Previously, in my One Mom to Another post I shared a few thoughts on motherhood. I’d like to expand more on this notion of not comparing ourselves to anyone.
No woman compares to another. You are the only one of you. There will never ever be another you. Yet, we can spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to other women. This is counterproductive. Matthew Kelly says, “the most powerful words are the ones we say to ourselves.” As women we can be pretty hard on ourselves. I am guilty of this too. I can remember when the long-awaited daughter was born after three sons. I had so much fun doing her hair and dressing her up, until at three years old, after getting her hair braided she gazed at herself in the mirror, and promptly said she “looked like —-. “(another word for poop). Yes, I know where she had heard that from sadly. We know we should not be so critical of ourselves. It needs to stop for own well-being, and that of our daughters. I imagine it hurts God’s heart each time we do, after all, He is the Great Artist who created us.
The unique and unrepeatable you is a gift to your spouse, your children, and to all those who know you. You are here in this moment in time for a reason precisely because of who you are, warts and all. When we truly accept the gift that we are, we can better give ourselves away as gift. There is a freedom in that. This is who I am. This is what I am capable of and I choose to share this gift of me with you, no expectations.
I think this means we can let ourselves off the hook in trying to control the outcome. When the kids were young, going to Mass, as you well know, was exasperating. Our attempt to herd the wild beasts into mass worthy clothes, be fed, and not completely look like we didn’t own a comb, took tons of energy. I wish I could say the short ride to Church was without threats. I worried what others would think if we didn’t have it all together, and the kids didn’t act like angels. I burned a lot of energy on that for most of their young life. I fondly, (and sometimes not so fondly) referred to us as the Freak Show wherever we went.
One of the boys commented years later, that “every freak show needs a ringleader.” That would be me. I needed to stop worrying what people thought of my mothering skills and just enjoy mothering. It is a tiny moment in the ocean of life. When we don’t let the gift of who we are shine through, or the gift of our spouse, or children, the world is a darker place.
My little Freak Show turned out really amazing. I love their personalities, who they have become, and their lived faith. In the end, by the grace of God, I did surprisingly good, and you will too.
So relax, and just be a gift.