Thursday, January 9, 2014

Expectations & Comparisons

I struggle with comparing myself and my family to others around me.  There I said it.  It doesn't sound all that pretty.  
Why can't my husband do romantic things for me like hers does?  They just went on a date last week.
Why don't we have as much money as they do?  Their van wasn't that old.
O if I were only 50 lbs thinner like.....?
Why am I so constantly willingly floundering in the great and vast sea of discontent?  
I have expectations. Not all of them are bad or a hindrance to Godly living but some of them are down right awful and don't help the state of my ulcer at all.  Where do these expectations come from or develop? 
I wonder sometimes if I should take a break from social media.  Pinterest and Facebook and regular old email are great tools for connecting with family and friends from far away places but they can also breed stress and create incorrect expectations. (Don't get me wrong, I am not planning any social media fasts any time soon)  Who doesn't have a Facebook "Face"? We want for others to like us and for our family to look nice and proper and like our lives fit the perfect, "normal" protocol for Christian families.  What, my friends, is normal? I know our personalities play a large role in how/what we post but wouldn't everyone do a double take if someone posted something like "My husband and I are really struggling right now" or "I just stepped on the scale and am really depressed"  Such posts would probably be met with one of two responses, pious advice or disdain and possible un-friending or at least making so one does not have to follow such depressing matters. (And yes they may not be all that proper for sharing with 500 people.) The problem with social media is everything is vague. You can't see a person's expression or hear the tone of their voice thru a post.  I have seen much pain as a result of mis-interpreted emails/posts thus deepening my belief that everyone's perfectly portrayed  social media lives are probably really not reality and are therefore not really worthy of me pining my life away wishing that I had something different.  Like a very wise person once said, "We all have to get dressed one pant leg at a time".  We all have good days and bad ones.  We all have relationships disappointments and blessings.  Sometimes money is present, other times it is not.  It boils down to honesty and communication.  Perhaps if we actually talked (really communicated!) more and spent less time dreaming on Pinterest or reached out to someone else who might be in need instead of focusing on the stuff we don't have or made a general effort to cultivate lasting deeper relationships with a few trustworthy friends instead of trying to impress the 500 we have on face book we may find our expectations changing?

I am in the mommy stage which I do really truly love in case you are wondering.  The mommy stage has a lot of comparison/expectation pitfalls.  How much stress do we add to our lives trying to follow all the things set forth for us to follow by well meaning souls around us? Why do we care so much about what others may think about how we do things.  God created each of us with beautiful meaningful gifts to share with those around us which is far easier to do if we are not consumed with assumptions.  I have had several conversations recently that reiterated the need for us as mamas to start being more compassionate in our responses to other mamas so that sharing our gifts can happen more like it should.  
One of the mommy comparison traps for me is the depression that slaps me in the face when opening facebook and seeing one perfectly put together mom posting a selfie (she wears makeup at home? and actually showers and does her hair E-V-E-R-Y morning?) of her starting her day reading her devotions and sipping that perfect cup of froth.  I grab for every extra moment of sleep I can get then jump up, throw on my comfy clothes which aren't usually the latest fad or fashion and pull my frizzy mop back away from my face so there won't be hair in the pancakes I will make on my filthy kitchen counter that is still stacked with last nights dishes while sipping my lukewarm latte that simmered over the top of the pan. And while I talk to God all day long I don't get my devotions done at precisely 6:38 each morning.  Now the big point here is there is nothing innately wrong with "super mommy" or with "messy me mommy" and while I could probably raise the bar on some of my expectations in my morning routine, God still loves me messy floor and all just as much as He loves Super mommy and all the perfectly planned time she spends with Him!  I'm really thinking it's all about extending grace and kindness and being honest and real and working hard to turn our comparisons into companionship and our expectations into honest reality.  I want to work on that!

***Which the honest reality now is my *somewhat* clean kitchen is waiting for me to make dinner in it as my kids have that expectation now that the clock is nearing 5 pm.  Adios for now!

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