Feel like you need to compete?

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Have you ever left a conversation with a friend feeling inadequate as a mom?  Does social networking like Facebook or Pinterest make you feel like you’re not creative, organized, or attractive enough? I know I often feel this way.  Becoming a mom has revealed my own insecurities and competitiveness.  Two weeks after having our babies on the same day, a college acquaintance posted on Facebook that she was back in her pre-pregnancy jeans.  Did I mention that this was her second baby, while I’d just had my first?  And that her first was born just one year before?  I remember feeling so stressed out.  How did she do it?  What was wrong with me, that I was still wearing maternity clothes?

Sometimes it's hard not to look at other moms and feel jealous.  I think, I wish I had her______(house, body, talent, organizational skills, creativity, etc.).   While it’s embarrassing for me to admit that, God is graciously refining me in this area.

Sometimes we assume that being a “better mom” means being better than everyone else.  Not so!  As Christians, our goal is not to outdo one another in parenting or any other aspect of life; rather, it is to be better because of Christ’s help than we ever could be without Him.

We live in a competitive society.  It’s all about climbing the social or career ladder and getting to the top.  And while ambition and competition can be healthy things, too often they become negative influences.  As I’ve battled this tendency in myself, I’ve learned a few things that have helped.

  1. Remember where your identity lies.  As Christians, we belong to Christ.  That is what makes us valuable—not whether we have the world’s most organized pantry or make the most delicious and nutritious meals.  When my security as a mom is in the Lord, I don’t have anything to prove and I’m free to use the gifts God has given me, rather than striving to be someone I’m not.
  2. Rejoice with others in the gifts with which God has blessed them.  Romans 12:4-6 says, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them…” (ESV)  We ought to view each other’s strengths as part of God’s glorious design, not as a threat.  He made us differently, and He loves us as we are.  Praise Him for that!
  3. Resist the urge to brag out of selfish motivation.  Blogs and social networks give us ample opportunity to boast about ourselves, our families, and our children.  This is tempting to do, especially if we’re insecure, but bragging just perpetuates the problem.  While it’s certainly not wrong to share the ways God has blessed us, we need to be careful that our motivation is truly to give God glory and not to boast in ourselves.

What about you?  Have you experienced jealousy or the need to compete with other moms?  How have you dealt with it?