Musings of comparisons

I had a great talk with a friend yesterday. She and her kiddos came over to play (I just have to add how wonderful this friend and her family are and what a blessing they have become in my life). Anyway, we started talking about comparing ourselves...we see our kids do it, and we do it ourselves. It is so hard not to really.

The conversation started about her 3 year old who has a frienemey (totally probably spelling that wrong LOL) relationship with one of her friends.There is an underlying current of competition mixed with maybe some jealousy between the two of them. After, I mentioned how A had come home from art class the other day and asked me "Will I ever draw as well as L" L is my friend's other daughter and A's good friend..she is about to turn 8. I reminded A that L was 3 years older than her, and has had a lot more time to practice, as well as reassured her that she is a great artist. She really is, not bragging here, but she definitely has some talent. Well while we were making tundra muffins the other day (remember those yummy things...there are only 2 left now :( ) A was coloring a picture, and she looked at me when she finished and said "Is it as good as L does?" I was taken aback as I thought we were over this. I told her that it was a great picture, but I wasn't comparing it to L's. When she persisted I told her I had never seen a picture L had color, just her drawings. A of course then had the brilliant idea to call L's mom and ask her to bring one of L's colored pictures over to compare. Of course that was vetoed by mommy right away, and we sat down and had a talk. A talk about how we are all special, different, unique and have our own talents. How she should be proud of the work she does, no matter what anyone else is doing.

When I shared this with my friend she laughed and told me L had been comparing herself to A just the other day. That she had looked at her math and said "I bet A could do this better than me. A's really good at math and she is younger than me" And they had the same talk.

I am guilty of comparing myself the mom's I see running around town always looking so put together with a smile on their face,beautifully dressed kids in tow, and to the mom's in blog world who always seemed to be the perfect model of peaceful yelling, no fussing, fresh bread baking, happy smiling kids, you know what I mean. I don't just blog, I read blogs, and while I love them, well at times they can make one feel pretty bad about themselves. I want to be one of those mom that never loses her patience ( nope not me, totally lost it yesterday when A messed around and basically wasted her swim lesson), one who gets up early and has the house cleaned and organized so that the days starts with a home-cooked breakfast, (again, not me. I like my morning sleep way to much and just can't seem to get going so we eat toast or ceral, maybe a muffin if I've made them), one who has time to do all the wonderful projects and handcrafts with my daughter that I have floating around in my head (Again...not me. I am always running out of time)...but then the realization hits me. Every mom loses her temper, they just don't post the pictures of that or talk about it on their blogs. No one's life is what it looks like on their blog. There are moments-yes, but what we see on a blog, on facebook, walking through a store, all of that is just a snipets of their life. Of a life full of the chaos that having kids brings, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The beautiful moments get captured and posted, just like on this blog, the rest we let settle into the dust of the day and sometimes wish we could sweep it up with the rest of the dirt. LOL. I am guilty of it too. I post the good, the beautiful, and try to let the bad get swept up with the dust, and really their is nothing wrong with that. We all want to make our best impression. Put our best out their for the world to see.

So when we realize this, that no ones life is what it appears, is this the first step to being more content with ours? It has been for me. But what about our kids? How do we instill this knowledge in them. It is human nature to compare, but how do we teach what it takes adults so long to learn, if they ever do? Or is just something our children have to navigate for themselves? What do you think?


Megan said…
great post, but I have no advice :-) sometimes I see that a kid my daughters age is reading or spelling and I start to compare. Or I have a friend with a son close in age and I will ask her is he inventing spelling yet? Not sure were really comparing them. Maybe just talking? I don't know. A lot of parents want their kids to be the best and unfortunately I think they pass that on. Its not that bad to want to be the best I guess and I don't think competition is all that bad. I was crazy competitive as a child (sports). The only thing I guess that I would say is negative is when parents push and yell at their kids or force them to do something they do not want to do (I'm thinking of the cuckoo gymnastics moms I watch sometimes). As far as kids comparing themselves I guess I would just say that everyone is great at different things.....???
Amanda said…
Yes, I agree competitiveness isn't bad per se... just the comparing of ourselves to others to where we don't see what we have for the wishing we have something elseness LOL...yep, new word invented there.

Just have to add that I love your blog, your kiddos are just adorable!
Kestrel said…
I found your blog through Mystical Kingdom an I love this first post I read. Many of my real life mama friends and I who also blog have this self same reaction to the lovely perfect life blogs we read and we've been each choosing to write about the trials as well as the fun. Thank you for your honesty. I'm very much looking forward to following your lives from all the way down here in Tasmania, Australia.