Friday, September 16, 2011

A Playground Comparison


It was a beautiful day--pristine blue skies, warm sunshine, and enough "chill" in the air to make me think of pumpkin bread, apple cinnamon tea, and my autumn wreath that's buried somewhere in my basement's storage closet.  I knew it was a perfect day to take Ms. Lilly and the Cam Man to the playground near our house.

When we got to Millrace park, there were only two children on the playground;  handsome boys (perhaps a little younger than Lilly) chasing each other around the jungle gym.  They were adorable brothers--polo shirts tucked into little khaki shorts, hair parted and gelled.  The older of the two flashed dimples when he smiled, dreamy enough to melt any woman's heart.

As I pushed Cam on the swing, I couldn't help but watch their mother from behind my dark sunglasses.  She was lovely, with a sprinkling of tan freckles across the bridge of her nose.  I watched as she chased the two boys through the wood chips, then scooped them into her arms with gusto.  When her boys began to crawl through the playground's yellow tunnel, she became the "monster" at the end of it--waiting with her "tickle claws" to snatch them from their plastic sanctuary.  They would scream as she tried to snatch, snatch, snatch.  And when she let them go free, they would take off running and giggling hysterically.  She would emerge from behind the tunnel--red faced and laughing. 

Her eyes sparkled when she looked at her boys.  She was luminous--radiating love from her pretty, pearly-white smile.  She was not only filled with an obvious joy for her calling as a mother--clearly embracing it on the small playground, on a September afternoon--she was joy.

And then I did something bad.  I compared myself to her.     

My playground excursion had been quite different from hers.  I had chased away bees, that were chasing after Cam!  I had picked wood chips out of Lilly's teeth (literally!) after she fell from a slide's ladder.  (Right on her head!)  Cam spilled his chocolate milk all over himself (and ME!), and I didn't have ONE napkin on hand!  (How is that even possible?  I'm a mom!  And no, old receipts found in the bottom of your purse DO NOT work as napkins!)  I wondered if I was having as much fun at the playground as the other mom was.

"Clearly, she must be a better mother than I am," I thought to myself.

AAAH!  Why do we do that?  As mothers?  As women?  Why do we compare ourselves to each other?  Nothing good comes from it.  More often than not, discouragement, anger, and/or sadness follows such comparative thoughts.

In her book, "A Quiet Heart," Patricia Holland writes:  "Surely there has not been another time in history in which women have questioned their self-worth as harshly and critically as in the second half of the twentieth-century.  Many women are searching almost frantically for a sense of personal purpose and meaning."  How true!  And yet, we frequently forget that a great deal of "meaning" resides deeply within each one of us.  We are inherently holy.  We are literally divine.  Rather than compare, we should rejoice over all that is good in us.  (I mean, I DID chase those bees away!)

Patricia Holland goes on to say, "We must not feel so frightened; we must not be so threatened and insecure; we must not need to find exact replicas of ourselves in order to feel validated as women of worth."  And that's the point...we ARE women of worth already.  Undeniably.  Equally.  On a good "playground day," or a hectic one.

In God's eyes, our worth is so great it cannot be measured.  When we know that, we begin to see each other as we really are.  We are sisters in womanhood.  We are mothers on the playground.  We are women in the world.  We are all in this together.

(Me and my leetle sis.)

25 comments:

  1. New follower from Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop!!! Please follow back!!!! =D

    http://corabeth27.blogspot.com/

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  2. It’s Friday! Woo Hoo! I’m a new follower from “Stalk/Hop Friday”. I sure would like it if you stopped by and followed me back http://mavesfaves.blogspot.com/. Enjoy your weekend.

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  3. Oh, my friend, what a timely post! I do this way to often, and always wonder why! But your closing words are beautiful. I will come back and read this often. Or maybe I'll just print it out. ;-) Your an awesome writer! Thanks, again!

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  4. Comparing myself to others ... something I'm horrible at but am working on not doing! It's hard!! I have to ask ... is that the other playground mama in the picture with you?? If so, wow you have guts to go ask :D

    Following you back from So Followed Saturday!!

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  5. I was hoping for the "rip the pinafores out" moment ;) SO SO SO glad I "made" you read this haha but if you're going to "compare" yourself, Sheri Dew is next on your list and her deadly three C's. Read up sister.

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  6. Your writing sucked me in! And I'm sure you're a perfectly wonderful Mom. I can tell because you cared enough to compare.
    Found you thru the Lots of Lovin Weekend Hop.
    http://www.digistitchesspotlight.com
    OR
    http://www.theparrotpage.com

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  7. Was on the hoppin weekend blog hop and saw your name again! I see you on just about every blog hop I participate in. Loved the blog post it is so true we so easily compare our selves with other woman. I think we do this way more than males do. However there comes a point and time in our lives when we begin to appreciate the special person God created us to be. Even though we back slide sometimes.

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  8. I’m enjoying getting to meet other bloggers via Stalk Remix All Weekend Blog Hop. I followed you on FB and GFC. Please visit me too if you have time, thanks!

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  9. I think we are all victim of comparing ourselves to others. We just need to remind ourselves that we are different, our scenarios are different, we are all good mommies, we love our children and they love us! =0)

    I am a new follower! gotomommy.blogspot.com

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  10. Hopping along on Saturday...Follow back please @ http://www.pargasjunkyard.wordpress.com and on facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/PargasJunkyard ! Join our Wacky Weekend Hop! Check the blog to link up!

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  11. this is such a perfect post. i am struggling with all the other moms i see my son going to preschool with already. i need to NOT COMPARE myself! i love this, and it's such a sweet and gentle reminder. xoxoxooxoxoxoxox

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  12. What a great post!! I find it hard not to compare myself to others but I also try to remember that one glimpse into a seemingly perfect stranger's life does not mean everything is always perfect in their world - I just caught them in a "picture perfect" moment... if that makes sense.

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  13. Hello and congratulations on this wonderful and touching post. I'm a new follower from the smile saturday blog hop.
    Come by and share this beautiful smile in my blog too.
    Grace

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  14. I love this... and I really needed to read something like this today. I've been doing too much comparing lately :(

    Stopping now :)

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  15. Why hello there American twin!!
    You, my friend, sound like a remarkable mummy who loves her children to the moon and back :)
    I understand what you're saying though, but it just wasn't her day to be chasing off the bees ;)
    You're beautiful!!!

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  16. it is quite difficult not to compare ourselves to others...but you should see that if you weren't doing the things you were - then you should worry! if you just let the kids play amongst themselves while ignoring their needs, that is when you could possibly consider another mother "better" than you...

    wm

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  17. Crush? Girl we're in full on pup pup puppy lurve. Hahaha! I'm such a super nerd, for reals. So glad you stopped by; been missing you boo. Buhh ha, like I said ... super nerd.

    Hope you're well.

    Kate

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  18. Such a beautiful message, Aleisha!! You're right! We are all in this together!! I mentioned in my last post, how in my "situation" I find many women with different stories but at the end of the day we all want and are working towards the same thing.
    We all have our passions and things we're good at. We all judge ourselves too harshly some days. Your passions shine brightly in each one of your posts! You're beautiful inside out. You're a fun, compassionate, loving mama, wife and friend. Anddd you sure know how to make everyone smile and laugh!
    Hope your Monday is a great one!
    Xoxo
    Maria

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  19. So very well written and a very common issue. I am guilty of doing this all the time. Hard to avoid, but you are right, we are all in it together. We should help other mothers or admire how they handle situations/days, not judge or compare. Great points.

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  20. Comparison can be the kill of joy. I loved your post. LOL receipt napkins, no they don't work, but they can be a boogie catcher ;)
    I sometimes see ladies at the park having a relaxing time with their kids and my two boys are running around in different directions making me crazy. I hope they are not judging me and I will try not to secretly wish their next child be born hyper active. lol

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  21. LOVE this!!! I am so guilty of doing the mom comparison. It seems like one of my boys is always hitting his head on something or sraping his knee at the playground. Joshy tried to feed wood chips to another baby; like FORCING them into his mouth. He barked at the other kids in Toddler Time reading class on Monday. Barked. Like a dog. A happy dog, but still... My boys always have ketchup on their cheeks, or mud on their pants, or melted popsicle running down their little arms. But they're happy, which means I'm doing on okay job I guess. :)

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  22. Yeah, that "sraping" up there should say "scraping". I don't know what sraping is and I hope I never find out. hahaa

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  23. I know I sent you this message on facebook, but I will post it here too because this is such a strong and amazing quote. "Comparison is the thief of joy." It is so true. I hope you know how amazing I think you are. You are one the funnest, cutest, most stylish, witty, beautiful inside and out, contagiously happy moms I know. I am thankful to have you as my friend. You are such a great example to me.

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  24. Mmm...comforting words my friend!! I'm grateful I have you to encourage me as a mom!!
    I'm featuring you tomorrow in Darling Day!! :)

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I LOVE hearing from you! Thanks for making my day brighter with your comments! I mean it. (Now go have yourself a Diet Coke!)