Ashley Does: Freedom Friday (Freedom From The Mompetition – Updated)

This article was originally published December 6, 2014. I have come a long way since this post, and SO much has changed. But one thing hasn’t: the deep, burning desire to distance myself from the Mompetition. It felt like the right time to share this with you again – I hope it brings you some freedom today!

Not enough.

Those are the two words I spoke at our church’s Women’s Conference two years ago. They had asked us to come up to the front and speak the words that we had identified with, whatever those may be, and then speak the words that God actually uses to identify us.

Without going into too much of a “poor me” story, I felt like not enough. It was an old, tired feeling that I’d had for a long time. I have always compared myself to others. I always tried to be the best at everything. When I failed, it was an incredibly hard pill to swallow. I had felt inadequate at and as a lot of things. So I got up and spoke those words for the last time, in front of over 300 strangers and several friends.

“Not enough.”

The word that came after? The one that I know God speaks over me to cleanse me of the feeling of inadequacy?

“Free.”

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In that moment, my sad story, my past, all the “wrongs” in my life – they were lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t heal overnight, of course, but I can tell you things that used to matter just didn’t anymore.

My attitude toward the “Mompetition” is what changed the most. You know the Mompetition: Pinterest Mom versus Messy Mom versus Stay at Home Mom versus Working Mom versus Organic Mom versus…..etc.

I don’t look at the other moms at the park and wonder what they are thinking about how I am parenting anymore. Honestly, they are either too tired to worry about what the heck my kids are doing, distracted by their own brood, or learning from me.

Over the years of trying to be the best at everything, I had forgotten that I was, indeed, very good at some things. When it comes to being a mom, I consider myself pretty laid-back and I take pride in that. I let my 2-year-old climb to the top of the playground and go down the big slide without standing behind her the whole way. My 4-year-old is the world’s best hider, but I don’t instantly freak out when I can’t find her right away. I know “Monkey, we’re leaving with or without you” and walking off will bring her out. My 6-year-old is very anxious and I pretend that I don’t see when she falls or looks afraid because I know that if I react, she’s going to fall apart.

I hope there are other moms watching that.

As a first time mom, I was afraid of everything. It was part of the feeling of inadequacy. “What if Liv falls in front of another mom? What will that mom think of me? What if she is mouthy or defiant? (Note: she is always mouthy and defiant. I now know that’s part of her amazing personality!) What if I am letting her do too much? What if I’m not letting her do enough? What am I supposed to be doing here?!”

I wish I had taken the time to look around at the other, more seasoned, moms at the park, the pool, the grocery store, and taken stock in what they were doing. How they were handling things. We are all in the same role here, us parents. We are all trying to keep our kids happy, healthy, and well behaved so they become awesome adults.

So why do we look at each other like the competition? Why aren’t we looking at one another and saying “help me!” rather than “why are you so much better at this than I am?”

I’m not going to get into the “Pinterest Mom” versus “Organic Mom” versus “Baby Lead Family” thing here. When I was Not Enough, that whole fight ate me up. I spent hours of my precious time with my kids pouring over the internet looking for ways to be Enough.

Uh HELLO. Talk about counterproductive!

When I became Free – enough, adequate, necessary, beloved – I realized that none of that matters. So what if Maggie’s kids always have perfect hair and a new craft drying in their customized art room? So what if Beth’s kids run her house? So what if Lisa’s house is always sparkling clean and nothing is ever out of place?

GOOD FOR THEM. Why would I think, for one second, that I should consider myself more or less than them because we are different?

My house is a mess. We watch too much TV. My kids go to school with …. uh …. third day hair and yesterday’s pants on. Their sandwiches do NOT look like panda bears and often times I forgot to go to the store so lunch consists of a few pieces of rolled up turkey lunch meat, a cheese stick, fruit leather, and leftover popcorn. Hey, they like it! Their lives are full of love and fun and books and (probably too much) Mickey Mouse and God and at the end of the day, that is Enough. That is Free.

I hope you have something that you are just stinkin’ amazing at. If you don’t feel that way – find it. It might be parenting. It might be freezer casseroles. It might be making other people feel good about themselves. It might be putting together the perfect outfit. OWN IT, girl. Stop trying to be someone you aren’t and set yourself Free.

What part of the Mompetition still has a hold on you? Set yourself free and mention it in the comments! Want more like this? Join us in the Pretty Things Lounge where we don’t judge you – we just make each other laugh and fill our cups!

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