As I sat down on my computer this evening, I saw several witty posts by a friend and a familiar stab of jealousy hit me: “Why can’t I be witty like that?”
It’s taken me all of my 37 years of life to (almost) master that ugly, envious side of me. Now when it rears its ugly face, I can usually remind myself, “Their success is not my failure.”
I love that phrase. For so long, I thought others’ accomplishments implied something was wrong with me for not achieving the same. No joke, I couldn’t even look at the Family Circle magazine without seeing a picture of a mom who had an organized file system for game activities to do with her kids without feeling like I was the worst mom ever. Why didn’t I have a file system? When Pinterest came out, oh man, that was rough. I refused to even look at it. I didn’t want to feel inferior to all the moms who somehow got their kids fed, dressed, and ready for school while also color coordinating their spice rack. I just couldn’t do it.
A year after starting homeschool, a friend convinced me to check out Pinterest for school ideas. I grumbled and moaned and finally conceded. And you know what? It was awesome! For the first time ever I didn’t feel inferior. I wasn’t jealous. I was relieved! Here were all these creative activities and crafts that other way-more-creative moms had put time and thought and effort into creating and sharing with the world. And I could use them. I could just hit the print button on the directions, accumulate the supplies, and let my kids go at it. It was brilliant. It was life-changing. And it saved me because for the first time I realized that I didn’t have to be as creative as those moms. That there was nothing wrong with me for not thinking of those crafts myself. In fact, it was okay that I didn’t even really like crafts. Why was I so jealous of their abilities that I didn’t really even care to acquire? Why did I put so much pressure on myself to be able to do everything, even things I didn’t really want to do?
And that’s when it all started to hit me: I am good at the things I care about. I may not be able to sew but I can crochet. I may not sing but I can enjoy listening to music. I may not create a Harry Potter themed birthday party but I can admire those who do. Their successes are not my failures. When I see the crafty-cutesy things my friends do with their kids, that doesn’t mean I am a bad mom. It means I do different things with my kids. I have different strengths. And that’s okay. Not only okay, but that’s great. I can appreciate those strengths about myself. I realize that the world is a better place because we all have different talents, interests, hobbies, and success stories. Because we are all successful in our own way.
Birth Boot Camp Certified Doula (BBCD)