Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t be more like that mom or why can’t your kids be like those kids? The comparison trap is an easy one to fall into if we aren’t careful. At the click of our fingers, we see Pinterest-worthy motherhood in every category. From the mom with the black-belt kids to the mom with Marie Kondo organizing skills—it’s easy to look at their lives and feel like we’ve fallen short. Even worse, is when we start to strive to become something we aren’t or prod our kids to become something they aren’t.
Comparison makes us feel like a child standing against a door frame with a hand on top of our heads.
“How tall am I?” we ask.
Comparison takes the pencil and draws a line a few inches above us.
“Not tall enough.”
In spite of this treatment, we somehow keep handing the pencil over and the comparison line keeps getting higher and higher.
Never quite enough.
Spending time dwelling on our not-enoughness takes our focus off of our unique, God-given strengths and our great God. It robs us of the precious gift of quiet trust and contentment in God and who He has created our family to be.
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2 Corinthians 10:12 warns us about comparison, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
So, how do we combat this temptation to compare ourselves to other moms? Here are a few practical tips.
1. Celebrate your strengths; laugh at your weaknesses.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.” When we start comparing ourselves to another mom, the right estimation of ourselves goes out the window. We can’t be good at everything. But there are things you are good at that you probably don’t even think about. You possess strengths you aren’t even aware of, they are second nature. Another mom might covet your laundry routine, your meal plan, or the playful relationship you have with your child. Celebrate your unique strengths and learn to laugh at yourself for the things you aren’t great at.
2. Encourage other moms
If another mom is great at something you admire, tell her! Encourage her unique strength the way you would want someone else to encourage you. Most moms don’t wake up feeling like supermoms—we all face unexpected setbacks in our days from cleaning up messes to holding tender hearts. In the thick of motherhood, it’s nice to be reminded of the strengths we overlook. Celebrating the strengths of others also redirects beating yourself up into building someone up—you turn negative energy into positive energy through the power of encouragement.
3. Remind yourself you’re in process.
One of my daughters gets anxious at ballet auditions because she compares herself with the other dancers and worries about making mistakes. One of the tools I equipped her with was a little phrase to tell herself when she made a mistake, “I’ll bounce back. I always do.” Often, we do the same thing as moms. We get derailed when we see other moms who seem to have it all together. Our mistakes or perceived failures seem magnified in light of another mom’s perfection.
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Give yourself permission to be human and to make mistakes. We often give our children permission to be in process, but we fail to offer the same grace to ourselves. Failing doesn’t mean we are a failure or that other moms are doing it better. Failing is an opportunity to fail forward—to model for your child how to bounce back and be in a process of growth.
Celebrate your strengths, learn to laugh at your weaknesses, and encourage other moms. And the next time you feel like the child against the wall measuring how tall you are compared to other moms, remind yourself that you’re right where you need to be—in process.