dare you suggest their favorite restaurant?!” Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.
Leave it Behind
You’ve got this, precious momma. Leave the comparison game behind and focus on these four words. Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.
Love your precious and crazy crew. Guide them as they age to make the right choice, the kind choice, and when they get off track, lead them back. And repeat. Again and again and again.
Being a mom is both the greatest and most difficult life-time calling a woman can undertake. Read this post as we wrap up this series and covenant with one another to love our children fiercely and toss the thermometer for good! If you missed the last post you can read it here!