Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I will not compare....

Our topic of discussion at the last MOPS meeting was Comparisons. I'm not sure that it was meant to be a Thanksgiving-themed discussion, but it came at the perfect time for me.

I thought peer pressure was just a high school problem...boy, was I wrong. The Mom World can be vicious, and I think social media makes it worse. One scroll through my Facebook news feed can reveal any number of "mommy debates."  Cloth vs. disposable diapers, formula vs. breast feeding, to rock your baby vs. not rocking, home school vs. Christian school vs. public school....and the list goes on and on. We are made to feel inferior if we don't raise our kids in the exact method as some "expert" suggests. I am amazed that I can feel guilty for not offering my kids something that other moms give their kids - when in all reality, Hudson could care less. We are bombarded with perfect family pictures and kids birthday parties that are more extravagant than my wedding.

Last week, we tried to take a family Christmas photo. I wasn't going for anything grand...just a casual picture of two adults and two kids.  The sun kept casting weird shadows. Nora's headband fell down on her forehead and looked like an 80's sweatband. After lots and lots of photos, we ended up with ONE that looked OK. And Hudson is even holding a bubble wand. But that's OK - I don't have to have spectacular shots of our family to send everyone for Christmas. It's a picture of our family. We are smiling and enjoying ourselves. As long as I don't start comparing it to other family pictures I see, I am happy with it.

I saw this quote and I have to constantly remind myself of its truth.

I am content with what I have as long as I am not comparing it to someone else's possessions, experiences, Christmas photos, etc.

When Hudson was around 6 months old, I had to unsubscribe from all of those developmental emails. You know, the ones sent to you each week, telling you what your child should be reaching for or saying or eating or smelling like by now. Hudson was born 7 weeks premature - and because of that he didn't always develop at exactly the same rate as the average child. Teeth didn't appear when the books said they should. He didn't sleep through the night like articles suggested. Each week, when those emails would arrive in my inbox, I found myself discouraged and frustrated. When I finally realized it was the emails and my comparing Hudson to the "average" child, I knew that a change had to be made. Once I stopped reading those descriptions, I was able to celebrate the milestones of his little life instead of comparing him to an article.  And even though Nora was born right on time, I still don't read those emails. She gets her regular well check-ups at the pediatrician where her progress is evaluated...and that's enough for me.  It's so easy to trade the joy that comes from their accomplishments for the disappointment that they are not like another person's child.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I want to focus on what I do have and what God has done for me. Why do I get so absorbed in what other families have or do? Why do I obsess over a clean house? Why do I think that my life needs to be like someone else's in order to be happy?

The reminders are everywhere. My dad always says "People buy things they don't need with money they don't have to impress people they don't like." Hudson likes to watch Veggie Tales - and Madame Blueberry learns to thank God for what she does have...and it was the latest topic at MOPS.

I'm thankful for these two kids. My life has completely changed. The Lord has been so good to us. That's what I want to focus on this Thanksgiving. I want to quit comparing...I think I would enjoy this awesome life I have a lot more. Because when I focus on what I do have, I am happier.

And just in case you're wondering...I had to bribe Hudson with fruit snacks in order to get a Thanksgiving picture. No perfect life here. 

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