It was a normal Tuesday in the life of a stay-at-home mom. (It's always a Tuesday, isn't it?!) I still needed extra coffee to get me through the "Monday off from school hangover" and to tackle that huge pile of laundry, but I was optimistic for a good week.
I joke often at my own expense in regards to my #mediocremothering but in all reality, I actually do a great job with my little cubs. I'm an overachiever and hold the bar pretty high for myself. Which oftentimes leaves room for feeling inadequate. Overall though, on this given Tuesday morning, I felt pretty good in my own skin. The switch happened after my session at the gym, which usually leaves me feeling like I'm walking on clouds, and not just because I can't feel my legs.
Like any mom can relate, getting out the door and to the gym is a victory all in itself. I'm new to being into fitness, but I'm naturally able to pick up the movements and am feeling stronger and more resilient as I increase my endurance each week. Back in my driveway, before starting my 20-minute drive to boot camp, I had sent a few business emails and updated some files in our business app. Bottom line, I felt accomplished, secure, and strong driving in my Mom Mobile.
Before I headed inside upon reaching my destination, I whipped out my phone and scrolled through social media. I saw a friend launching a new business. Gosh, the website looked pretty beautiful and professional. Another profile showed a stay-at-home mom turned Fitness Coach who seems to be making lots of her own money while working from home. I scrolled a bit more to see a selfie of a mom whose skin is flawless and outfit was so dang cute. Wish I could pull that off. Good feelings fading...
I jump out of my car and push through my workout, sweating enough to drown a killer whale. I notice the girls my age around me. They run faster, they don't modify the moves, there is way more weight on their bars than mine, and if my body looked anything like theirs in these skin tight workout pants, I wouldn't be the only one in this class with a jacket tied around her waist.
The car ride back home felt a lot different than the one just an hour before. I began my day on track for a great week. Sure, there were mundane tasks and a to-do list that always overwhelms me, but I felt accomplished and driven enough to meet the challenge. Before, I was proud of how I have been consistently making time for myself at the gym. Even if that means being the only one out of 20 in the class to push my toddler onto the gym floor in a stroller and leave her strapped in, within eyes' reach watching cartoons on Netflix with a bag full of snacks to keep her entertained, so I only have to stop four or five times during my workout to comfort her. I was confident in my purpose to be a stay-at-home mom and my ability to mother and how I looked and felt. The difference between the two car rides? Comparison.
I've written before here on The Chase about my struggle with comparing the woman I actually am to the women I want to be. However, nothing kills my joy more than the internal battle I have against myself, than the trickery that comparing myself to other women does. I can't even count how many days have mimicked the one I just described above. A day that "the Lord has made" for me to live "in purpose, on purpose, and for a purpose," only be to crushed by the thief of comparison.
When I see that friend's website, or that Facebook post about a mom's success, or watch other moms drop off their kids to go thrive in their careers, I just want to shut off the light God's given me. That particular Tuesday, I called my husband (poor guy, I always call him in mid-crisis) and I asked him, "What am I doing? What value do I even add to the world? Why am I so afraid of succeeding? Why don't I look like them and accomplish what they accomplish? I am wasting my purpose and my talent to be mediocre."
While some of that is true, I certainly have some untapped potential that I just need to start on (helllllooooo book deal!), the truth is that I am accomplishing just what God has in store for me at this moment. My success won't look like hers (and neither will my stomach) because her journey isn't mine. I take the leap from good enough to lacking when I allow envy to suffocate my gratitude.
How many of us as women live this way? I know for a fact that I am surrounded by amazing, beautiful, talented, successful, impactful women in my life that deflect any type of compliment I try to give them. I watch my friends (as well as myself) covet each other's hair, weight, home decor, freedom, talents, and families all the while forgetting what we hold in our own back pockets. I don't know how we are supposed to reach our God-given potential as women when we are allowing the devil to shovel more dirt on top of us in the form of not enough, guilt, and comparison. I will never pull it all together like "she" does. God doesn't want it that way, anyway. He's weaved me together intentionally to do what it is He has planned for my mission. Perhaps I'm always late so He can show other women that nobody is perfect (:wink:run with it #humblewithalittlebitofkanye). Maybe you feel like I do sometimes while you're wiping butts or sweeping up crumbs, thinking your purpose doesn't look as sparkly as hers does in the pant suit and high heels, but God sees the brilliant sparkle in each of us.
It's not easy to stay in your lane and run your race with blinders on. I get it. Two minutes on social media takes me from a solid 8 to a measly 2 in no time flat. But I couldn't help but think of this connection while watching my husband coach our son's flag football team. When the player on offense has the ball and is running towards the end zone to score a touchdown, he has to look forward. When the little blonde boy with the ball is surrounded by the other players reaching for his flag, his instinct is to turn his head around and look how close they are, to pay attention to how far ahead he is and where he falls in comparison. The funny thing that happens though? He slows down! He starts to second guess himself! And the crowd and the coach yells, "DON'T LOOK BACK! EYES UP!" Here's my advice to us all as women today. In the race of womanhood, motherhood, wifehood, and heck, just life...DON'T LOOK BACK! EYES UP! Keep your eyes on God and the purpose He has for you, the purpose He has in you...just as you are.
This is Candace. She hates long walks on the beach and would prefer a short drive to get a doughnut. Her creative spirit leaves her husband constantly guessing which room she'll decorate next and her kids requesting elaborate birthday parties. She'll tell you the truth, even if you don't want to hear it. But don't worry, she'll make you laugh to soften the blow. Her heart longs to share the realness of her life and provide someone else a "me too" in a moment of isolation. Words are her thing; she writes to heal. God grasped a hold of Candace as a teenage mama, and she's been desperate for His love and sensitive to His voice everyday since.