The thought that keeps coming to my mind is, ENOUGH! Enough of the self-judging, enough of the anxiety to be perfect, enough already! And on the flip side of that, I AM ENOUGH. I am good enough.
Why do we compare ourselves - that person whose weaknesses we know intimately - to the mom at church or at our kid's school who seems to always have it together? You know, the mom who has 10 children but finds time to make some fancy-pants dessert, has children who are always presentable, never raises her voice and always seems to be smiling. I think we should all have a conversation with that woman. Instead of standing in awe from afar and hating ourselves a little more every time she calmly responds to a child having a meltdown whose wiping chocolate all over her neatly-pressed beige slacks, why don't we take the time to get to know her? Sure, she might turn out to really be that awesome, but I am willing to bet that there is something she struggles with that will help you to realize she is, in fact, quite normal; that you are much more similar to her than you ever could have imagined.
Two short stories:
#1: I know such a mom. I was uncomfortable around her all the time. I would see her each week with her four children at our library's story time. She was always on time and her kids sat and listened politely. And there I was with half the amount of children, always late and trying to corral my kids onto the darn mat to pay attention to the nice story time lady. I thought that my perfect-mom-friend must be silently shaking her head at me. One day I mentioned to her how embarrassed I was by this and she said simply, "Well, you should see my house. I left it a mess to get here." I had imagined every aspect of her life to be controlled and perfect. Human, after all. I can't tell you what a relief that was! We've been sincere friends ever since. I still think she rocks, but now I am not judging myself against her all the time...only every once in a while, and most of the time it's a good kind of comparison. (yes, I think there's such a thing and I want to talk about that more in the future)
#2: A few months ago a dear friend of mine was at my house and saw a pizza box on the counter. She let out a sigh of relief and said, "Oh good! I am so glad to see that you get pizza sometimes. I'm not the only one who doesn't make dinner every night." Seriously?! This friend has lived up the street from me for nearly four years and we have spent a great deal of time together. She's thought this whole time that I make dinner from scratch for my family every night? Psssshhh. Not a chance. It would be nice, but not a chance. It really made me think about the image I am portraying in an effort to look like I have it together.
It was just a few days ago that the push to start this blog really started weighing on me. I stood in my kitchen with two good friends, having an all-too-familiar conversation. "I always think, how does she keep her house so clean?" "Why do I struggle getting my two kids to church on time with the help of my husband when she is always on time with three kids and no husband to help?" I asked them, "WHY?! Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we compare our worst selves to another's best?"
I have had similar conversations many times over and we all seem to ask the same question as the conversation draws to a close - why do we compare ourselves like that? - but without any answer. I'm not saying this blog is going to be an answer. I am not a great writer or an expert in any field. I am just a very passionate sista who thinks we should transform the way we, as women, look at ourselves and at others. It's very likely that just my mom, sisters, and a few devoted friends will read this. But maybe, just maybe, a few more will join in and we will build one another and chip away at what I perceive to be a destructive way of thinking.