I subscribe to a parenting magazine. The cover typically showcases super trendy kids. Every time I look at that magazine I think to myself, Man, I need to step up my game.
I then read the articles that (of course) picture moms who are TOTALLY put together hosting the most adorable birthday parties in their pristine kitchens while showing off their mad pintrest skills. Because, THAT'S what makes you a good mom, right?
I mean, what kid doesn't stay up at night dreaming about their mom's perfectly crafted party invitations that coordinate with her party theme and simply stunning throw pillows?
(That she hand-made JUST FOR THE PARTY from some pattern she found on pintrest while baking a freaking loaf of homemade bread completely free of anything unorganic for her kid's pb&j's).
Oh and don't EVEN get me started on making school lunches!
I seriously read an article where they suggested packing rice crackers, edamame, fig cookies and pomegranate seeds. WHAT THE....?? All of which they pictured perfectly organized in a lunch box that starts at $40 a pop.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love getting my kids to eat healthy. I think I throw a pretty fun birthday party and I do enjoy my pintrest. But, it seems every year the noise to be MORE trendy, MORE creative and MORE impressive grows louder.
Like the first day of school.
I took my 4 year old to pre-k. Mind you, she's my third child. I'm over having perfect hair and spending a fortune on her out-fit for the first day. That ship sailed a LONG time ago.
So, we walk in and there's a family dropping off their daughter also. An ENTIRE family. Like, mom, dad and 4 siblings. NO JOKE. And, I'm not kidding, they were ALL in coordinating out-fits. They looked like they were ready to pose for a photo shoot (which would probably be crafted into handmade "welcome fall" cards that she would mail to all of her friends. Or post on FB or whatever. And make the rest of us normal people feel STUPID)
All the kids had perfectly combed hair and the cutest matching shoes, backpacks, etc. And, to top it off, the mom was PREGNANT. And looked adorable. Like hey world, I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-THIS-happened look on her face.
Then there's me. I was feeling pretty good about myself, you know, since I'd managed to brush my hair AND my teeth all in the same morning. I EVEN HAD MAKE UP ON.
But, in one fast swoop all of my attempts to muster up some sort of cuteness completely bombed in the face of a picture perfect pregnant mom. And her entire family. I'm pretty sure her 5 year old had it going on more than I did. Her shoes were KILLER!
It's moments like this that can sink a perfectly sailing ship faster than the titanic. So many moms (like me) can feel great one moment and then after an encounter with a (seemingly perfect) mom, our self worth plumets.
Or forget about in person encounters. Heck, just scroll through social media and you will definitely feel less-than.
It's true. And it's ugly.
Today, our perceived value as a parent can be quickly summed up in how impressive we look, we craft, we dress, we decorate, what we drive and don't forget your kids ability to shine like they were on the cover of a parenting magazine.
Me and one of my middles. She was SO excited to be wearing her Frozen shirt. I swore they'd never wear character stuff. Then my third came and I caved over princess socks. It went downhill from there.
Our schools, coffee shops and malls are filled with parents trying to measure up. As soon as we log out of social media or leave a PTA meeting, we're filing a list in our head of things we need to improve on. And rarely is it anything beneath the surface.
I'm not offering a valiant answer here. But, what I will offer you is the ability to RISE ABOVE THE CURRENT.
What I'm offering you is a better way to think about your value:
Instead of feeling totally worthless when another mom walks in looking more fabulous than you think you do, don't sink. Instead, RISE ABOVE sister!
Count yourself lucky for the added sleep (since you weren't awake at the crack of down to curl everyone's hair and iron shirts. NO THANK YOU)
And, when you see those pictures on social media of perfect parties, and cute mommas in their perfectly decorated homes, take a deep breath. Remind yourself of what REALLY MATTERS.
Those precious babies that you destroyed your body to have (a little humor there. I have four). THOSE little people are what matter.
Not their out-fits, hair, shoes or perfectly decorated bedrooms. I'm SERIOUS. That wall piece you're DYING to have will not make them a better person. I PROMISE!
Rise above the current and embrace what will make a lasting impact. Steer their hearts, pour into their souls, wrap them up tight in your arms and nurture and guide their inner person. The person in them you KNOW they are meant to be. The one you've seen glimpses of since they were born. Strengthen them in the values and purposes that truly matter.
All the rest is meaningless chatter. It will only lead to stress that totally ISN'T WORTH IT.
Life will go on. People will continue to stay up all night killing themselves over that pintrest project to show off at the next class party.
But you hang in there momma. You're a WHOLE LOT more valuable than you think. ;)