It’s not a competition

There are lots of blogs I read and people I know in real life that are incredibly inspiring, people who seem to fit an amazing amount of intentional, creative activity into each day, whether it be the wide variety of crafts they’ve successfully mastered, the way in which they home educate their children or the way in which they live off grid and seem to make it look like it happens with ease and nothing but joy. When I’m tired and/or grumpy I start to compare myself to these people, to bemoan my lack of productivity or purpose in comparison with their incredible lives. And I have to give myself a short, sharp shake and remind myself that it’s not a competition.

It’s easy (and not just in the sphere of motherhood) to feel that we’re not good enough, that we’re not doing enough. I think this feeling is amplified by the Internet and easy spread of information. But it’s just not true. Apart from anything else, the authors of these blogs probably choose to omit those days where they get nothing done, where they’re having major boat problems or the kids do nothing but fight. Because let’s face it, who wants to look back in 10 years and remember those moments? No one. They want to be able to revisit their blog and remember the moments where they created some beautiful, when they reached a new country after weeks of mundane travel, when the kids harmoniously played and everyone felt happy and fulfilled.

But we love to moan. All too often it seems easier to be down and complain, about parenting difficulties, health problems, financial issues or anything else that we’re struggling with. And misery loves company. It’s easy to bring each other down and wallow together. But maybe there is another way.

I’m not saying we should put on a brave face and pretend all is okay when it isn’t. I think an important part of friendship is sharing troubles and helping each other to solve them. But therein lies the point. Maybe we should be intentionally choosing to try and solve problems rather than letting things fester, to remain positive and to focus on the good things, not the bad. There are often beautiful and amazing things going on in every household, regardless of circumstance. But it’s easy to miss them if our head is stuck in a dark place.

I hope I don’t sound preachy. I struggle with this all myself! But it was whilst reading a soulemama post this morning and feeling a bit grumpy/jealous of how much she seems to achieve that I realised I could react in two ways. By feeling glum and fed up, especially as today is a day where I have a lot to do and it’ll be another late one for the kids. An attitude that will rub off me and onto the kids (they are our mirror after all!) Or…I could choose to be inspired by the beauty in her life and search out and acknowledge the good things in mine. The fact that we’ll see good friends at home ed group today, that our lovely landlady is letting the kids garden with her whilst I get household jobs done and that actually, it can and will be a good day, as long as I allow it to be. I’m choosing to be happy, how about you?