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Friday, September 11, 2009

Mommy Competition

Did you notice the new and improved JuiceBoxJungle widget on my sidebar? If you subscribe through email or a reader, click over to my blog to check it out! It does more than play cute parenting videos. Now you can interact with Facebook, "tweet" cards (through Twitter), or send ecards right from my blog! I liked this one, because we all need a friend who doesn't judge us when we lose it (and you know we all do at some point!).

They also have a new sponsor, Paper Culture, a modern, eco-friendly premium stationary company that will address, message and mail your cards for free. You can get 30% off for a limited time (promo code SAVE30NOW).

The parenting video showing now is about competitive moms. I'm sure you know one or two, or maybe you are one yourself! How do you deal with them? How do you keep from being one? Where is the line between comparing notes and comparing your kids or your parenting?

We are all proud of our kids, and naturally want to brag about them now and then. But it's a good reminder to make sure we aren't making another mom feel bad. When another mom is going on to me about what their child can do or the activities she is involved in, I do feel the competitiveness (or inferiority? defensiveness?) rising up within me. I feel like I need to prove that I am a good mom, and I think this can be especially true of homeschooling moms (or at least beginner homeschooling moms--maybe I'll grow out of it?). We want to be sure our kids are smart enough and know what their peers know. I know I've been guilty of being a competitive mom before, and I'll probably slip up again in the future. But when I do, I'll try to think about what the other mom might be feeling, remember that kids develop in different areas and at a different pace, and ask her questions about her child instead.

What I do to try to combat the competitiveness in myself is to keep things simple. I hear about moms throwing spectacular birthday parties, but I don't feel the need to do that. I want my kids to feel special and have fun on their birthdays, and sometimes that can be accomplished without even having a party! H has had birthday parties, but this year she didn't have one. We had just returned from our three week vacation with my parents, so I didn't have the time or energy to whip up a party. She was content with eating out at Red Robin and camping in the backyard, which was fine with us!

The truth is, I want my kids to be content with simple things. I don't want them to be constantly asking for the latest fad. They aren't involved in a lot of activities, and I'm okay with that. My plan isn't to turn out future Olympians, it's to turn out followers of Jesus Christ. If one of them exhibits a deep desire or natural ability, we will try to encourage their God-given talents and nuture them. But I'm not planning to sign them up for every sport or class until they find a good match. That just sounds exhausting! (not to mention expensive!)

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:6-8

"Be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" Hebrews 13:5-6

So I'm just going to do my best and be content with myself, my kids, and our schedule. They don't have to be the smartest or the fastest or the best, because that's not what matters in the end. What matters is their heart, so that's what I'll focus on.


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