Once on Facebook my dear friend and sister-in-law, Amaree (Picture Made Photography) said something like, “This is what it’s like to talk to my sister-in-law, Kate on the phone who has three small boys, ‘Put that back in the refrigerator, that’s hot sauce…you cannot drink hot sauce. What? No, you cannot jump naked on the trampoline. Hey! Be careful! That is definitely glass, put that down slowly. What was that? Where are you?! Why are you in the trash?!…Oh, sorry, what were you saying?'”
And there it is. That is exactly my life. That’s the season right now. My three crazy, lovable, ping pong ball boys are that busy from the time their beautiful blue eyes open, to the time they pass out from exhaustion at night. And yes, I tend to dress like a homeless person, I have a permanent pile of laundry on my couch, my hair is never ‘done’, no matter how many times I bleach the bathroom it maintains the faint potpourri of little boy pee, the makeup I have on right now is left over from two days ago, and my nail polish I decided to add last minute for my birthday/Valentine’s day date with my husband is now chipping off every finger. What’s left on each delicate nail is what looks like an inkblot test in pail pink. Oh look, there’s Nebraska on that one, a butterfly on another…I now see chipping polish as a conversation starter! Perfect for someone like me, who cowers in the presence of small talk.
As I was ‘dressing’ my two year this morning, which is more accurately comparable to wrestling a wild boar into human clothing, I was wondering how those moms who seem like they have so much substance in their life manage it all. I know, I know…DEADLY, FUTILE, and USELESS to compare yourself to someone else when you don’t really have any idea what their life or inner chaos is like. But we still do it. I still do it all the time.
Like, the person I’m most perplexed and fascinated by, Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. I’ve mentioned her before as an inspiration for giving me the guts to take on our version of a fixer upper. From the outside, she seems to have it all…as a mind boggling talented designer, with a thriving business (including a store, home renovation for clients, a TV show, a blog, furniture line, paint line, an inn, a bakery, and a book), a loving husband, FOUR beautiful children, a farm (with a huge garden and livestock), gorgeous home they, of course, did themselves, a speaker, a passionate Christian who shares her testimony. Blah, blah, blah…I know its’ sickening! 😉 How does she do it?! It seriously blows my mind. When I found out she and her husband have a book coming out, I threw my hands up in the air, ‘That’s it,’ I thought… ‘I give up!’ (Since I’ve been working on my own book for what seems like an eternity!)
Our to-do lists, I feel, are very very different. On my to-do list today: finally pick up that sock that’s been hanging out in the hallway in the same spot for 9 days. On her to-do list: design and launch her own line of family friendly cars and SUV’s.
Theodore Roosevelt – “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I can even do the comparing game with people and moms I know personally…amazed at what they are able to accomplish and how they seem to have it all together. But, it’s so dangerous and pointless to go there. I know it is. For me, if I really focus on the things that I personally hold as most important to me…then, the answer gets clear as crystal…the joy in my life shines through. Wrestling my two year old into his clothes that he is quickly growing out of is exactly where I want to be. And I couldn’t trade the everyday I get with my little ones, before I lose them forever to the daily grind of school and after school activities and friends and their own lives separate from me. Not a chance. But I still wonder… could I do, could I be, should I give up, should I trade it in? And I can’t possibly compare my life, comprised of the things I personally hold most important to me, to someone else’s who holds different things as most important to them. Doing that can only create this unfair, unbalanced comparative in a false reality…painting myself as the one without or lacking…when, in truth, when I compare me to me, I am full and complete and accomplished in exactly who I want to be!
And what I’ve come to discover is, as mom’s…no matter who we are, we are always second guessing. I met with a dear friend a couple weeks ago, who, from my perspective, has it all. A fascinating career, loving husband, great house, and a super cute wee one. Talking with her helped me realize that us mom’s always wonder, is this the best way? Am I doing it right? Am I messing up and don’t even realize it? Should I be doing something differently? She told me she had recently read something that seemed to promote a style of parenting (of being a mom) that was the exact opposite of what she was doing and she was worried that her way was “wrong”.
But there’s that dangerous unbalanced comparative game again. She was wondering if she’s doing it “wrong” because this other mom was making different choices than hers. For my friend, when she really examined what was important to her, the answer became crystal clear also. The choices she made for her own family and style of parenting perfectly suited the life she wanted to build and furthermore contributed to being the kind of mom she wanted to be for her lil one. AWESOME. Me too! I know that if I added anything more to my busy life of boys right now…I would be tipping the scale into complete unmanageability and a possible extended stay at a mental care facility. 😉 I have all I want, all I can handle, all I want to balance….ALL of which is a great blessing to me and my life as a mom! (That, my friends, is knowing your right foot from you left!)
Galatians 6:4-5 Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.
I encourage you to ask yourself the same kinds of questions. What is important to you, what kind of life do you want to build, what kind of mom do you want to be? Once those are answered, the path to get there or the realization you’re already there, will become clear as crystal and the balancing act will seem less of an act…more of an action.
I am too busy to be any more busy than I already am! So, I’m happy to hold off on the store, and the home renovating business, and the TV show, and the furniture line/paint line, and the bakery, and the inn, and the farm, and the garden, and the speaking engagements, and even the book for now. ;)… I’ll keep the blog though!
Til’ next time, be blessed!
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