I recently caught up with one of my oldest and dearest friends and not surprisingly, we spent a good deal of time talking about our kids. She is an amazing mom, and it’s no surprise that her kids are all doing super amazing things. No. Seriously. SUPER amazing. As the conversation continued, I could feel myself starting to get an icky feeling inside. I was starting to compare myself to her. And as soon as we wrapped things up and I got in my car, the tears were caught in my throat.
Right away, Logic told me, “This is ridiculous. You are ridiculous. You have had COMPLETELY different lives and paths. There is NO WAY you can possibly start doing this to yourself.”
Logic is an insensitive A-hole. Logic clearly did not just hear everything I heard.
Because my heart wasn’t having it. My heart was having a teeny tiny meltdown. If there’s one thing a mom really wants to know, it’s that she’s doing a good job. And in that moment, I was starting to doubt myself.
If you’ve been around here any length of time then you already know some of my blog topics repeat themselves. And you also know they repeat themselves because apparently it takes me a long time to learn some of life’s lessons. Possibly longer than the Average Bear. We don’t know why this is. And we don’t exactly know who the hell this Average Bear is, except that my dad has been comparing he and I my entire life and it would seem that I always come out ahead.
And so I am still learning about my worth. As a woman and as a mom. And how I measure that worth. And who else I allow to measure that worth. Because not everybody should be allowed to.
Fast forward a few weeks to today…
It’s been a really positive, really satisfying Mama Week here. One kid has an article in today’s Buffalo News. Again. She went to a Buffalo Bandit’s game and made all of the arrangements ahead of time to get behind-the-scenes access to players and personnel. She rocked it.
Another kid has been going to school softball tryouts all week and just found out she made the team. We LOVE all things baseball in this family– and now softball, too– so it’s a big deal.
College kid is alive and well. And I know this because when I texted him and asked if he is Alive and Well (also known as the A & W Text), he responded “YES”. He’s going to class and playing baseball and working and paying his bills. And happy. Bless his heart. Seriously.
Huge happy mama sigh of relief and satisfaction.
But the thought occurred to me, as I was lying awake at 3:30 a.m. this morning, what if none of these things were true?
What if there WASN’T an article in today’s paper? Either because it didn’t meet the publication standards, or because my kid never followed through on what she needed to do to make it happen? What would that mean?
What if my other kid didn’t make the team? What if she just wasn’t good enough? What then?
And what if College kid WASN’T going to class and taking care of business?
What would all of that mean for me as a mom? For my self-worth? For my Motherhood Job Review?
Sometimes people in our world can be pretty harsh critics of our parenting choices, but I’m not sure anyone is harder on us than ourselves. And I think almost DAILY, we’re tempted to compare ourselves and/or our kids to other parents and kids, just to see if we’re doing this whole thing semi-decently.
And so as I lay there this morning, I knew I needed to remind myself: If none of these things had happened, I am still doing a good job. If none of these things EVER happen again, I am still showing up and doing a good job. And so are my kids.
As exciting as these accomplishments are. As proud as they make me, I want to keep emphasizing who we are becoming over what we are doing and achieving. I want to keep learning and teaching and modeling healthy relationships. Kindness. Love. Acceptance. Tolerance. Generosity of spirit. Goodness and grace.
If all we ever do is keep showing up and being brave, even when it’s hard and scary and we’re not sure how the whole thing is going to turn out, you better believe we will still keep celebrating with cupcakes and dance parties.
And if it turns out somebody gets their name in the paper or we hit a few home runs along the way, that will be pretty cool, too.