4 words you need to know to ditch the motherhood comparison game

4 Words You Need to Know to Ditch the Comparison Game

A Tale of Two Comparisons

The other day, at church, there was a special program for families in place of the regular service called Jingle Jam. We were all so excited for the music and acting and dancing and knew it would the perfect way to introduce our daughter to the main service! We had experienced a relatively calm morning which included baths for all and I even managed to take care of my hair and make-up! All was well as we dropped the baby off in the nursery and made our way to the main service with our 3 year old daughter and five year old son. And then the music started. With it, came the incessant complaints and bathroom queries from my daughter.

“I’m tired!”

“I’m hungry!”

“I’m thirsty!”

“Is it over yet?”

“I need to go to the bathroom!”

I would hush her and pacify her requests with a “We’ll eat later” or “Why don’t you lay in mommy’s lap.” After her 4 millionth request, I took her to the bathroom. As we returned, her attention became fixated on the music video showing on the large video screen. I let my guard down and hoped that the worst of her behavior was behind us. But as soon as the actors took the stage again, her questions came rolling in one right after the other. Then at the most critical moment in the program, as the narrator is admonishing from the stage for all to hear and understand that joy comes through knowing Jesus Christ, Charlee’s whimpers became so incredibly loud. Louder and louder and one final, “Are we done yet?” just sent me over the edge.

I just lost it.

I picked her up and in a huff walked to the back of the room and out the doors. “Yes, We are definitely done,” I angrily muttered under my breath and I carried her out into the lobby area. I was so mad. So frustrated and so embarrassed. It wasn’t supposed to go down like this!

At the conclusion of the program, my husband emerged with our son.  I had already retrieved the baby from the nursery and requested that we leave immediately since Charlee was soooo hungry and soooo thirsty and soooo tired. And I was soooo mad and had none of the JOY they had just spent so much time creatively talking about at church. Ugh.

The next day I hosted a playdate in my home. As the children happily played, I confided in my friend that our Sunday morning had not been what I envisioned. She proceeded to share her frustrations and suddenly I didn’t feel alone. I wasn’t the only one who had placed great expectations on the temperature of the day only to be let down by the short attention span of a 3-year-old. Later that day, my friend texted me thanking me for hosting and shared with me these words of solidarity  that I now share with you (with her permission of course).

“I didn’t get a chance to say earlier but when we were leaving Jingle Jam, frustrated, we passed y’all in your car leaving church and I thought, oh if our children were only more behaved like Patty and Marshall’s kids we could have had a less stressful time today. I hadn’t even realized your struggles with Charlee. Oh how harshly we judge ourselves sometimes.”

The Comparison Trap

Oh the comparison trap. My friends, it is ridiculously easy to look at the outward appearances of a mom and determine that she has it all together. Social media alone can work it’s debilitating magic in painting a picture of parenting perfection that can cause us to feel as if we’ll never measure up.

If appearances were not enough, we take note of baby’s milestones or mommy’s post pregnancy weight loss and the self-loathing continues.

You drag yourself into work sleep deprived thanks to your one year old only to hear your co-workers baby is sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old. What!

The comparisons are endless.

Do your kids:

  • Sleep through the night
  • Behave in public
  • Excel in school
  • Wear matching socks

Do you:

  • Hold your temper
  • Control a situation

Have you:

  • Lost the baby weight
  • Started cooking healthy meals
  • Gone back to work
  • Stayed home

Did you decide to:

  • Public school
  • Home school

Comparison is a…

Bob Goff has a saying: “Comparison is a punk.” Isn’t it crazy how we think everyone else has it together when in all reality they are just trying to keep it together, too?

Can I let you and myself off the hook? Say these four words with me.

Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.

4 words you need to know to ditch the motherhood comparison game

 

If you are loving your children well, teaching them to be kind and loving followers of Christ, and helping them along the way when they struggle, then the appearance of the kid-in-progress does not matter that much.

Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat, my friend.

Whether you homeschool or choose the public route: Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.

Whether your child catches on in school and makes good grades or you struggle for every C your child makes: Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.

If your child does the miraculous and behaves in public or throws herself to the ground in disgust over your suggestions to go to Chickfila for lunch…I mean… “How dare you suggest their favorite restaurant?!” Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.

Leave it Behind

You’ve got this, precious momma. Leave the comparison game behind and focus on these four words. Love. Guide. Correct. Repeat.

Love your precious and crazy crew. Guide them as they age to make the right choice, the kind choice, and when they get off track, lead them back. And repeat. Again and again and again.

Next Week!

Being a mom is both the greatest and most difficult life-time calling a woman can undertake. Join me next time as we wrap up this series and covenant with one another to love our children fiercely and toss the thermometer for good!

 

Thanks for joining me on this journey of tossing the ther{MOM}eter! You can read the introduction here!

 

THANKS FOR VISITING! I SURE HOPE YOU ARE ENCOURAGED BY WHAT YOU READ. IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ MORE, YOU CAN CHECK OUT MY NEW WEBSITE: THE ME TOO! COMMUNITY

A Pearachute Moment Explained

Yesterday I took our youngest child to My Gym in Frisco. My oldest was at school and my husband, who was working from home, was able to keep an eye on our middle child. So, this adventure was a rare time together with just the baby.

The class was a “mommy and me” environment which included circle time, free play on all the equipment, baby friendly exercise moves, and even a set independent time for play while the mommies stood to the side.

As I sat there watching my son play, I overheard two moms talking about their kids and where the other lived. They ultimately exchanged phone numbers in hopes of a future playdate.

We ended our time together where we started on the circle mat singing and clapping.

Pearachute Kids has given me an excuse and an easy on-ramp for trying new things without the added pressure of wondering if it will be a good fit or not. Not a good fit? We move on to the next Pearachute Drop-In opportunity. And when I find the right dance studio or karate class, I’ll know my investment will not be wasted.

I love every moment of it. Not because the class was amazing, although it was, but because I was spending time with my son doing something new. Something that was hard to do with three kids. I kept thinking: “Wow this is such a cool class. I wish I had been brave enough to try something like this with my first two kids!”

I’ll be honest I’m an introvert and I have children. That’s hard. I’m also a homebody. And I have children. That’s harder.

That’s why I am so thankful for Pearachute Kids. Pearachute Kids is the reason I got out the door on Monday and many other days in the past few weeks to try something new with my children.

What is Pearachute Kids?

Pearachute Kids began in Chicago after a mom of boys signed her kids up for soccer. After the first practice, it was blatantly obvious that the World Cup was not in her boys’ future and either the next 8 or so weeks would be miserable for her and her boys or miserable on her pocketbook. Wouldn’t it have been easier if her boys could have dropped into a soccer class? They could have tried it out and determined pretty quickly it wasn’t for them. This is what birthed Pearachute Kids.

Pearachute is an incredibly neat membership program that allows you to try out some of the neatest classes in the area before you commit to a membership or class session .

In the past 6 weeks, we have tried out Bounce U, Le Ballet, Carefree Colors, and My Gym. This weekend my little ballerina will try out a tumbling class at Studio Three Dance and I can’t wait to see what my eldest thinks of Undaunted ATA Martial Arts in a few weeks. 

Pearachute Kids has given me an excuse and an easy on-ramp for trying new things without the added pressure of wondering if it will be a good fit or not. Not a good fit? We move on to the next Pearachute Drop-In opportunity. And when I find the right dance studio or karate class, I’ll know my investment will not be wasted.

These have been awesome opportunities to give venues a try. Some I’ve been able to determine were not age appropriate or really too far of a drive for us. Others I would have never known existed. Carefree Colors, for example, is literally one building over from my favorite Starbucks! Thanks, Pearachute!

Pearachute Kids has given me an excuse and an easy on-ramp for trying new things without the added pressure of wondering if it will be a good fit or not. Not a good fit? We move on to the next Pearachute Drop-In opportunity. And when I find the right dance studio or karate class, I'll know my investment will not be wasted.

And our most recent adventure: I have to say My Gym just blew me away with their excellence, the cleanliness of the equipment, and their beautiful kindness. However, I never would have walked through their doors on my own.

Pearachute Kids has given me an excuse and an easy on-ramp for trying new things without the added pressure of wondering if it will be a good fit or not. Not a good fit? We move on to the next Pearachute Drop-In opportunity. And when I find the right dance studio or karate class, I’ll know my investment will not be wasted. 

A Wise Investment

My almost six year old has been taking piano lessons since this summer. I felt like he had an affinity for music and would truly enjoy and excel with lessons. It was a gamble that did work out. What if that untapped musical ability, however, was better left untapped? What if I had started him in lessons and it was a train wreck? I would have been out my money or my child would have been miserable. I would have been stuck taking my child to lessons he didn’t like or had to make the painful pocketbook decision to pull him from those lessons. 

Pearachute Kids helps make those expenses for classes and memberships a much wiser purchase and, for the homebody-introvert like me, a little easier to give new things a try.

 


Would you like to give Pearachute Kids try? If you are in the DFW, Kansas City or Chicago area, there’s a Pearachute Kids near you! You can use my code and get a 3 class membership for a $1 (or $38 off a larger plan)! After that, you will renew at the normal rate. Click HERE to sign up and enter the referral code: PATTY2017 at check out. Please note the referral code is case sensitive. If another Pearachute Mombassador referred you to this post, PLEASE use her code instead. 

Fine Print: In exchange for this blog post, I have received free services and will benefit from each person that uses my code. The opinions expressed in the post are honest and mine and in no way swayed by my compensation. 

THANKS FOR VISITING! I SURE HOPE YOU ARE ENCOURAGED BY WHAT YOU READ. IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ MORE, YOU CAN CHECK OUT MY NEW WEBSITE: THE ME TOO! COMMUNITY

So how do we reconcile the parenting advice that we've been given with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected?

Parenting Advice: What to do when it doesn’t work

My husband and I started our parenting journey almost six years ago. As a matter of fact, this time last year,  I was approaching my third trimester with my first child! Oh the advice I would give first-time mom Patty! Here are three things I would say to myself across the table at a coffee shop if I could go back in time. But since I can’t go back in time, perhaps I can save you dear mom some trouble. 

ASK FOR HELP

Please ASK FOR HELP! If I could, I would go back tell myself:”Stop acting like you’ve got it together!” I can’t tell you how many times, I would hear people say to me: “I don’t know how you do it.” I wish I had been brave enough to say, “I don’t. Can you help me?” I would have included my husband more in the earlier days as well. He wanted to help but I looked and acted like I knew what I was doing. He helped as needed but let me do the heavy lifting of child rearing because I was too stubborn to let him in. That is until I got overwhelmed and had a meltdown in the middle of the night while he slept. That night changed everything and birthed our team parenting approach. It was a hard lesson, but as a result, I began to realize that just because I gave birth to these kids it didn’t mean I instantly upgraded to super-mom model.

THROW AWAY THE BOOKS

Please throw out all of the parenting books! Well, maybe not all of them. The ones that promote a certain rigid system or project a specific end result do not even deserve a place on your dusty shelf. Books about parenting need to be approached like a buffet. Take what looks good and give it a try. If it doesn’t taste good, you don’t have to keep eating it. When reading a book or an article or a blog post…yes even my words, consider who you are and your family dynamic. Does the idea seem like something that could work? Give it a try. If it doesn’t seem like a good fit, don’t try it! I am not the first and I most certainly will not be the last to say this: Children need love and their basic needs met. If you can do this, and I know you can and will, the rest will eventually fall into place. The goal of parenting is to raise responsible, kind and loving adults. I promise you, your child’s college admissions counselor will not care AT ALL if your child slept through the night at 8 weeks.

TRUST YOURSELF

Breathe and trust yourself.  You’ve got this precious momma! You know what’s best. There’s more advice and opinions and methods about parenting than there are people in the world! With all that wisdom and perspective, it could be very easy to become overwhelmed and fearful of making mistakes and choosing the wrong path for your child. Let me set you at ease with these two sentences.

You will make mistakes.

You will raise confident, kind, beautiful children who will love you despite the mistakes you will make.

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THIS ADVICE?

So how do we reconcile the advice that we receive regarding motherhood with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected? Two plus two surely equals four but finding a rhythm might not be as easy as a math equation. I could piece apart each of the posts in this series and tell you how either my children or circumstances have myth busted the majority of my suggestions. Not everything. Those coffee dates are still precious moments alone with my husband!

BOTTOM LINE

Parenting has and always will be hard, and although there are some excellent strategies and advice available, we all have to forge our own parenting path. Parents and children come in all different packages. Some kids are by the book while others are not.


I hope these past few months of parenting tips have brought you insight, inspired a few ideas to try out, and perhaps given you success and a little hope. More than anything, however, I hope you leave this series knowing that you are no doubt the BEST person to mother your precious brood. Why? Because you love your children fiercely. If you don’t know the answer, you will search, experiment, cry, pray, and try, try, TRY again until you figure it out. You are in it for the long haul. And that super power, precious momma, is more valuable than all the parenting advice in the world.

 

You’ve got this brave momma! Go change the world one diaper at a time.

-Patty

So how do we reconcile the parenting advice that we've been given with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected?

Want to read the entire series? You can start here with the Introduction: Bringing Home Baby, Again