The Abyss of Comparison--Reflections on Mothering, Part 2

me and girls at game.jpeg

Never in my life had I compared myself to other women the way I began to when I became a mama. Comparison is perhaps the most insidious joy-killer, peace-killer and hope-killer that I have ever encountered.  It invades my soul, the center of who I am, by beckoning me to question my identity and my worth as the beloved daughter of God, created by Him and for Him in a very distinct and holy way.  I am set apart, not to be lined up against other mothers, other women, but to inhabit my own space.   So are you.

Early in my mothering I read something that resonated with me, “The author Lynn Andrews once wrote that there are two kinds of mothers:  Earth Mothers and Creative Rainbow Mothers.  Earth Mothers nurture their children and feed them—and they thrive on this.  Our society rewards this kind of woman as the “good mother.”  Creative Rainbow Mothers, on the other hand, inspire their children without necessarily having meals on the table on time…” –Christiane Northrup, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

I most definitely know that there are more than two kinds of mothers, but this quote helped me embrace the fact that I was different from my mother and that was okay.

My mother nurtures through serving.  One of my most cherished memories is how she would wake me up during my high school years.  She would come into my room and get under my covers with me and give me a massage, inviting me to a new day with so much love and comfort.  I can’t help but think of the myriad of ways that her love gave me such a powerful awareness that I belonged. She loved us by serving us, seeing what we needed before we ever realized it and giving it to us.  She delighted in this.  She was made like this.  The tasks of motherhood did not appear to exhaust her since she loves to be active, busy, productive. She continues to love us this way, and it is wonderful to be cared for by her.  I feel constantly spoiled by the way she loves me and my children.  She is the gift that keeps on giving.

I am profoundly shaped by my mother’s love, and like her, I climb into bed with my babies quite regularly, but I am different than her in most other ways.  I had to let go of the belief that I needed to be like her in order to be a good mother. We each must insist on finding our own rhythm in the dance of mothering.  We each have different gifts, different experiences, different values, different styles, and we must stop comparing ourselves to other women, but instead, be fully ourselves and mother from that place. I mother in a way that is unique to me.  I don’t do it like her or like other moms.  Neither do you.  And that is okay.

The enemy of our souls wants to steal, kill and destroy.  He wants to keep us from relishing in who God created us to be, imagining that we should be something, someone different, despising not only our weaknesses, but also our gifts, wishing we had others. 

This doesn’t mean that we are not inspired by other women.  We can see something that awakens us and shows us who we really are, and we move into that because we have seen it modeled by another mama.  But we must refuse to compare ourselves.  We just have to stop.

Over Mother’s Day weekend, my husband told me that he asked one of my girls what she most appreciates about me.  Her answer was simple:  Hugs and advice.  That pretty much sums me up.  I love to snuggle and I love to tell you what I know in hopes that it will transform your life!  This is the gift I give my daughters.  Yes, I do their laundry, cook their meals, clean up after them, drive them everywhere, help with homework, pay bills, pack lunches, do dishes over and over and over again. 

But what they appreciate most about me is the gift of who I really am—a hugging advice giver.  I imagine I will be doing this until the day I die.

What would happen if, from this moment on, you REFUSED to compare yourself, but rather lived into these great words:

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.  Galatians 6:4-5 The Message

Let’s jump out of the abyss of comparison where there is darkness and not enough-ness and shame.  Let’s jump into the light of freedom, where we see ourselves reflected in the eyes of our Creator as He sees what He has made in us and whispers…it is good!

Love, Christy

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