Ever have a conversation with someone that just stays with you?
And years later, through multiple contexts, you find yourself recalling and reclaiming and re-leaning on those words?
Early on into my motherhood journey I was blessed with a wise friend. She could see a situation from the inside out. And she spoke with a confidence that made you sit up and take notice.
One day we were chatting and I found myself venting about all my failings.
I poured out how I felt like I'm forever the mom that doesn't have her act together. The one that can't keep pace. The one that's dropping more balls than she's catching. I ended it with a sigh and lamented how everyone else seems to manage it all, while I constantly fall on my face.
After a pause, she looked right at me and said….
"You want to know the secret to the moms that do it all?
The super moms?
Here's the thing,
they're NOT doing it all.
And if it seems like they are, then either they have a lot of help, or they're so thinly stretched trying to check every box that they're struggling in ways we don't see on the outside.
Because listen up,
every single one of us has a different set of variables, but we keep comparing ourselves to one another as if those variables were somehow the same. They're not!
Some of us have a whole army of kids. Some of us have one. Some of us have parents that live nearby and regularly pitch in. Some of us have zero family supports. Some of us have an awesome partner that truly shares the load. Some of us are flying solo. Some of us have kids that are great sleepers and born helpers. Some of us have kids that need us in much bigger ways. Some of us have the resources to pay for help. Some of us are just scraping by. Some of us are currently rocking stable-ish physical and mental health. Some of us are dealing with a body that's unwell. Some of us love to meal plan and cook gourmet healthy meals for our family. Some of us thrive out in nature, turning over stones and leading our people along a trail. Some of us truly have a knack for making a house a home.
And despite all these differences, there's not one of us in the lot that's getting through this parenting thing unscathed. It's hard no matter what.
But on top of all that, we can't help making it harder for ourselves with the constant comparisons.
I struggle with organization. My house is never going to look pinterest fabulous unless I figure out the cash to hire out Marie Kondo herself. And so, I find myself comparing my worthiness as a parent to friends that have legos sorted by color and a labeled bin for everything that enters the front door. But ya know what? Some of my friends that I hold on the highest parenting pedestal have confessed that they covet my apparent “fun mom” status.
And I realized, that maybe we can’t escape the comparing game. Maybe for whatever backward reason we’re all just driven to do this to ourselves; constantly comparing our perceived dull spots to someone else’s shiniest.
But also, maybe… we can at least catch ourselves in those moments and remind ourselves of the truth.
The secret to the moms that do it all,
is that they don’t.
That this is hard no matter what.
And even as I grieve my dullest spots, someone else is holding my shiniest up to their dullest.”
She stopped. My friend stopped talking. She just looked at me as if to make sure I had really heard her.