I was at a birthday party years ago. I’d joined a group of fellow homeschooling mom’s who were discussing daily activities, curriculums and parenting choices. In the midst of the group was “that ONE mom”. You know the one I mean. She talked of how organized her life was. She shared how many hours she spent with each child pouring over books and games. She condescendingly commented how she would NEVER dream of feeding her child pizza or chicken nuggets. Then it happened…she started asking questions.
At that time in my life, I worked a full time job or two while homeschooling my oldest two daughters and keeping track of a toddler. I made sure to stay actively involved in worship ministry and writing as well because one should never abandon their passions. I was also still stuck in an extremely dysfunctional marriage to an addict and you can imagine the repercussions that had on my already packed schedule and life. I was a BUSY woman! I’d made the choice to enroll my daughters in a web-based homeschooling program where they’d have instructors available to help them in case they needed it and where much of the work was self-guided. It was the best choice for us at that time because I just couldn’t do it all. So, when super mom over there started asking questions about how I maintained our home education program, it wasn’t pretty.
I’ll never forget the look on her face. She asked, “What curriculum do you use?”. I responded with the name of our virtual school program and her grimace was immediate and severe. Her chipper face fell to disdain in an instant. I don’t know why it hit me so hard, the stones she threw with her gaze, but I felt so small I could hug a piece of rice. There I was in a room full of women, seemingly alone. None of them were faced with circumstances as extreme as mine, but I still felt like I was a poor excuse for a wife and a mother. It wasn’t that I wanted to be like the condescending woman snarling at me. It was more that I felt the demand to be more. I was wrecked by my own inner longing to be better.
I didn’t stay long after that. In the safety of the car, I prayed through tears I tried to contain, “God, I’m just not like them.” In that soothing voice I’ve come to love so much, my comforter spoke a simple phrase to my soul. “Come out from among them and be separate.” (2 Corinthians 6:17) God didn’t call me or create me to be like someone else. He gave me THIS life to live according to His plan.
We ladies seem to spend a lot of time on comparisons. I hear it all the time. The stay at home mamas defend their choices to the working mamas hoping others know how challenging it really is to be home raising little ones…hoping to be appreciated. The working mamas come across as condescending to the stay at home moms because they feel they do it ALL. The homeschool mamas criticize the public schoolers. The public school moms think the homeschool mamas are crazy. We want to be skinnier, better homemakers, better cooks, have hair like her, dress like she does. We want success and respect. We want it ALL! The truth we often forget is that we have it all. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3)
If the grass seems greener on the other side, water your yard. Be you! Be the best you imaginable! Rock your you-ness with confidence and grace! There will always be that person whose better than you at something and that’s okay. You are not called to be someone else. You are called to take your gifts and develop them. You are called to greatness and you’ve been given everything necessary to achieve that greatness.
These days, I’m feeling awfully comfortable in my own skin. I’m having a blast homeschooling and I’m a little more hands-on these days. I’m still working a full-time job and running my own business on the side. I’m still busy in ministry and other things. Granted, I’m no longer married to an addict. I’m remarried to the man of my dreams who treats me so well. That helps a lot! But, more importantly, I’ve become confident in who God made me. I’m comfortable in my skin. I’m perfectly fine with the color of my lawn.
Water your own garden with living water and watch how you bloom!