Here’s the Truth
Those sweet photos posted on Facebook or Instagram rarely capture the real moment. This family moment, captured when our children were one, four, and six, doesn’t show Ben’s teeth, red from biting off the end of my lipstick and chewing it when I wasn’t paying attention. We all know our own picture perfect moments that don’t tell the whole truth.
After spending the night at her friend’s house, Jessica discovered a truth. She returned in the morning astonished that Ellen’s mom had made fresh bread for them shaped into a twist. Ben discovered a truth after playing at Jordan’s house. His mom had cut the peeling off of the apple that she gave them. Rachel understood a truth about Mom when I coached her about class party sign-ups. “Remember, don’t sign me up for cookies or anything homemade for the elementary class party.” She replied somberly, nodding, “I know, Mom. Sign up for the chips or napkins. Something easy.”
Craft projects perplexed me. Play dough messiness overwhelmed me. Some seasons of the year, I collected decor–you know, Thanksgiving, Easter, 4th of July–but when the next year rolled around again, I had forgotten where I stored it. I’m glad that Facebook and Pinterest didn’t exist when I was raising children because of the pressure to perform and post the results.
When Ben was 8 or 9, I took him to breakfast on a Saturday morning. After we had settled in with our donuts and hot drinks, I asked him, “How am I doing as a mom?” With his mouth full, he smiled and held a thumbs-up approval rating.
These days, I’m still wondering how I’m doing as a mom even though they are 25, 23, and 20. The comparison trap doesn’t go away because they are grown. A lie still persists: I’m responsible for them. In reality, I may have been responsible for feeding, clothing, and caring for them as children, but they have always been free to fail and free to fly.
Now, I’m realizing that the comparison trap is in me because I’m comparing other things like wrinkles, hair color, and jobs. Finally, at fifty, I’m learning to live free of comparing.
If you are living the busiest season of your life, raising children, take a deep breath and remember, “There’s not one right way to do this.” Tonight, when they’re all in bed, put your feet up and relax. Don’t look at Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest tonight. Tonight, you are the standard. And you are killing it!