My friend Kellie posted this on her blog and I LOVED it.  I’m going to have to get this book!

An excerpt from Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist…

One of the most important things I’ve learned about mothering goes back to something I heard several years ago from my friend Nancy. She told me that when you compare yourself to another person, you always lose, and at the same time the other person always loses, too. Each of us has been created by the hands of a holy God, and our stories and the twists and turns of our lives, the things that are hard for us, and the things that come naturally, are as unique to us as our own fingerprints. She told me that one way to ensure a miserable life is to constantly measure your own life by the lives of the people around you.

I was in my early twenties when she first talked with me about comparison. When you’re a woman in your early twenties, you compare grades if you’re in college or grad school. You compare sizes and weight, and whose degree is more impressive. You compare boyfriends – their cars and jobs and social skills. You compare apartments, menus at your dinner parties, and at a certain point, engagement rings.

And then you have children, and you, regrettably, begin to compare children. It starts, actually, with pregnancy. Everyone wants to talk about how much weight you gained, in comparison to how much weight they gained. In what other possible scenario is this an appropriate topic of conversation?

I think that the people who ask are really just looking for an opportunity to brag about how little weight they gained. I don’t ask. I have a very strict Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. My husband doesn’t even know how much weight I gained when I was pregnant. I’ve never been so thankful for doctor-patient confidentiality laws. You just tell every pregnant woman you see that she’s glowing, even if she’s the size of a Volkswagen, and leave it at that.

We believe that moms should be perfect. That we should be perfect. That every meal must have a vegetable, that vegetable must be organic, that our homes should look like the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, and that somehow everyone else is able to pull it off, even if we can’t.

We slip into believing that it’s better to strive for perfection than to accept and offer one another grace. what I need as a mother is grace, God’s grace, that allows me to fail and try again, that allows me to ask for help when I don’t have the wisdom or patience I need, that reminds me we’re not alone in this, and that God loves my son even more than I do. And grace from other mothers. I need grace and truth-telling and camaraderie from other moms. I need us to tell the truth about how hard it is, and I need us to help each other, instead of hiding behind the pretense and pressure of perfection.

3 thoughts on “Mothering”

  1. AH! So SO SO SO true! As my doctor says everytime we leave the kids appointments, “you’re doing the hardest job in the world!” and it’s true! It is hard and hard NOT to compare our lives with others, especially when things are extra tough! Thanks for this post, just another reason I. love. you!

  2. This is beautiful and packed with wisdom! Yes, truth and grace. We moms at age 50 are still learning this from the Lord. Grace, grace, grace, truth, spoken with grace and humility, the grace of kindness and unconditional love and acceptance…to God and to one another is all we really need. To give ourselves and everyone else around us. I love you Jen!!! You inspire me. xoxo Mom

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