As the service began, a young family walked in and took the available seats in front of us: an average-looking dad in a nice dress shirt and tie, an impeccably dressed, adorable pregnant mama and their fashionable toddler (roughly the same age as my own slightly-less fashionable tot).
All the feels bubbled up as I watched them. With a perfect toddler ponytail and trendy white sunglasses, this kiddo had it going on. In their mommy/daughter matching red rain boots, the pair could have just stepped off of a magazine cover: perfect. A standard I couldn’t possibly measure up to.
I’m in church! I looked to the floor chastising myself. Why am I comparing myself to anyone else!? Focus, focus.
As I turned back toward the front of the sanctuary, I caught another glimpse. One of a little less perfection:
As her mama took away the now-impractical sunglasses and added a sweet red headband, this adorable-turned-precocious tot simultaneously snatched the glasses back while discarding the new headband to the floor causing the delicate band that was holding her pony in place to snap.
As her tiny waves of brown hair fell out of place, all comparison within me melted away, and I gave my fellow weary, toddler-hair-battling comrade a knowing smile.
I’ve been there.
When we stop focusing on the ways we’re different and instead look for the similarities, we find a beautiful, kindred bond between us moms. A relationship that gets it, that understands how exasperating and amazing motherhood can be in the same instant. That understands both the joy and the struggle of the I-do-it-myself stage, patiently giving space to our children to succeed and fail when it would be so much easier to exert our own will over them.
I was reminded that Sunday to stop building my own walls based on the “perfection” of another mom and instead look at the heart. And was challenged to stop trying to hide behind perfection in my own parenting and instead live out the messy, crazy, sometimes-makes-me-want-to-scream beautiful that is motherhood.Instead of striving for a perfection that separates, let’s shoot for an authenticity that unites.Click To Tweet
And in the spirit of authenticity, it’s possible I’m on the hunt for a couple pairs of cute, red rain boots in size 8.5 and toddler 7. Ya know, just in case you see any on sale!
“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” — Jill Churchill