“I wish I was a parent like her, her life is so perfect”
“You look like you have it so well together! Good for you! I wish I had it together like you!”
“Tell me, what is her secret? She’s so perfect! I wish my life was like hers!”
How many times do we utter these phrases, or something like them? We think that Frances over there has it perfect. She bakes little cupcakes in the shape of something bizarre and difficult, like a cape or a bat or a baseball field, or better yet, those cupcake lollipops. Who knows, something complicated! (You can tell baking is not my forte…) Or maybe Gertrude, She always has her nails done impeccably, and looks so well put together! Then theres Gladys, her kids are always beautifully behaved, and she somehow manages SIX of them! AND a job! I wish my life was like HERS.
We all know this envious thinking is not constructive or useful. But do we ever go so far as to realize how damaging it is?
- First, it is damaging for Florence over there, with the perfect garden. We’ve put her on such a high pedestal, that when she inevitably falls (and shows her humanity) we despise her.
- Secondly, it is damaging for us, it creates a strong sense of discontentment that makes us useless.
- Thirdly, it is damaging for our families. This kind of thinking requires them to meet unrealistic expectations, and live with a discontented, frustrated, angry, nasty mother.
THEN, there is another kind of thinking, even worse:
“She is such a terrible mother, I’m sure if I let MY kids get away with that, I hope you’d tell me!”
“I don’t know how she lives with herself. She has REALLY let herself go. At least I don’t look like that! And she’s always so antisocial!”
“How rude can you be? She only brought those gross corn muffins, and most gatherings all she ever brings is drinks! Just so its easy! She is so lazy!”
This is an even worse train of thought, one that feeds our self esteem at the cost of another woman’s. It is damaging in a whole other list of ways.
- Firstly it shows your young family that belittling others to benefit yourself is ok. “Do like I say not as I do kids!” doesn’t cut it.
- Secondly it damages the sisterhood of mothers, the little community we have at our disposal. Do we need a faceless friend at a website to network with, or would it benefit for us to relate to our coworkers, our family, our friends at church?
- Lastly, it ruins a person’s reputation. You don’t know the circumstances. Maybe her mother just died, maybe she’s feeling overwhelmed, or maybe she’s struggling with a chronic health issue. And don’t even think of believing or spreading the local gossip about her. That is a whole other ball of wax. The majority of gossip suffers from whisper down the lane type of transformation.
Let us think of mothers in one light:
In the light of their humanity.
Etta may make killer cupcakes, but did you know she does it to escape the chaos in her house? It is valueable alone time to her.
Eudora keeps her kids behaved because she works hard with them, teaching them, guiding them, disciplining them, they are not by nature “good” Eudora spends a lot of time working with them to be that way.
Lydia looks good because she found some killer deals on nailpolish and knows her stuff, rather than being impressed and silent, maybe you can invite her over to talk about what she does. Meanwhile, Lydia is making an extra effort to look good because she is struggling with her chronic illness and deep in debt over medical bills. The one thing she CAN control is her appearance.
Winifred never brings anything “good” to gatherings because their budget is so tight, she doesn’t have alot of money to drop on food their family won’t eat.
Agatha let herself go because she lacks the information on nutrition and exercise, and she’s over there in the corner, wishing somebody would reach out to her. Meanwhile, she’s struggling with a recent health issue.
Beulah’s kids are ill behaved, not because she doesn’t discipline them, she does so constantly, but because her kids have ideas of their own, and her husband is always working. She’s doing it all virtually alone. She’s exhausted, and wishes she had some support.
Remember the times you feel alone, overwhelmed, or the things you keep to yourself, hide at your house, don’t share with others. We all have our times of need, obvious strengths, or hidden weaknesses. Remember that every woman is a human. don’t put her on a pedestal and then delight when she falls, don’t despise her, and then feel guilty when you find out her true story. We need to reach out to each other, not tear each other down! Motherhood can be a lonely job.
In lieu of a recipe, I give you this