Dear Skinny Mama,

My baby is at least six months older than yours. I couldn’t help but notice you in the checkout line last week– your cart full of t.v. dinners and soda and a dozen gooey donuts I could smell from ten feet away. The infant tucked cozily in your car seat was tiny and absolutely adorable, and so was your waist. Tiny, I mean. You couldn’t have been more than two months postpartum, but that belly had no sign it was ever big enough to carry anything close to the size of a baby.

Me, on the other hand, my cart was full of vegetables, fruit and meat– the same diet I’ve eaten for over three years. Not a scrap of pastry or sugar or caffeine or processed food. My baby sat up in my cart, her eyes shining when she waved to every passerby. And my waist? I’ve worked nine hard months to get back to the size I am now, and I still couldn’t fit in your shorts if you paid me a million dollars.

To get down to your waist size, Skinny Mama, that’s a goal I’ve strived for and sacrificed for and starved for longer than I care to admit. I’ve cried over the unfairness of people like you, who have bodies that work and thyroids and metabolisms that make tiny figures that fit in single-digit sizes. And you’re not the only one I know. I see you everywhere. At the pool. In the library. At the gas station, the children’s museum, the doctor’s office, family gatherings. Everywhere I go, I know sweet mommies like you, toting their babies around in their skinny jeans and XS tops. And I get knocked down by Jealousy and Failure, and the ever-nagging voice of Comparison makes me feel inferior.

This gal can only take so much of it before it starts killing me. Killing my joy. Stealing my drive. Robbing me of the privilege of being myself, living in this body. Because, you see, Comparison is a liar. It whispers to me that if I looked like you, I would be happier. If I were a Skinny Mama, I would feel different. I would be more attractive. I would like my clothes more. I would be sexier, more content, and a better mother. I would be full of joy.

I call BS.

This body I’ve been given, the one that can only function on clean food? It can work from sunup to sundown cleaning stalls and riding horses and sorting through a mess of financial figures to satisfy a bookkeeping client. It can give life to three fantastic little humans, and then keep up with their messes and their owies and their baths and haircuts and appetites. It can manage a house, a family and two businesses and still have the energy to invest in others. It completely excels at marriage, and loving that man who is wild about it. It is creative and nurturing and absolutely sexy.

And I refuse to treat it like a traitor by agreeing with Comparison.

I’m sure I’ll see you again today, my skinny friend. An errand to town pretty much guarantees I’ll meet a Skinny Mama. I plan to smile at you with completely honest joy. I may even compliment those cute shorts on that tiny waist. I hope you never fall in the trap that Comparison sets by wishing you looked like me, or by thinking anything in your life would improve if you had my hips or my bust or my hair. It’s not worth it. Believing the lies. Sizing yourself up against me. Trust me — I’ve tried it.

Because, the real struggle is for JOY. Comparison steals Joy. So does Failure and Jealousy. But, dear Skinny Mama, I’ll tell you the best news you’ve ever heard: joy doesn’t come from a clothing size or a bank account or a marital status or a baby of your own, or anything else in this whole world.

Joy comes from Jesus.

I choose Jesus.

Comparison, is plumb out of luck.

Avery Jennings

Avery Jennings is a cowboy's wife, mom of three and writer at heart. Besides investing in her man and her three favorite little people, she spends her time helping operate their performance horse business, running her bookkeeping business, and writing in the wee hours. Avery wrote and published fiction novels as a teen, but can only find time for shorter articles about real life now. She loves to create and relate, and is especially fond of Jesus.