For as long as I can remember, I have always dreamed of being a mom. And not because that is all I was told I could be. My mom always encouraged me to be a do whatever I wanted. Motherhood was something that always called to me.
Labor day week in 2011 my dreams had finally become a reality. I remember going to buy the pregnancy test and excitedly showing Brandon that we were, in fact, going to be parents. To say I was on “cloud 9” is an understatement. The next 9 months were bliss. With every week that passed and every appointment we went to, the idea of being the most EXTRAORDINARY mom overtook me. I dreamed of all the amazing things I would do with our son. All the activities and crafts that awaited me in the years to come. I actually still have the Pinterest board saved with all of the things I planned to do. I did all the things I was supposed to do during pregnancy. I ate right, I read “What to Expect” and we attended baby safety classes. I had turned our office into the most amazing baby room. All set and ready for the arrival of our sweet baby boy.
On May 8, 2012 at 2:08PM, Jude Michael Yates made his grand appearance! I will never forget the exact moment the doctors placed him in my arms. The amount of love I felt completely overwhelmed me in a way I never expected. To be able to love someone I have never even met the way that I loved Jude still amazes me to this day. When our eyes met for the first time and I whispered to him, “I am your mommy and I love you so much”. Even now as I write this I am sobbing. Thinking about the rollercoaster of emotions I felt all in an instant that changed my life forever.
In the next 6 years I was blessed to experience the same joy and excitement 2 more times with the arrivals of my sweet girls. Charlotte Grace on July 8, 2014 and Olivia Rae on April 28, 2018. With every birth I could feel my heart grow with more love for each one of our babies. Each moment, whispering to each one of them, “I am you mommy and I love you”. All three the greatest moments of my entire life.
But, if I am being completely honest, along with being the most amazing part of my life, becoming a mother has also been the most challenging part as well. And not just in the aspect of raising these kids but also in my own personal struggles. And this awful word called COMPARISON. Let me tell you, I never in a million years would have imagined the impact this word would have on my life until I became a mom. Sadly, I think so many other moms have fallen into the same trap. Looking at how another mom makes those cute little cutout sandwiches and sends their kids to school with sweet notes in their lunches and I am struggling to even put a simple lunch together that would be deemed “healthy”. Or maybe its seeing the mom in the grocery store with her 5 kids all nicely following her in a quiet line while I can’t even manage to calm my one 18 month old down while she screams through every isle because I have buckled her into the seat. Yes, I have been there and I could share so many other times where I have allowed comparison to shame me into believing I was anything less that a good mom. Believing that in some way or another I was ruining my kid’s lives with my lack of ability to make the perfect snacks for class parties and my absent desire to be the “room mom”. All the images I had created in my mind of what makes an extraordinary mom were eating me alive. And that Pinterest board I mentioned earlier, well that only served as my reminder that yet again, I failed my children.
I allowed those lies to chip away at my true identity. Day after day I could feel myself losing sight of who I was. It didn’t just affect me. It started to come out in how I parented and in my relationship with my husband. I could see this angry person start to react out of the pain I felt deep down inside.
Usually, this would be the part where I would tell you how I have let go of comparison and the 3 steps I took to get there but really, I am still a work in progress. What I can tell you is how I am working through it. How setting myself up daily with reminders that my identity is not found in me being a “good mom” or even being a mom at all. Daily reminding myself that my identity is found in Christ. In who He is and who He says I am. That I am loved by God (John 3:16), that God has a great plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11). Knowing that God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and self control (2 Timothy 1:7) and that He shows me that in His presence I can find JOY (Psalm 16:11). It’s in these daily reminders that I have begun to see a shift in how view myself. Even in my imperfection, God is faithful to love me no matter what. That love for me is not based on me being a good mom. His love for me is an unconditional love that began before I was even a thought. It’s a love that He already had for me even before He spoke light into existence. That He sees me as His own and there is nothing that will ever change that. When I begin to build my daily foundation on these truths, I am able to truly be who God made me to be. I am able to be the best mom, wife and friend. Not because I have the best parties or can make the best snacks, but because I know I am truly loved. It’s out of this understanding that I am able to overflow with that same love and love others well (most importantly, my family). It’s in this that I can be an extraordinary mom.
The affects of comparison is not something that goes away overnight. There are still days I struggle to remember who I am but with every day I find that my foundation gets stronger and stronger. And when those little lies try to come and rob me of the joy of raising my children, I remember to go back to His word and who He has created me to be.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a mom who works out of the house, my hope is that you know you are loved. That you are doing an amazing job. And that every thing you do for your children will echo into eternity.