Friday, July 20, 2012

The Snare of Compare

Last week, I walked through a furniture store with it’s coordinated pieces and unique arrangements, admiring the creativity and perfection of it all.  Later that same night, I walked into my own living room and was immediately dissatisfied with it’s normality and imperfectly composed harmony.  Why did this happen?

I was perfectly content before I set foot in the store, but when I returned home, I looked at my older furniture and decided it looked drab when compared with the new stylish pieces I had adored earlier.  My dissatisfaction did not come about because I was unsatisfied with my present state;  my dissatisfaction set in when I began to compare my present state to something I saw that I thought was bigger, better, and more impressive.  This whole experience made me think of the dangerous comparison games that many moms are playing today.

I feel sorry for young moms of this generation.  My generation of mothers, and those before me, didn’t have the wide web of influence that these gals have.  We could compare ourselves to our best friend, or feel inept because of reading  Martha Stewart Living, or yearn for simplicity like we saw on the Little House on the Prairie. But today, moms can enter into other people’s homes all over the globe via Pinterest, see the exceptional talent of a few via Etsy, compare the cuteness of their children to those of their 500 “friends” on Facebook, and measure their success in the kitchen to Pioneer Woman Cooks.  Because most moms can’t do, or be, or create these things that they see on their computer screen (and because they assume most moms can) they end up feeling like failures.

“Look at the gala the Smith’s threw for their kid’s 1st birthday!  We just ate cake with the fam and sang a song. And the only gift he got was something I picked up at a garage sale. I must be a bad mom.”

“Wow, that woman can feed her kids all organic foods and make necklaces out of macaroni with them.  My kids survive on PB and J and think macaroni only comes in boxes with cheese powder.  I must be a bad mom.”

“She is a professional blogger, photographer and makes wedding cakes in her spare time. And her kids are always dressed perfectly.  I’m lucky if I can keep my kids alive, let alone dressed.  I can barely make it to nap time. I must be a bad mom.”

“Look at that room—so cute and creative!  My kids share a bunk bed and smear their snot on the wall.  And yesterday, they drew train tracks with Sharpies on their carpet. I must be a bad mom".”

“Everyone else seems to have no problem soaking their grains, growing their own gardens and raising chickens in their backyards.  I feel so stressed out that even the thought of planting flowers makes me panic.  I must be a bad mom.”

It’s no different than my trip to the furniture store.  I couldn’t measure up and it made me crabby and discontented.  But I didn’t know I couldn’t measure up and I was pretty well satisfied with my living room until I saw something else.  Moms, wives, single gals, stop doing it!  Stop playing the comparison game! In the book of Genesis, Eve played the game.  God gave Adam and Eve access to the entire garden of Eden, with the exception of one tree. They were satisfied with this…until Satan showed them the fruit from the tree from which they were forbidden…and they saw how beautiful it was and how delicious it looked.  Then Eve decided that she must have it, because the rest of the garden just wasn’t good enough.  Like me, Eve’s dissatisfaction set in when she began to compare her present state to something she saw that she thought was bigger, better, and more impressive.

So, Moms, I will leave you with two words: Stop it!

If your internet surfing is making you feel less than, get off the computer.

If going to the mall makes you feel like all your clothes are out of style, don’t go to the mall.

If Pottery Barn magazine make you feel poor and uncoordinated, throw it away. 

If your not into little kid birthday parties, take your children to Hickory Park and let them get a free Sundae.  It’s really OK.  The party is really for the moms.  No little kid ever remembers his first birthday.

What I’m saying is, I think the majority of us would be a whole lot happier if we would just be ourselves and do what we enjoy doing and not worry about the rest…or about what people think.  Your kids love you because you are their mom, your husband loves you because you are his wife, your friends love you because you are lovable, not because you can quilt or blog or raise free range chickens.

Think about that and choose to be satisfied.

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

2 Corinthians 10:12



  1. You write such great sutff! thanks! another good thing to remember is not to compare husbands. like my husband always reminds me, you can't judge your insides by someone else's outsides.