I’m very excited to welcome my friend, Amy Robbins, to my little space. I asked a few friends if they’d be willing to share something on motherhood with my readers and I was thrilled when so many said yes. Amy is the first brave mama to share some words here.
Jason and I have known Amy and her husband since college. We pretty much think they are awesome and are happy to share life together, even though we don’t live as close as we used to. They are the kind of friends who drive an hour to see you, just because they know you’re struggling and want to be there for you. The kind of friends who mean it when they say they’ll pray for you. The kind of life friends you hope your kids grow up to meet.
We’ve watched each other go through different seasons and struggles and I have so much respect for who Amy is as a mother with her girls. Welcome, friend! Thanks for sharing your heart here! Share some love with her in the comments.
I am competitive. I’ll admit it. When I play Uno with my kids or Sequence with my husband, I WANT TO WIN. I’ve been known to jump onto a table screaming when I didn’t win a round of Dutch Blitz. Ridiculous, I know. When I was in school I always wanted to be the best. I wanted to be at the top of my class and be my teachers’ favorite. And often, I succeeded. When I wasn’t at the top academically, it forced me to work harder so next time I would be. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little healthy competition, whether it’s in sports, school, business or board games. It makes us work harder, strive to be better. One definition I read for the word “competitive” says “having a strong desire to win or be the best at something.” Yup…that’s me.
But maybe you don’t consider yourself to be a competitive person. You play a game for fun, not caring about the outcome. Or, your grades were good enough to get by, but you were ok to not be one of the kids with straight A’s.
What about in your role as a mother? Do you find yourself looking around at other moms and comparing yourself to them? Maybe thoughts like this go through your head: “I wish I could have it all together like beautiful Susie, who braids her girls’ hair every morning and sews her own clothes and cooks homemade, healthy meals every night.” Or, “At least I’m better than Jen who yells at her kids, and feeds them hot dogs 3 nights a week, and doesn’t even check their homework.” Why do we do this? Or is it just me? Tell me I’m not alone.
This competition begins immediately when we start comparing our labor experiences, what we feed our babies, and when they started sleeping through the night. As our kids get older, we begin comparing what sports or activities they are involved in and how many goals Johnny scored over the weekend. Of course, it’s okay to praise your kids’ accomplishments and even to share them with others. But, do we take it too far? Is our goal to “look better” than the other moms? To appear to have it all together?
In my 10 years as a mother, I have discovered after many observations and conversations with others that NONE of us have it all together. We all struggle. We either feel like we are doing too much or not enough. One family is in so many activities that they never eat together. Another feels like they’re not doing enough…maybe my daughter should play soccer, or be in girl scouts…are church activities and piano lessons enough? What if we stopped trying to WIN the motherhood race and just started running alongside each other? I believe we would have deeper friendships, less stress and anxiety, and kids who don’t grow up to repeat this cycle of comparing and competition.
Next time you find yourself trying to compete with that “perfect” mom, try getting to know her. Ask her to teach you how to cook, or give you some tips on organizing your home. Or, just sit down and have a cup of coffee and ask her what she struggles with, or how you can pray for her. Chances are, deep down, she does have battles she fights, just like you do. She feels inadequate too. And maybe she WANTS someone to know she doesn’t have it all together. Run the motherhood race NEXT to her (or maybe even walk!), not trying to beat her to the finish line. Every family is different. Every mom is different. God has given you the husband and kids that he knows are right for you. He’s given you the skills and talents you need to be the best mom you can be to those kids. Whether you have them in 1 extra-curricular activity or 8, or whether you send them to school or you homeschool, there’s not one right way, so let’s stop competing. Are any of us perfect? Umm…no. Just read Romans 3:23 for a reminder. I tell my girls all the time, “I’m not perfect. But I’m perfect for you.”
Let’s stop trying to be better than each other, and just strive to be the best moms we can be to the children God has chosen for us. I don’t know about you, but I want to be the kind of mom that pleases God and that my girls look up to as a Christian role model. I want to encourage other moms to do the same. But, I can’t promise if we ever get together to play Scrabble or Cranium that I won’t do everything I can to WIN!
Amy Robbins has been married to Darryl for 17 years and has two girls: Chloe, 10 and Liza, 7. She’s a stay-at-home mom and substitute teacher. In her free time (which you moms know doesn’t really exist), she enjoys reading, baking, scrapbooking, and cheering for the Baltimore Ravens.