My sweet friend, Jill Savage, is rounding out the 4-week series I’m doing to answer a question so many moms are asking…am I messing up my kids? (If you missed any previous posts, simply click the link: week 1, week 2, week 3.) I’m excited to share with you all that God has placed on her heart about the pressure of perfection we sometimes feel as moms. Here’s Jill…
The phone rang in the chaos of the “after school…almost dinner-time” hour. I was making a dinner salad (translated: I poured a bag of lettuce into a pretty glass bowl and threw some cherry tomatoes on for color!), helping two kids with their homework, and trying to keep my 4-year-old busy enough to not whine for dinner.
I grabbed the phone and shoved it between my ear and my shoulder answering with a quick, “Hello, this is Jill!” The voice on the other end of the line was obviously emotional. “Moooooom, this is Erica. Did you forget me?”
I quickly did a head count…one, two, three…four…oh my. Erica’s not here…I thought all my chicks were in the nest, but there was one at basketball practice and it completely slipped my mind that she wasn’t home and I needed to pick her up!
I couldn’t lie. “Erica, I am so sorry!” I apologized. “I completely forgot to pick you up. I will be right there!”
The sniffling on the other end of the phone made my guilt run deeper. How could I forget my own child? What kind of mom does something like that? How will she ever forgive me?
If we’re honest with one another, we all have stories like that to share. There are no perfect moms.
Like most moms, I entered the motherhood scene wanting to be the perfect mom. I read. I prepared. I planned. I dreamed. I determined to be intentional about everything I did from choosing the right kind of laundry detergent that would be best for their skin to choosing the right school that would be best for their education. I was going to be supermom. I would do it all and do it all well. Then life happened.
Someone once said, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Looking back on that scene now, 11 years later, I have a valuable perspective that I didn’t have then. My now 22-year-old daughter isn’t emotionally scarred because I forgot her at basketball practice. She’s a well-adjusted young adult—a mom herself, who has a great story to tell especially when she wants to get a little sympathy or a good laugh at family gatherings.
You know what? My pursuit of being the “perfect mom” set me up for failure from day one. There are no perfect moms; just imperfect women who will fall off the pedestal of their own expectations more often than they care to admit. We’re all subject to what I’ve dubbed the “Perfection Infection.”
A good friend once told me, “Jill, never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” She shared that wisdom when she heard me unconsciously compare myself to another mom after one of my many failures. That powerful statement still sticks with me. I now realize that most moms play the comparison game dozens of times every day.
We constantly look to see how we measure up to those around us. For most of us…we don’t measure up. But how can we? We compare ourselves to something that doesn’t exist. We compare our messy insides—our struggles, our failures, our less-than-perfect lives– to other women’s carefully cleaned up, perfect-looking outsides at church, on Facebook, at the library, at work, and just about anywhere we run into another mom. It’s a game we play that we’ll never ever win.
I believe it’s time to stop. Stop the mommy wars. Stop comparing our insides to other moms’ outsides. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop thinking that others are better or better off than we are. We tell our kids to knock it off when their behavior has crossed a line and I believe it’s time that we moms knock it off, too!
God’s Truth confirms this in Galatians 5:26. I personally love how it reads in The Message,
“That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”
I’m driving a stake in the ground and saying “No more!” Want to join me? You can take a first step by signing the Knock It Off Commitment.
I’m also offering some fun giveaways today! Five commenters will be chosen to win a copy of my book, No More Perfect Moms, and one commenter will be chosen to win two registrations for the Hearts at Home Conference – one for you and one for a friend. (If you don’t happen to live in the conference area, you’ll still receive a Conference-To-Go which includes all aspects of the conference in a CD or MP3 format!)
Together, we can tackle the Perfection Infection and stop making unfair judgments and comparisons that don’t do any of us any good. Think about it: you and I can begin to change the world for our sons and daughters starting today. I’m ready. Are you?