FINDING YOUR JOY

A couple of weeks ago my sister shared her interview of me on her wonderful blog, and I talked a bit about my messy life. Then last week at my MOMS group, we were treated to an amazing speaker who shared about her messy life, and why it is important for us mamas to curb the mommy comparisons. Then I came across miss Glennon Doyle Melton’s post, “Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me” and I was all in. (We would obviously be BFF’s if we knew each other.) All these thoughts have been running through my mind and keeping me up at night, so I have to write them down and share. I promised to be authentic on this blog, so here it is.

When my sister asked me to be featured as one of her “Fabulous Organized Friends”, my response was, “as long as you are ok with a little lying!” She insisted that there is just too much fake in the blog world, and she didn’t want me to lie at all, but share truth. So I did.
And it felt good.

So why do we look around at each other constantly, and compare ourselves to our peers? Why are we not okay with who we are? Why do we let others set the standard for what our motherhood experience should look like?

I was the emcee for my MOMS group the day we talked about the mommy comparison game, and in true Haley fashion, I was unprepared. You see, we are encouraged to share a story or something related to the topic before we bring the guest speaker on stage. So as I prepared on the drive to my MOMS group, I started thinking about comparison. I thought about my friends, neighbors, my own mother – all the people I am constantly comparing myself to in my mind. But I kept thinking about my sisters. How they are completely amazing, and entirely different. And how I am so different from them. And how I often feel like I am falling short as I watch them find their success and be such good mothers.

Then I also thought about how we spend so much time thinking about ourselves, how we stack up to others, but how others rarely are actually judging us, because they are probably too busy thinking about themselves too! As I said in my interview with Morgan,
“Comparison is the thief of joy, and we are often our own worst enemies.”

Comparison is the thief of joy

My oldest sister Morgan, is a typical type-A first-born. She is driven, highly functioning and a goal setter. Among raising three kids, moving her family across the world, teaching all kinds of exercise classes and personal training, growing an amazing blog – she is entirely organized. Her house is clean, contained and labeled, and runs smoothly. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. She has always been fit and takes good care of herself. I remember hearing how she walked out of the hospital after delivering her first-born in her regular jeans. Yes you read that right, let that set in people. She has her weekly meals planned – and not just dinner, even breakfast you guys. She accomplishes much, and isn’t in your face about it, it’s just part of who she is. She is kind and sweet and beautiful.

My other older sister, the middle child of us girls, is Harmony. Harmony is the creative genius of the family, and is not only talented creatively but so good at running a business. She left her corporate clothing designing job years ago to start an interior design business and it has taken off. Like she signed with HGTV and I heard something about a photo shoot with Better Homes & Gardens. Professional photographers come photograph her family in their AMAZING kitchen for magazine spreads while they sip on lattes. And it’s not a facade, she lives in beauty around her from her amazingly decorated house to a gorgeous garden the to furniture she makes. She is a mama too, just had her second child and is so stinking calm whenever I talk to her. I am waiting for her freak out like I always was with a newborn but I’m starting to think it may never happen. She makes her own butter people. People are drawn to her, and they always have been.

So as I thought about how truly amazing my siblings are, I starting to think,
what do I really do?” I am all over the place, and messy, and not artistic or particularly successful, and I certainly don’t make my pasta from scratch.

Then I was hit in the face with this as I listened to the speaker at my MOMS group:
“Comparing yourself to others is like telling God you’d rather be a knock off than one of a kind.”

comparing yourself

Wow.

And it started to sink in. I believe that my sisters, and myself, are living our lives as God intended us to. As he designed us. That we are the perfect moms for our kids, and part of His perfect design. We don’t need to look like one another, our lives don’t have to mirror anyone.    We are enough. 

It’s so encouraging, isn’t it? I know there are a lot of things I’m not good at. The short list is being organized, cleaning regularly, being calm, staying in touch with people. But I also know that I am very good at some things.

So if you are reading this, we’re not going to play the game where we start looking around and beating ourselves up anymore because our Tupperware drawers are a mess or we didn’t finish college. We are going to remember that every time we put ourselves down and compare ourselves to others, we are moving closer to a knock off, and trashing an original.

Now that’s not to say that we can’t strive to be better. Sometimes I know God is reminding me that my job right now is to serve my family and my community, and I need to put my whole heart into it which may mean having a plan for dinner and not swearing in front of my kids. But we cannot lose the essence of who we really are.

So what do I really do? What do I do well? Can you come up with three things?

I ask you to comment below and tell me three things that you do well. Anything.
You can do it. Don’t think about it too much.

Mine are:

I am good at comforting my kids. I think they are comfortable showing affection because we are touchy feely.

I think I am good at routine. I am not rigid by any means but my kids know what to expect.

I am an encourager.

There, that wasn’t so hard.

Now go on, and be an original.

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4 comments

  1. Haley, this is such a thought provoking and wonderful post! We have all been there, where we have compared ourselves, our lives, our kids, and our choices to our friends, family members…even strangers. It’s so hard not to, but you are so right, we are always harder on ourselves and are our own worst enemies. Three things I am good at it? Why is it so tough? I can easily rattle off 10 things I am NOT good at but I’ll spare you and your readers. Here goes nothing…

    1) I love my friends fiercely. Their happy moments bring me joy and their hurts/losses break my heart. That sounds super soul-sisterish, but that’s the best way I can describe it. Maybe because I am an only child but my friends have always been very important to me and as close to me as family.
    2) I am good at recognizing talent/positive attributes in others. I could write all my close friends a killer cover letter/resume.
    3) I am compassionate and caring.

    1. Yes! Cynthia, I agree with all of those things about you – and can speak from first hand experience about how much you love your friends (and how much we love you!!)!

  2. I love this post, Haley! So beautifully written! The topic is so timely – the pastor at our church just gave an awesome message last week about being content with who we are and not constantly comparing ourselves to others, and it’s been on my mind nonstop since then! It’s so nice (and such a relief) to just accept who you are and be grateful for what you have!

    It is really hard to write three thing that I am good at without blushing (why do we have such a hard time praising ourselves?)! But, if you are really going to insist, here are my three:
    1. I am patient
    2. I have the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
    3. I am good at seeing things from other people’s point of view and respecting people’s opinions that differ from my own

    Phew!!! I’m glad that’s over;)!

    You are awesome, Haley!

    1. I agree with all those things Danielle! You are the perfect person to have two boys and a girl, and handle being a military wife with such ease. I would freak with all those moves but your attitude is one that is patient and up for adventure. One of the reasons I love you!

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