When Everyone Else Seems To Have It All Together

By March 27, 2013General


I say it all the time.

My kids roll their eyes a bit when I say it…makes me feel like I’ve really arrived at this whole mom thing. As if eye rolling were the secret sign that you’re “in.”

But I hope they really believe it when it say it, because it’s something that is true now and will be true when they are my age too.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re THE best, it just matters if you are YOUR best.”

I tell them this when they play sports, participate in the Science Fair or tryout for the school musical.

It sounds so cliche’ but the root of it is a character issue that can serve them well regardless of whether they find themselves in a big pond or a small pond.

I don’t care if they score more points than anyone else on the team, or if they score any points at all. I just care to see them leaving it all on the court. If they are going to do something, I hope they do it with all their heart leaving no time to worry about what anyone else is doing.

If we have time to compare, it’s because we’re not giving our all. We are reserving the time and energy to concern ourselves with those around us.

When it comes to motherhood, it’s so desperately easy to compare. Partly because it’s human nature, but also because moms have no job description or yearly review. There is no one to tell us, “you’re doing your job perfectly.” And yet we long for that.

So we compare.

But it doesn’t really help, does it?

what if we stopped comparing to others and started just comparing to our past selves. “I am more patient this year than I was last year.” “I’m a better housekeeper this year than I was last year.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re THE best, it just matters if you are YOUR best.”

Do you struggle with comparison too? How do you fight it? Click here to join the discussion!

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  • Nicole says:

    Loved it so much I quoted you on facebook. What a great encouragement.

  • Shawna says:

    I struggle constantly with all of the above… I have this picture (not a utopia or one of perfection) of how I want my life and myself to be, but that requires energy to do. When my children were babies, I thought “when they get out of diapers, etc., I’ll feel better and not as stressed”, then it was “when they become more self sufficient”, and now? Well, my children are ages 10,15, and 18, AND I’M STILL TIRED!! And I look around and see this person and that person and they seem to have it all together…. so the only conclusion I keep coming up with is that there is something wrong with me…. I have all these ideas to “implement” to make my life and myself better, but like I said they would require energy to do… which I never have any…it’s a vicious cycle. So, I continue to look at others and say, “I wish….”

  • Ashlee says:

    I used to compare myself all the time with other moms, mostly as a way to judge how I was doing as a mom. I still struggle; but not as bad after having a light bulb moment when I was talking about it with an older, wiser friend. She told me to look at my (and everyone else’s) capabilities as a wife/homemaker/mom like a plate. Everyone has a different size; some have a large serving platter, some have a small dessert plate. For example, someone’s “plate” may be full with one activity per week, and others can handle 5 or 6. The times in my life that have been the most stressful are the times when my plate was overflowing with things I was trying to pile on my plate so I could “keep up” with some one else, or impress someone. So when I feel tempted to compare myself with another mom who seems to have it all together, I remind myself that she just has a larger plate than I do, and that’s okay; because God gave me the perfect sized plate for me. 🙂

    • Ashlee – thank you so much for sharing this example. It makes perfect sense and I love it. I am going to remember this and remind myself, and my momma friends, of this when I/we start to slip into the comparison trap!!

  • Michelle L. says:

    I love Lysa TerkHeurst’s idea about comparing myself with others: She tells herself, “God has equipped me for the life I have. I am not equipped to handle the good in HER life… or the bad.” Another thing to keep in mind, though, Kat…. with us and with our children…not everything is worth “leaving it all on the court” for. Housework, for instance…. not going to “give it my all” every week. Closets and garages? Nah… there’s too much other good stuff to do!

    • Emily says:

      Nice point, Michelle – that we should choose what we give our all to, insightful indeed, thanks for sharing! And I like that quote by Lysa, do you still have the link to that article you’re talking about?

      • Michelle L. says:

        Lysa T. talks about comparison (and what she calls “inside chatter”) in her new book Unglued, which I highly recommend! She also discusses it in Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl. Anything she writes is strong!

  • Marti says:

    I had an epiphany one day about the Tortoise and the Hare. I’ve always been a “Hare” kind of mom – wanting to go fast, fix it now, be amazing NOW. But I realized that it was the Tortoise who won, and that’s the kind of mom I strive to be now – slowly, steadily chipping away at the goals I set and at becoming who I want to be. It is so, SO much more sustainable, and then if I “miss” a day I don’t feel so bad, I just get up and chip away at it again the next day. I compare less because thinking about the Tortoise helps me stay focused on my own motherhood and disciple goals instead of looking around at what others are doing.

  • Ruth says:

    This post spoke to me, especially this two lines: “If we have time to compare, it’s because we’re not giving our all. We are reserving the time and energy to concern ourselves with those around us.”

    I used to compare myself to others alot. Then I realise it’s just a waste of energy as more often than not, I ended up feeling lousy. So I stopped and decide to focus on appreciating my own uniqueness and being thankful for all that I have been blessed with. I found that a heart of gratitude is a pretty good cure for “comparisonitis”.

  • Lynette says:

    Such wise words. I listened to your podcast on Homefries with Tsh where you discussed this. This ethos and attitude offers such hope for our children (and for us Mums). I have struggled with a huge tendency to compare over the years and still do to a certain degree. Was it you who also posted “Don’t live in the Motherhood box of someone else’s gifts. Be the Mom God intended you to be.”? Which ties in nicely with this as well.

  • Joyce says:

    It definitely is easy to get trapped in that comparison game. I’ve been learning that it doesn’t help anyone to play that game. I do oftentimes remind other moms that if they are doing their best, their kids know it, and it is their best.

  • Colleen says:

    Loved the quote. It is so easy to get hooked into the comparison game. When we do we need to remember that we compare someone’s best with our worst and we don’t ever see the whole picture. I heard this quote ‘Stop trying to apply for my job it is already taken. We have all been created for a specific job. You can read more at http://sortedlife.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/i-am-enough.html

  • Renee says:

    Oh that compassion game, there will be always someone better then us, someone that will makes us feel like a failure, but at the same time, will are better then others, and are making them feel insecure.

    it’s a vicious cycle.

    Why do we need to compare ourselves? to makes us feel better or to put someone down, of even to put ourselves down, why?

    Shouldn’t we truly believe that God is gracious with us, why are we harsher with us, then He is? Do we think that by doing this we can gain His favor, because there is nothing we can do to make Him love us more, and there is nothing we can do that can make him love us less…. and the same goes with our families, they love us because we love them, this love if reflecting His is full of grace and forgiveness and freedom!

  • Lindsay says:

    It’s terribly hard to not compare. My reminder has become to measure myself my God’s standards and live in his grace instead of using the measuring sticks of this world. This is often easier said than done, but reminders in posts like this help bring it back to me. Thanks!