She’s a size two, pinning crafts she actually makes with her pre-schoolers, and posting pictures of her and the hubs in a “go-get-a-room” worthy embrace from yet, another, ahh-mazing date night.
Meanwhile, you just squeezed back into your first trimester shorts, threw away the pizza box (after saving two slices for dear husband who should be home by eight on this particular Friday night), and then noticed the Disney Channel has been on for four, make that five, hours straight.
And, what do women all over Tennessee…and the world…do when faced with the above scenario?
The truth is: we get kind of ticked off.
Feelings fluctuate from “It’s not fair!” to “I wish I had her life…” to a depressive “What am I doing wrong?” state of mind.
We wallow there…in our why-can’t-my-life-be-different misery. We fight disappointment; with ourselves for not sticking to that diet or being “crafty” enough to give our children the I-grew-up-with-Mary-Poppins life they deserve. We grow angry with our husband for, well, in some cases, just breathing.
And, soon, our own air of discontent poisons the entire household…
Until we die!
Ok, that’s a bit melodramatic.
Yet, I know I’m not the only mother out there who has ever struggled with the “c” word. It’s a disease that kills us from the inside out. But, it’s not cancer…
Comparison is the number one killer of a mom’s joy. Comparison shouts, “Hey, you aren’t enough…you should be more, do more, have more…”
Comparison robs us of our uniqueness and tells us that we don’t fit in. It screams, “You are the only one who struggles. Why can’t you do better?”
And, it lies.
Dear mom who battles with a body that doesn’t look anything like that of a Hollywood starlet and a house that doesn’t resemble a photo from Better Homes and Gardens, I want you to know: you aren’t alone.
We all struggle, at some level, with feeling like we could be more or should be more.
But, as I read on a wall of a sandwich shop just a few days ago, “The gap between more and enough never closes.”
Comparison does even more to widen this divide.
Dear mom, I want to encourage you to stop comparing. Know that women you are comparing yourself too, she struggles too. (She just hides it a little better.)
I’ve spent more than a decade working in gyms across the country. And, I know one thing: every woman in my pump class wishes she were just a little different. Ironically, this exact same feeling plagues those women who are already wearing size XS yoga pants just the same as those women who are wearing the XL pair.
We all struggle. And, that’s why comparison hurts us so badly. Like a leech that bites our soul and then leaks every last bit of joy out of it, comparison sucks our life-blood until we are dry.
If you are parched from all the striving, trying, and competing, I want to encourage you today, to rest.
Life isn’t found in trying to keep up with the Jones; it’s found when you stop trying to run someone else’s race. There isn’t a “secret” to a happy life that’s found in beauty, wealth, “perfect” children or even job success. Life hurts sometimes. But, there is great freedom and joy in remembering that what’s most important isn’t your dress size, your level of cooking skill, or how effectively you potty train.
Your value transcends what all those nice and sometimes not-so-nice people say and think about you.
Dear mom, know you are enough. Don’t let comparison win.
Heather is passionate about helping women who struggle with their body image and has recently completed her first book on the topic. She’s a group fitness instructor, speaker, mother of four, wife to Eric (a Marine fighter pilot-turned-pastor), and public relations representative for the Dallas Moms Blog. During her single years, Heather spent more than a decade working in politics and non-profit management. She much prefers being a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom (but thinks it’s more difficult!). Follow her blog about body image, motherhood, and faith “Working Out Love” or connect with her via Facebook or Twitter.