The Comparison Trap
Do you ever find yourself wondering if what you are doing is enough? I do. And, now, more than ever before, it seems that I'm looking around seeing if its enough.
Am I working out enough?
Am I teaching the kids enough?
Am eating well enough?
Am I getting enough done with all the new found time?
Is my house clean enough?
Am I making homemade meals often enough?
Am I doing enough?
All these questions come down to, am I ENOUGH?
Do you find yourself asking some of these same questions, too?
The friend that seems to keep getting projects done around the house is no better than you. The mom down the street making homemade treats, managing six kids, grilling out for dinner, cleaning the house, and mowing the grass is still no better than you. That girl on social media that has lost 20 pounds during the epidemic is no better than you.
Yet, we still look to other people for acceptance.
In February, I had just quit my job and was getting use to the idea that I would have some quiet time during the day. I could be creative, write, work, and maybe get a run in before the kids got home from school. I was finding that I had energy to play with the kids and be the mom I had always hoped I could be.
Then COVID hit. Suddenly, I found myself like many other moms with kids in school. I was juggling working between answering questions about the Mayflower and long division. My daughter was loving this new arrangement and couldn't wait for the email to arrive from her teacher with her homework for the day. My son was also loving it, but his happiness was due to the idea that he felt like could do whatever he wanted, which was definitely not his homework. Stress began to build.
Guilt set in as I tried to work through the remainder of my day while the kids would come into my office for just about anything but something important. Lunch was spaghettios or macaroni and cheese most days (Who am I kidding? It still is.). At night, catching up with work was still a struggle. Just when I felt like I was getting a handle on my days, COVID blew it up.
It seemed the homeschooling thing was going to be temporary. Boy, was I wrong.
As the weeks moved on, it seemed that some people really had their crap together. Homemade meals, exercise, and clean houses were all over social media. There's always that one girl on social media that is like "Oh my goodness. I've finally found the time to Marie Kondo all my closets!". Screw you lady. I keep shoving stuff in there, hoping I can still shut the damn door. You know those project lists? The ones that you have had for years but now suddenly haunt you? There are actually people getting those things done. Not just started, but done.
My list is huge: stain the deck, fix garage stairs and landing, remodel the basement bathroom, update the upstairs bathroom, fix the landscaping, sheetrock the garage, paint the kitchen cabinets, fix the ceiling in the basement where a board is missing, and so on. I'm not going to lie, I've started my list. Two things are in progress: painting the kitchen cabinets and remodeling the basement bathroom. Neither one is moving as fast as I would like.
In the midst of it, I worry about how much electronics time my kids are getting. I wish I had time to do some art projects with them, bring them to the beach or go on bike rides together. After all, if we can't do much otherwise, shouldn't I have time for all of this?
The truth I have found is that I do want to do all these things. I want to lose weight. I want to have homemade meals. I want to go to the beach and spend quality time with my kids. I want to finish the stupid list of projects. I can't lie about any of that. But, yet, I know that I am doing the absolute best that I can.
Isn't that enough?
It is. It is more than enough. That girl that lost 20 pounds - her life is different than yours. The mom that seemingly has it all together? She might not. Actually, it is pretty likely that she doesn't. And, that is okay, too.
There is not one of us that has it all together. Not one. Our lives are all unique, our kids are all unique, and our work and social lives are unique.
If you find yourself feeling like you aren't enough, I challenge you to understand and know that you are enough.
Journal. Each day, write down one thing that you did that you are proud of. If you don't like to journal, just take some time each day to reflect and consider it. Here's some examples to get you to understand just how great your are:
Monday: I went for a run. (Note: it was 2 miles, not 8 like that other girl on FB.)
Tuesday: I ordered pizza for dinner. (We all ate, kids are happy and I'm happy we ate dinner instead of cereal, which by the way, would be totally cool too.)
Wednesday: I spent 5 minutes with one of my kids, talking about her day. (Some dedicated time. Not a trip to the beach, but it was time dedicated to her.)
Thursday: I went to work. (It's the little things.)
Friday: Movie night. (More dedicated time, but nothing fancy.)
If you get something checked off that project list, feel free to journal about that. Just know that the things you get to be proud of are yours. If one of your goals during this time is to have more quality time with your kids and you got 5 minutes of quality time, you should still celebrate. We don't have to be making homemade bread and cleaning our houses until they are spotless. Sure, those things would be nice but they aren't necessary. If all you did today was keep everyone alive, add that to your journal. Some days, that is celebration ENOUGH.
You are enough.
Just as you are. With the long project list, the kids on electronics, and the pile of laundry. ENOUGH.