I have said it many times that I am by far not a perfect mother. There are no perfect mothers, but man, I can see how easy it is to compare ourselves to others and be very envious of the fact that they seemingly have it all together. It's also very easy to pass judgement on others. Maybe we feel superior. It helps us to think that there are others who face challenges like we do. Let's face it, it is reassuring when you see a mom struggling with their 2 year old the same way you do. It can be easy to pass judgement and say to ourselves, "well, at least I do that better than so-and-so. LOL.
The truth is we all have up and down weeks, some worse or better than others. It is what we have been given. When we choose to become parents, much like falling in love and getting married, there is risk. You never know what you are going to get.
For instance, take dealing with a child that has special needs. Now, special needs to you may mean a child with cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome. It can mean 24/7 care to a child who is blind, cannot walk and has severe developmental delays. To others it might mean dealing with a child who has a diagnosis of ADHD or Autism, learning disability or a child with emotional or behavioral challenges. For some it may be a medical issue or chronic illness with a very small child. It can be overwhelming. We all have challenges, but I tend to think that other parents may have more challenges than we do. Or vice-versa. Maybe you see other families and think how lucky they are. They don't have the challenges you do.
Well, that is a lie, because that same mom may be looking at me seeing something that isn't there and comparing herself to what I am doing. That is the problem with comparison. It leads to no where. The grass is not greener on the other side. What you may be struggling with may be different than the mom you are comparing yourself to. So, in essence, we see our weaknesses and think we are the only one. Other moms see our strengths and think we have it all together. When in reality, if we would just be real with each other and stop comparing and accept our strengths and weaknesses as part of our growth process we would be a lot happier.
At the end of the day, for me at least, I have to remind myself that I was made to be the parent to my two boys. God created me to be their mom. Nobody else is designed to make my family fit together. And being a parent means there is risk. There is hurt, pain, disappointment and fear. And if you allow it, it will consume you and cripple you as a parent. It is false. Untrue. A lie. I don't know how many other ways to put it.
But even with all the challenges, God has reminded us over and over again in the scriptures that we need to think about whatever is good. Noble. True. Holy. Pure. Judgment and comparison do not fall into those categories. So instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the Truth.
It boils down to where we place our security. Is it in how other people view us, even people very important to us, or how God views us? Is it in whether or not our child behaved like the other kid who never seems to act up or noticing the small positive changes in behavior when working on a particular issue with our kids.
It's easy to get discouraged. It's easy to believe the lie. To feel like you are never going to win. That life will always be challenging. But there are new mercies new every day! Amen!!!!
So today, I ask for serenity. I ask for new mercies. I ask for strength to get through this moment in time. Not to worry about yesterday or be concerned with tomorrow. To be in this moment. For the courage to change the things I can. To accept what cannot be changed and the wisdom to know the difference.
I've included the entire prayer that Reinhold Niebuhr penned in the 20th Century below. It is primarily used as a prayer for those recovering from addiction but I can tell you it IS a prayer of serenity and it is a prayer for everyone.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.