Sometimes as moms we question our abilities. We compare ourselves to other moms, our families to other families, our lives to the lives of others. All of this comparing can make us feel inadequate and quite frankly, like we’re failing. I thought I would address some of the areas that I find myself caught in the comparison game with, particularly with other moms.
Below are five reasons you are probably a better mom than I am:
1. Your house is clean. I don’t mean immaculate, but generally clean and organized. I aspire to have a mudroom that is organized with cubbies and baskets. But mine looks more like this:
I’m not saying my house should be condemned by the health department. The dishes are done (almost) every night. Toys are picked up and put away and nobody’s tripping over dirty laundry. (Disclaimer: none of this applies to the teenagers’ rooms. I cannot and will not go there. Heck, I won’t even go IN there!) But at the end of the day, I’m just too darned tired to clean. When I do clean house, usually on the weekends, I am less like the Cleaning Fairy and much more like the ugly Cleaning Troll. I like to spend my time spent with my family making happy moments rather than performing interrogations to find out who left the candy wrappers in the sofa cushions.
2. You serve your family fruits and vegetables at every meal. I know how important good nutrition is for our children. I do. I also know that after working a 10-12 hour day, in a kitchen nonetheless, dinner is my least favorite thing to be concerned with. Sometimes fruit-in-the bottom Greek yogurt and a hot dog in a bun have got to count as a healthy (enough) dinner. Hey, there are four(ish) food groups represented there! In the end, my kids are healthy and active and they do like vegetables, when they get them.
3. You don’t yell at your kids, much less “lose it.” I can’t tell you how many times when I was working as a para educator at my kids’ school that for the entire two mile commute I felt like I had become Mommie Dearest during her wire hanger tantrum only to open the car door in the school parking lot and put on my “Mrs. Eastman hat”, kiss my children and send them off to class for the day. The stress of getting out the door to get to work on time with two kiddos gathering everything they need for the day because there is no time to go back, pushed me over the edge more than once. I’m not proud of those moments, but I’m not pretending they didn’t happen. So at least I’m honest. There’s that.
4. You probably do laundry daily, or at least several times a week. I haven’t washed a load of clothes in over a week. And now that we have reached the bottom of the basket of clean clothes that never got folded or put away, I must pause right now and throw a load in the washer. Now, if I can remember to put them in the dryer tonight, we will have a few choices for attire tomorrow. I don’t do my teens’ clothes, either. I turned that job over to them when they were capable of handling it themselves (it’s much younger than you might think). It’s probably just as well given my track record for not getting it done.
5. You have likely documented your children’s lives with photographs in picture frames, scrapbooks and/ or photo memory books. Shoot, you’ve probably had some of your photos printed in the last month. I have boxes of photos documenting my kids’ lives until my oldest daughter was six and my middle daughter was three. That’s when I got my first digital camera. And that’s when all of my photos began being stored on the computer and cd’s. I’m sorry to report that almost every photo of my youngest daughter is stored on my phone. But I’m happy to report that there are a lot more photos of her because, hey my phone is always within reach. My husband and I did buy about 25 picture frames in December to create a photo collage on our staircase wall. They are stacked neatly in the corner of our bedroom. We’ll get them filled and hung…someday.
I don’t have it all together or always get it all right. Neither do you. And that’s ok. Chances are, as you read this you were saying, “No, I don’t!” And that’s ok. The truth is none of this should be used to measure how “good” we are as moms.
It’s a shame how we look around at other moms, other women and compare ourselves. How silly is this? We weren’t given their lives, their spouses, their children. We were given ours. And if we strive each day to be our best, we have succeeded. Our job as mommies is to teach and raise our kids to become adults who can look at their lives and know that they have everything they need to be their own best.
Interesting to hear that you gave the laundry job to your teens. Wonder how they liked it.
Yvonne, I so appreciate your honesty and willingness to put yourself out there in such a vulnerable way. Your words are a wonderful reminder that as women and mothers we ultimately are on the same team. We all want what’s going to be best for our children. There is no place for comparison and competition among women. It’s too exhausting in an already too busy world.