By Heather Keenan
I did it. This morning I did it. I compared myself to other moms. And you know what? It stole my joy, just like that inspirational quote, typed over a beautiful sunset, told me that it would. Sucked it away. Dementor style.
So, needless to say, I was being completely irrational and hard on myself for a while after that, until my favorite four year old engaged me in a wicked air guitar contest which left me to ponder…..is there another mom out there that can air guitar as borderline-amazing as I can? The answer? I doubt it, and even if there is, chances are, our paths will never cross.
That particular morning I was happy, possibly ecstatic, to get my oldest dropped off to her second day of First Grade so that I could turn around and get my butt back home for a day of fun with my other two bundles of energy. I had one week left before my middle bundle (the four year old air guitar prodigy) left me for the exciting world of Pre-K and I intended to end her summer with a bang! I had my face to the sun and nothing could stand in my way! Nothing, that is, except the horrible storm cloud that is “comparison”.
I walked my oldest to her class, got her supplies where they needed to be and went in for the high five. “Mom, I want you so stay.” Oh poop. “I can’t stay, don’t be silly. I will see you at the end of the day. You’ll have a blast! Love you, bye.”
And I left. No one knows my kids better than me and I knew that she would be all aces once I was out of there. I just needed to leave, so I left. I walked out of the school and while passing new faces and old faces, those deflating doubts started to let themselves be known:
*Are other moms staying longer for drop off?
*Are other moms staying to volunteer?
*Have other moms already reached out via email to their kids teachers to offer assistance of any and all kinds?
*I bet other moms are doing so much more, they probably would have stayed and made super sure that their first grader was not going to burst into tears on the second day.
*Oh man, I suck.
With these thoughts doing the cha-cha in my head, I took my other two out for a day of fun and it was just that, a Day of Fun! We had a blast and when the school day was over we were there, in the car line, waiting for our first grader. And guess what? She had a great day. No tears, no issues and no grudges against mom.
I guess the moral of my story is, while inspirational quotes and I have a complete love-hate relationship, this one (or should I say, Teddy Roosevelt), got it right. Comparison IS the thief of all joy. You can not be living in the moment and appreciating what you have in front of you if you are worried about the way other moms are doing things. Every mom has strengths and weaknesses, we are all doing our best and no one out there knows what works best for your family better than you. I mean sure, Sally has 117 Pinterest crafts under her belt, but I am pretty sure her air guitar skills are sub par.
Disclaimer: Sally is fictional. If there is a Sally out there with phenomenal air guitar skills, please, call me, we can hang.