Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Uniquely, Wonderfully You

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of hanging out with some pretty stellar women. We got in to a discussion about comparison. It started out as a talk about sibling comparison and how it can be difficult to grow up in the shadow of a high achieving older sibling. Then the conversation morphed into a discussion about how moms so easily jump to comparing themselves with other moms.

I joked that there are a million ways to feel inadequate when you are a mom in a room full of other moms, but its true. When your kids are babies your confidence is slowly chipped away by hearing about infants who emerge from the womb potty trained, sleeping through the night and with a grade seven reading level. Then your kids go to school and every project they do and test score they get are a direct reflection of your parenting skills and intelligence level. And this comparison game doesn't stop just because your kids are grown.

When your kids hit the teenage years your ability to instill morals and an open line of communication is put to the test; why does my teen just grunt when I ask how his day was and Janet's son confides his deepest secrets and dreams to her? Then with adult children its the whole education-career-marriage-family measuring stick that trips us up every time.

Aside from our skill as mothers, we compare how we measure up as wives, career women, volunteers, cooks, homemakers, crafters, readers, athletes and philanthropists. It seems like no matter where we go or who we're with, that old comparison trap is sitting there, jaws open, teeth sharpened, waiting for us to walk right into it ... and we do, time and again.

Occasionally, well meaning, kind hearted readers and friends will comment on what a super mom I am or wonder at how I do it all. Although they mean to pay me a compliment, I cringe. I am not a super mom nor do I 'do it all'. I do the things I like to do as well as I can and I get by with the rest. There are things that I am good at, and even a few things that I excel at but there is a lot that I don't do well and that's okay.

I learned a while back that if I spend all my time trying to be an imitation of someone else, I will miss out on all the things that are wonderful about me. Each one of us has unique strengths, wisdom and talents that are ours to enjoy, to share. We are each gifted with the responsibility to be the best 'us' that we can be, not the best copy of someone else. There are moments, circumstances and people that only we can make a difference to, if we are being genuinely ourselves. Don't discount that.

Don't downplay your strengths or minimize your gifts. Don't diminish yourself because you think the light from someone else is brighter. Don't underestimate your own magnificence for you, YOU are a spectacular being with a great big life to live and a heart full of love to give. You are the only one who can live your life the way it was meant to be lived.


Just as you are.

So there.

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.

~Judy Garland

1 comment:

Tara said...

I really needed this today. Thank you. I'm the same way. I have a friend who keeps insisting that I'm so inspiring because I adopted a special needs child. It's a lot of pressure. I adopted because I wanted a child. That's it. I'm human, I make mistakes. I'm not supermom all day every day. Sometimes, I feel like a terrible mom. I'm just me, nothing more, nothing less.