"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure." Psalm 71:14-15

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Mompetition

Two very dear friends of mine, whom have been out of touch in recent months, used the very same phrase in our first reconnecting conversations with each other. They mentioned that they "didn't have it together." One friend in particular admitted that she hadn't called me because she was having a hard time staying on top of things and that I appeared to have adjusted to motherhood without missing a beat and seemed to have it all together. [HA!]

First of all, if that were true my last post before this one wouldn't be about my son being 5 months old when he is now 7 months old! If I had it all together, my blog would be up to date!

But seriously, these conversations have troubled me deeply and brought me to a very serious realization. Two of my dearest friends (who do not know each other at all) were each going through some very difficult times ALONE. One friend I know was too intimidated by her perception of others that she didn't feel as if she could reach out when she needed someone.

We women are relational creatures, and part of being relational creatures is comparing ourselves with others. This can be very dangerous to our emotional health if we are in a vulnerable place. She works full time and teaches Sunday School, I should be able to do that. She works out 3 times a week and is in the best shape of her life after having a baby, I should be able to do that. She doesn't feed her family fast food at all, I should be able to prepare a healthy meal for every meal we eat. She cloth diapers full time, I should be able to do that. She has quiet time every day with God for 30-60 minutes, I should be able to do that. She makes all her own baby food, I should be able to do that. She continued to breastfeed after going back to work, I should be able to do that. Her house is always so clean, I should be able to do that. She grows her own vegetables and composts, I should be able to do that. The problem is that when we do this comparison, these women are never the same person!! The one who finds time to work out, probably has a dirty house. The one who teaches Sunday School, may feed her baby jar food. The one who prepares healthy meals for her family, may use disposable diapers. But for some crazy reason, we feel like we should be able to do it ALL. Hence, the mompetition.

We expect to be able to do it all, even though no one ever could. And because of our feelings of inadequacy when we can't do it all, we withdraw from one another and feel isolated. When really, the mom that you compare yourself with, the one you think has it all together, feels like a complete failure. And funniest of all, she looks at you and thinks you have it all together too.