Motherhood and Identity: Comparison and The List You Need To Tape To Your Forehead

By July 7, 2010General


We often compare ourselves to a creature as mythical and imaginary as unicorns and big foot.

The perfect mom.

The one who bakes healthy, organic, award winning cookies for her children in her spotless home with her perfectly manicured hands that are attached to her fit, flawless body that wears the trendiest clothes (that she bought on sale) which hang in her color coded walk-in closet where she prays for her family for an hour every day.

The one we think we *should* be.

Yes, that one.

Somewhere deep down we know she doesn’t exist, but for unknown reasons we continue to hold her up as the standard against which we feel inadequate, insecure and incomplete.

A Better Perfect Mom

I’ve talked about Mission Statements before. About how they’re really important and useful and blah, blah, blah.

Without a practical application all that talk can just go in one ear and out the other.

Here’s the practical application. When we create our mission statement we are creating OUR version of Perfect Mom. The type of person WE want to be. The type of person we CAN be. The type of mom that our circumstances, strengths and resources ALLOW us to be. So instead of pursuing Perfect Mom, you’re in essence pursuing Perfect You.

An Example

Sometimes, as I’m reading blogs I’ll start to compare myself to fun, crafty moms like my friends Leigh and Amanda. I am not crafty. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. I rarely plan fun crafts to do with the kids. Sometimes I lament about that. I let myself think I’m a bad mom.

But when I look at my Mission Statement, it says:

“To have fun with my children and help them grow up to be people who know, deeply love and wholeheartedly serve God.”

Do you see the word “craft” in there anywhere? Nope. Me either. I just see the word fun. So I focus on the things I AM good at. We make movies, write silly songs, go on adventures, take spontaneous trips, sing loudly in the car and I make them laugh with my goofy accents.

Every now and then, I’ll stretch myself and snag one of Leigh or Amanda’s brilliant ideas and have craft time with my kids. But for the most part, I focus on my strengths and interests rather than trying to morph myself into something I’m not.

The Purpose of Priorities

When we know what our priorities are, we FREE ourselves from comparison, because no one else has the same strengths, goals or circumstances that we do. We can only compete with ourselves. Challenging ourselves to be better each day.

Write down your priorities. What is important to you? In what order? What are your goals?

Tape that list to your fridge, your laptop, your TV. Tape it on your face. Or not.

Whatever it takes to remind you that you aren’t pursuing Perfect Mom, you’re pursuing what God created you to be.

He Could Have If He Wanted To…

If God wanted clones He would have made them. He’s kinda powerful like that. But, since he didn’t make clones, I think we can assume He has specific purposes for each of us. Let’s find out His plans and align our lives to be successful in His eyes.

Freedom From Comparison

Because when it all comes down, the only Perfect One worthy of our pursuit is Jesus.

He desperately wants us to be consumed with Him
. Not because He is vain, but because when we are consumed with Him we cannot be consumed with ourselves. When we lose ourselves we lose the Fear, Anxiety, Hopelessness, and Discouragement that we inevitably carry.

When we are consumed with Him, our deepest needs are met. And when our deepest needs are met, we free up 90% of our thoughts and actions.

And we become the moms we’ve always longed to be.

Have you ever struggled with comparing yourself to “Perfect Mom”? How do you combat the tendency to compare?

This post is part of WFMW.

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Comments

54 Comments

  • Catie says:

    Ok. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now (and I love it!) and have been meaning to make a Mission Statement – but I think today’s gonna be the day! LOL!

    This post is SO good. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. And having a Mission Stmnt that specifically for ME is a great reminder to NOT do that! (you said it so much better.:)
    .-= Catie´s last blog ..Holy Obsessed About Having A Baby- Batman- =-.

    • Kat says:

      Today IS the day. It really doesn’t take all that long to make a first draft. You can do it!

      I’m so glad you liked the post, Catie!

  • Ally says:

    THis post was totally refeshing thank you!
    It’s funny… I compile all the the best traits of all of the mom’s I know and hold myself up to that standard… my husband figured it out one day and I was like “wow, ok thats impossible” but I still catch myself doing it sometimes.

    One thing that has helped… in my women’s group, we rotate weekly affirming one persons giftings and encouraging that one individual, so you not only get to humbly love on someone, but about every 6/8 weeks you get to be reminded of how loved and irreplaceable you are.

    • Kat says:

      Ally,
      What an incredible women’s group you’re a part of!! I can imagine NO ONE misses when it’s “their” week.

  • Traci says:

    Love. This. Post. Especially the clone picture. 🙂 You are clever.

    I once had a little epiphany that was something like, “If you are busy trying to be June Cleaver for your kids, who’s going to be YOU for your kids?” They obviously don’t need June, or that’s who God would have set them up with, right?

    Comparing with others and especially comparing with an impossible Perfect is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. If he can get us all stressed out trying to do it all and discouraged when we fall short, he’s kept us from accomplishing the amazing things that we really can do. This post was a great reminder to me. Thanks!

    • Kat says:

      “If you are busy trying to be June Cleaver for your kids, who’s going to be YOU for your kids?”

      Brilliantly said, Traci!

  • Leslie says:

    I really, really, needed this post today! Thank you! I do compare myself to others, especially when I read blogs and think how great of moms they are…..I want to do all things organic, not use any paper products, but then I realize, I have 2 very small children, no outside support, other than my husband. I am very busy just keeping up with laundry, cooking meals at home, and making sure my 1 yr old doesn’t destroy the house!! I need to loosen up, make my own mission statement, and allow God to use me as He sees fit……focus more on my chidren then being the perfect mom!!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog, and am very much enjoying this group of post about motherhood and identity. Thank you.

  • Carolyn says:

    Kat, you always seem to get right where I am. Thank you for listening to God and sharing with us His insights that He is giving you! You are a true blessing to me!!!

  • Noelle says:

    Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to share your reflections. I probably repost 90% of your blog posts on my facebook page–they are SO pertinent to this time of life for my friends & me. Our family is in a period of transition (new job for hubby, moving across the country next month) and your blogs invariably bring encouragement in the midst of uncertainty and chaos.

  • Katrina says:

    Thank you for this!!! I need to rework my mission statement to better reflect ME and MY strengths, rather than creating a hologram of the “perfect” mom (whoever she is!). I am very encouraged today. Thanks, Kat!

  • reba says:

    Awesome! Really really awesome!

    I think my mission statement needs to be more practical. I’m going to spend some time asking Jesus about it.
    Thanks Kat.

  • Mindy says:

    Thanks Kat – it’s what I needed to read today!

  • Diana says:

    Kat, thank you again for writing about your reality, which usually fits with mine! I was just in a dump today thinking how “I wish I could be….”, and “If only I could…”! I had some things to do and went to the computer to get my mind off of my doubts and nagging thoughts, and lo and behold, your entry was in my inbox! I am so thankful because I can’t tell you how much I needed this!

  • I always come away with a great refreshed perspective when I visit you, Kat. 🙂

    Loved that last quote you shared;

    “When we are consumed with Him, our deepest needs are met. And when our deepest needs are met, we free up 90% of our thoughts and actions. ”

    Is it yours? I’d love to highlight it on an upcoming ‘Monday Musings’ post on my blog. Every monday I post an inspiring, encouraging or challenging quote to dwell on.

    let me know!

  • Amber Cullum says:

    15 weeks ago I was comparing myself to the perfect Physical Therapist, now I compare myself to the “Perfect Mom.” I totally relate to the crafty envy and to be honest I find myself fighting the urge to compare myself to you. I love your blog and want to do so many of the things you mentioned, but seem to be struggling to be consistent. My son is 15 weeks old. Do you have any suggestions how to get to started when you have a newborn who still is struggling to settle into a routine?
    .-= Amber Cullum´s last blog ..Christmas Morning Frittata =-.

    • Kat says:

      Amber,
      Honestly, I’d say don’t worry much about routine until you’re out of “the fog” – those early months when sleep is hard to come by.

      Once your little one is on a good sleep schedule, then you can start working on your schedule. Be sure to start small, though. Maybe right now sneak in some prayer time during feedings. Print out some favorite Bible verses and post them around the house (mirrors, the fridge etc).

      Most of all…get some sleep. 😉

    • 'Becca says:

      Amber, try the rule of One Thing and Three Things: Pick JUST ONE thing that HAS to get done today, put it aside as necessary when your baby needs you, and look for opportunities to get two other things done…but be flexible about which things they are and when you do them. Whenever you feel sad about what’s not getting done, remind yourself of what you DID do.

      Kat is totally right about not worrying about routine right now. Babies are all about taking life as it comes! She also has a good tip about posting Bible verses around the house. When my son was a baby, he loved to hear hymns (despite my bad singing), so whenever one I like was printed in the church bulletin, I’d hang it up someplace where I could stand next to it rocking him and singing.
      .-= ‘Becca´s last blog ..Tangy Honey-Apricot Tofu =-.

  • […] Check out the blog post I’m referring to here. […]

  • Leigh says:

    Oh, Kat – do you know what? Do you know how often I DON’T have fun with my kids? And how I KNOW they’re not having fun with me when we do our crafts? Thank you for reminding me about a mission statement. I need one to keep me where the Lord wants me!

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you for such a great post! It is hard for me to not compare my mothering to other mothers. Thank you for reminding me that God created me to not be a perfect mom, but to be the mom that I was called to be.

  • Olivia says:

    Good words. Thanks for sharing that!

  • Sara M. says:

    I think the comparing thing is a woman thing. If it’s not about being a mom, it’s something else. I totally get where you’re coming from. I, too, am guilty of the comparing thing – to one person I can think of, in particular.

    @Amber – the routine will come eventually. I have four children, and each one was a little different (ages now ranging from 3 to 9). Try to do the morning routine (bible study, prayer, exercise, shower) as early as you can in the day to get a good start. Do as much as you can when they’re sleeping (my household priorities are tidying the kitchen and doing laundry – chaos ensues if I don’t do those two). Squeeze in the rest of it when you can, and that would include naps for you if your little one isn’t sleeping through yet.

  • Rachel says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post and thank you SO much for sharing!! I plan on reading it again when I have more time (housework calls)… but I thank you for sharing this because every woman deals with this! 🙂
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  • Tara says:

    Oh, I compare myself to the perfect mum ALL the time. Even knowing that she’s non existent. Think I need to pull my mission statement out and read it…EVERY FIVE SECONDS! 🙂

    Thanks for such a timely reminder Kat.

    Sadly, I have a tendency to hold up other mums I know and look at the things they do that I don’t do. And then to make myself feel better, I pull them down. All this goes on in my head, but it is still so sinful. No more.

  • Natalie says:

    Yup, I’ve done it! Who doesn’t? I think it’s especially hard when you are a new mother and you are still finding your way.

    I just created an online mission statement as a result of the encouragement I’ve gotten on your website. Now, I plan on writing a Mother Mission Statement. Thank you!

  • Kim says:

    Have you ever struggled with comparing yourself to “Perfect Mom”?…..YES!!! I have been doing this a lot lately and it has gotten me into a hopeless pit of anxiety, frustration, anger, confusion and the list goes continues. The Lord just showed me last week that I was suffering from hopelessness. I had lost hope that I could change (better myself) and had even subconsciously lost hope that He is doing a good work in me and that HE can change me. And I have so wanted to be ‘perfect mom’. Thankfully the Lord has been showing me so much about my ungodly desires. I have seen that I want to be perfect, it pains me not to be, and that is me leaning on my own works and self-righteousness not HIS PERFECT SACRIFICE! I could go on and on.
    I want to combat the tendency to compare. Unfortunately I struggle with insecurity big time so I really NEED THE LORD TO DO A WORK IN MY LIFE! I know that He can show me who He desires for me to be and He can help me to become that person but I HAVE TO STOP TRYING TO DO IT ALL IN MY OWN STRENGTH. I really don’t think the Lord will move until I lay at His feet and I’m so used to doing and working that it is hard to let go. Anyone who reads this can say a quick prayer for me that I will Lay myself down at His feet and come up a new woman in Him. Thanks! Kim

  • Bethany says:

    I’m adding a “Ditto” to what everyone else has said! I’m a relatively new mom (my son just turned a year old), and lately I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to be that perfect June Cleaver mom that I’ve totally been stressed out and most definitely not a blessing to my son and my husband. The light went on this morning for me. God has a plan for me (just like He has one for every other mom) and that’s the only role I really need to worry about filling. If I keep my sights set on HIM, he’ll take care of the rest…

    Kat, you are a wise woman and I’m so grateful for your blog! I’m off to make my mission statement. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPEAKING FREEDOM INTO OUR LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • […] Motherhood and Identity: Comparison and the List You Need to Tape to Your Forehead – This is great! I love Kat’s practical, witty posts about mothering! […]

  • Monica says:

    When I had newborns and toddlers I would be so frustrated because it seemed that if I was awake…they would wake up and I could never have time alone. Then I realized at this stage–I just had to fit it in as I was going about my day. I love Kat’s idea to Amber–I left my Bible and pray thoughts on the dining room table–and glanced whenever it worked out. I also kept a baby journal there for both kids and wrote down funny things they did as frequently as possible. This became my prayer and journal time…now the kids read those journals and laugh and “hear” my love for them. Never thought God would use it that way… Most of all giving up my need to do Bible time as I had done for 25ish years of my life..and learn to breathe God every moment instead was a very good lesson for me. Pray as you hold the sleeping baby–when you look in awe on what God has created in you and then given to you as a gift to raise…then prayer with fear of the Lord for the wisdom to do it well…reminding yourself that you will need God to walk with you every moment as none of us are the perfect mom.
    BTW–still happens–I get up at 6am this morning…and the darling daughter is already up and very chatty! Trying to love her and then insist on sometime for myself–I trust God that she feels my love and also realizes it is okay to have boundaries.

  • Kristina says:

    WOW- I think you got into my head!! I am amazed and in awe that you have put into words how I have felt ever since I got pregnant (almost 5 years ago). I have such wonderful strong Godly women around me with so many different strengths that I want to “do it all”… I want to be crafty, and bake, and make everything eduactional, and clean, and, well everything! I get so worn out that I have found myself not taking time to just make memories with my daughter! That is what is really important, to me, anyway.
    I also LOVE “The type of mom that our circumstances, strengths and resources ALLOW us to be. ” How true that is. I would be in hog-heaven if I had a gym nearby where I could get fit again, but our circumstances and resources do not allow me this opportunity at this point in our lives. And I am ok with it now, not so much at first,though.
    You are a very talented writer. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts, experience and advice. I cant wait to see what you write next!!
    Can I print this out to re-read again later??

  • VK says:

    I’ve come back to read entry yet again. The first time I stumbled across it — and your blog — via my Google Recommended Sources list the timing couldn’t have been better. I’d just started emerging from a long funk during which an anesthesia-free root canal, frankly, seemed more appealing than yet another long day of motherhood. Your entry reminded me that I’m the only one who can be my kids’ mother, and that God trusted ME with this job for a reason.

    The next morning, my devotional contained the following verse from Isaiah 6:8 — “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!””

    I’ve repeated that verse in my head so many times lately. Crumbs on the floor? Laundry needs to be done? Yet another meltdown hiding a child’s need for Mom’s attention? “Here am I. Send me!”

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I wouldn’t have been open to the meaning of that verse had it not been for your entry. Thank you.
    .-= VK´s last blog ..Former RNC Chairman Helping Companies Go Green =-.

  • Brie says:

    Thank you for this. I so needed it and finally wrote it! It has freed me up so much!
    http://brieericandmaligomez.blogspot.com/2010/07/goallll.html

  • Wendy says:

    Kat,
    Thank you for your post! And to those who link to you, many thanks!!!
    I have some basic questions, I am not one of those who analyze, it kind of has to be spelled out for me. How do I find my strengths? What kind of mission statement can be made now as my kiddos are 19 and 14? I know I have faults and learn from my mistakes and others mistakes, but finding my strengths, and comparrisions are difficult as I feel I judge them and myself more than needed. I don’t think I am too needy in this area, just unsure, unconfident, uneducated.

  • Adrienne says:

    Oh WOW!!! This post really hit me right between the eyes! I really struggle with comparing myself to other Moms and other women. I’ve had conversations with friends about it and I’ve certainly spent time in prayer about this issue.

    Thanks for your ministry through this blog! I was led here today from Passionate Homemaking, which is the only blog that I’ve consistently read for 2 years or so now. I have a hard time reading many “Mom Blogs” because I do find that I compare myself to these super crafty and amazing homeschooling Moms, or working Moms, or whatever Moms. This post really made me think about my issue of “comparison” in another way and I thank you for that!

    Blessings to you! 🙂

  • Uhm. Why am I just seeing this? (I do subscribe to your blog, you know!)

    Beautiful post, Kat. I can’t believe you would ever compare yourself to me. But it IS true—comparison is a hard one. I see so many things that others do that are just SO good. And I simply cannot do them. Thank you for the freedom to be me. This is so freeing even beyond motherhood.
    .-= oh amanda (impress your kids)´s last blog ..Why I Didn’t Have Time To Post Today =-.

  • […] Post :: :: :: Motherhood and Identity by Kat at Inspired to […]

  • Amy says:

    This is SOOOO great! Thank you Kat for taking ACTion and bringing up this topic for us moms to come together in conversation about! I’m fairly new to your blog and have been enjoying everything I’ve read on here so far.

    I think as Christians we also fall victim to comparing ourselves to the Proverbs 31 woman (aka PERFECT WOMAN). Which, when added to the P.M.S. (Perfect Mom Syndrome) makes us cycle in and out of feeling successful vs. feeling like failures all the more.

    Everyone tends to think the Prov 31 woman did all that stuff EVERY DAY when in fact she was human like the rest of us and had unproductive, emotional, you-name-it days too. Instead, we need to remember that Prov 31 was a ‘list’ of qualities Solomon’s mother gave him to help him discern if a woman would be an excellent wife – a list of things that were done most (or some) of the time, with an effort to be growing in consistency, but with ‘bad days’ mixed in. We will have days when we’re exhausted or at the end of our rope and we’ll fail miserably…..at whatever goals we’re striving towards or at even living out our mission statement.

    But that doesn’t mean we should give up at becoming the person God wants us to be – we should always be striving to ‘win the race’ as the Apostle Paul says!

    Be encouraged, sister and thank you, thank you for following His will for you!! 🙂

  • […] Kat from Inspired to Action posted about setting priorities […]

  • Kim says:

    I have met the perfect mother. She and a couple of other perfect ones live in our town. She actually had the gall to come over to my home and tell me she would have to drop our friendship because I wasn’t good enough for her and her family. Oh, she speaks at our state homeschool convention on how to be the perfect mother. As far as I can tell, she really is perfect in doing all the externals. And her husband praises her to the skies and her children seem happy and content. Sigh.

  • Amy says:

    Kim!!

    I can’t believe someone so ‘perfect’ could be so cold-hearted!

    Just an FYI for you…..she is most definitely NOT the perfect mother. What is she teaching her kids by not being friends with someone who’s ‘not good enough’ for her and her family? My guess is, even without knowing either of you, is that SHE’S the one not good enough for you and your family.

    And, I would also guess that her external show of perfection is covering up some internal short-comings, so if you’re the same Kim who posted on July 7th, you can pray for God to do a work in her life too….helping her to trust in Him more and not only in her own ‘strength’ to control everything in her life. (If you’re a different Kim, you can still pray too, I just meant to add to your prayers for yourself – p.s. I’M praying for you too!) 🙂

    Your example of looking to Him to overcome your struggles and trying to continually live through His power is more PERFECT than anything else. Keep strong in your faith and in His mighty power, girl! 🙂

    Amy
    http://worshipwhileiwait.blogspot.com

  • […] Motherhood and Identity – Don’t we all want to be the PERFECT mom? Perhaps that looks different in each family…. […]

  • […] Motherhood and Identity: Comparison {@ inspired to action} […]

  • […] to be JUST! LIKE! THEM! My friend Kat, from Inspired to Action wrote a beautiful blog post called Motherhood & Identity: Comparison and the List You Need To Tape To Your Forehead and it’s about…well, about me. She loves crafty stuff, but she just isn’t crafty. […]

  • Elissa Holt says:

    Thank you so much! I seriously just had this conversation with a friend yesterday, and had been praying about it this morning. Further proof that God is moving, and using YOU to speak to the hearts of moms who just want to follow His call. Blessings!

  • Carol Anne says:

    You hit me where I live. THANKS!

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