A Battle of the Mind: The Motherhood Trap of Comparison

 

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The ideal mom; so many of us mamas strive to be her. You know, the mom who seems to have it all together. Her children are obedient, always clean and well-dressed, and they don’t have meltdowns while out in public. She has time to get up in the morning and take a shower, have a quiet time, and prepare a homemade breakfast for her children before they awake. She’s patient, nurturing, loving — a glistening gem of perfection.

We want to be her, but so often we feel like we fall short. We compare ourselves to her wondering why our motherhood reality is so different. “Why can’t I just be the mom that I want to be?”

The truth is mamas, comparison has an ugly way of polluting our perspective. It has a way of getting us to chase after something that is unrealistic, distracting us away from what really matters. When we start comparing ourselves to what we think is the “perfect mom” we make room for a flood of negative thoughts to fill our minds.

A lot of the battle we face happens in our minds. And guess what? There’s a father of lies who likes to get into our minds and torture us with things that just aren’t true. He knows where we are vulnerable. He knows where we are weak. And he is so sneaky at twisting the truth. It’s a trap mamas, and we need to be aware of it.

It’s likely that we’ve fallen for the motherhood trap of comparison if these type of thoughts rule over our minds:

I’m a bad mom. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m a failure at this motherhood thing. What do I know about being a mom; I only have one child and that mom with four kids is doing a better job than me. My friend’s child consistently sleeps through the night, so why can’t I get mine to do the same? What am I doing wrong? That mom has a grocery cart full of well-behaved children, but my children are squirming out of the cart and pulling things off the shelves. That mom looks well rested and perfectly dressed, and I’m surviving off coffee and struggling to keep my eyes peeled open. Who am I kidding, I’m just not very good at this mommy role.

Sigh.

The enemy wants us to fall victim to comparison so that he can suck the joy out of our motherhood journeys. But God is the Father of Truth and His Voice is much gentler. He tells us something very different.

His Word tells us:

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. ~Galatians 6:4 (NLT)

Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to waste our time comparing ourselves to other moms, especially to the so-called “perfect mom” who doesn’t even exist. He wants us to spend our time focusing on doing the work He has equipped us to do. And He wants us to focus on being the mom who He created us to be, rather than trying to be the mom next to us that wish we were. Our true identity is in Him, not in what the world says about us. If we want to fight off the lies and avoid the trap of comparison, then we need to be clinging to the truth.

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When we believe the truth over the lies the path of motherhood is a much gentler journey. Instead of being hurt with words that tear us down, we can be encouraged with words that build us up:

You are enough. You are a beautiful mom. You’re doing more for your kids than you know. You’re doing Kingdom work. It’s okay when you mess up. You don’t have to be perfect. Things didn’t go so well today, but tomorrow’s a chance to start new. You don’t have to be all primped in perfect clothes at the start of the day because you are lovely just as you are. You are a good mommy, because God lives in you, and He is good.

When we live in the freedom of God’s truth, we can cut ourselves some slack on the challenging days when we feel like we are messing everything up and we are not measuring up to the mommy that we want to be. When we stop comparing and instead start allowing God to help us through the highs and lows of motherhood, then we end up being better mommies to our children.

When we let go of comparison we can also focus more on things like compassion and compliments. We can encourage other moms and cheer them on. We can appreciate the good in other moms because we know how to appreciate the good that God has placed in us as well. Comparison limits us from thriving as moms, so isn’t time to start choosing that which frees us to live as the unique moms that we are?

As we pour into the lives of our children desiring to give them the best we have to offer,  God is always there to whisper to us gentle reminders that we are good enough because HE says so.

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Dear Lord, Help us to stop comparing and help us to start focusing more on Your Truth. Help us to cling to our true identity as Your Beloved Daughters who are well equipped to be good moms to our children. Help us to be gracious to ourselves as You are gracious with us. Help us to lean into You when we feel like we are messing everything up, and protect our minds from the lies that try to steal our joy. Open up our eyes to see the good in other moms so that we can cheer them on with encouragement and with Your Truth. In Your Mighty Name we pray, Amen

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hannah

 

 

 

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(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All rights reserved.

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16 thoughts on “A Battle of the Mind: The Motherhood Trap of Comparison

  1. Such a beautiful post. The number of times I have compared myself to other moms! Thanks for this!

  2. Thank you for this much-needed reminder! It feels so defeating when I compare myself to other moms and Satan is always ready to whisper “you’re a bad mom”. The sooner I remind myself of God’s truth and how He sees me, the better off I am!

  3. What a great post. Isn’t it strange how Satan can just keep tricking us with the same lie over and over. When you’re a kid you comparing yourself to kids at school, when you’re a teen comparing your body to other girls everywhere you go and then once your a mom it just keeps going…. It’s crazy but I don’t think I have realized how unrealistic my expectations of myself as a mom are. I’m really grateful for all of my experiences as a preschool teacher and for my teacher training but I think sometimes all my knowledge about childhood development just makes me feel terrible when I make a mistake.. Thanks for the encouragement. Your blogs are always just what I need what I need to hear 🙂

    • You’re right, patterns seem to repeat and lies seems to go in circles. What’s helped me over the years is paying attention to what I put into my mind. We have to live in the world and we’re going to experience negativity, but we can be proactive about guarding our minds with truth by spending time in the word, spending time in prayer, spending time around other people that build us up. It’s a hard battle though and I know what you mean about teaching and having a background in child development—we know what our kids need, but sometimes we feel like we fail at giving them that. You’re an awesome mommy Erin ( I really mean that) and I think the more we can just try to reach out and encourage each other as mommies, the more it helps all of us! 🙂

  4. Good post Hannah! You are right…in all areas of life we will be imperfect. Our imperfection shows our children our own need for a Savior and points them to Christ when we confess our sins to them and repent (mommy yelled at you and that was wrong of me… Please forgive me, etc).

  5. We speak the same language. I just did a post very similar to this one called stumbling toward grace. Its hard not to compare and feel less than, but standing in God’s truth truly can set us free. Beautiful post!

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