It has been a subject I've deeply pondered since I was a young girl. The competition I've been surrounded with has evolved from girls competing to win awards in gymnastics, to seeing who created the best artwork in class, to trying to impress the most and cutest boys, to landing a career, husband, and family, to learning which mom has mastered the difficult equation of motherhood most effectively.
As a mom, some of the most competitive realms I see out there have to do with the way in which we take care of, discipline, feed, nurse, teach, and love our children. Mothering is a tough gig. It is tough enough in the privacy of our own homes, but coupling that with social media opens a window into our lives (and everyone else's), inducing a sort of pressure we wouldn't otherwise entertain. Although it's ultimately our choice to decide whether or not we allow the pressures of modern day parenting to dwindle down our confidence, sometime it is hard to remain strong when we feel broken down.
Other moms serve as inspiration to us, but they can also give us a spring board to dive right into thinking I'm not good enough.
Many of us have questioned our value while speaking harsh words to ourselves such as, "I'm a failure. I may never be able to make all my own baby food, co-sleep, home school, meal plan, baby wear, breastfeed, practice gentle parenting, avoid screen time, or be as intentional and active as these other awesome moms."
You know what?
When you think you're not good enough, your kids are likely thinking the opposite. They love you, even when you don't love yourself.
If your children go to public school, you're not a failure.
If you feed them ice cream, fast food, and cheese puffs sometimes, you're not a failure.
If you use a microwave and have cable, you are not a failure.
If you didn't co-sleep, baby wear, or nurse your children until they were two, you are not a failure.
If you have yelled at your kids, you are not a failure.
If you could use a break, or two or three, or a week from the kids, you are not a failure.
If you are late everywhere you go, your car is a disaster, your legs are a little hairy, and you couldn't find a shirt to hide your post-pregnancy belly from three years ago, you are not a failure.
If your mom friends seem to have things figured out better than you do, you are not a failure.
If you can't imagine anyone else in the world having larger laundry and dish piles than you, you are not a failure.
If you are raising your kids by yourself, you are definitely not a failure.
If you are feeling completely annoyed by your kids, and turn on the tv to get some alone time, you are not a failure.
If your kids aren't so sweet to other kids sometimes, you're not a failure.
You know what else?
Competition is crazy.
I'm talking about bad competition.
Some competition can be positive, and has the power to propel us to achieve great things. The type of competition that haunts us, and damages our souls, that is the kind that is a huge waste of time.
Our kids will hardly notice our "shortcomings". They have no idea that we aren't doing enough crafts with them, feeding them the healthiest foods for every meal, dressing them in cute clothes, keeping the house clean, or even that we aren't making Pinterest worthy dinners and decor for our tiny houses. If the whole point of this whole mom gig is to nurture our children the best that we can, I'd say that requires nurturing our hearts first, so that we can see through clear lenses, just how truly beautiful being a mom is.