The Pitfall of Comparison
I’ve got a bad habit of comparing myself. Do you?
It started when I became a mother….
He’s already potty trained?
You’re still breastfeeding?
You’re having ANOTHER baby?
Then, as the years went on and I had more children, I became more confident. The comparisons dwindled. My child will wean or take formula when necessary. I’ll take his cue. If I don’t spring for the BPA-Free sippy cup at Target, I need not feel guilty. I know my children and do my best day to day.
Luckily, when it came to school, (so I thought!) I’ve been spared! I don’t have to compare preschools or teachers or spelling test scores! We’re homeschoolers. I’m in a ‘safe zone’.
However, as the weeks and months have unfolded on our first year of homeschooling, the comparisons have been creeping back in.
While chit chatting with other moms at homeschool park day, curriculum fairs, homeschooling blogs….and the dreaded… Pinterest!
I sit down to begin planning my week and all the sudden I’m drowning in what we’re doing compared to others and whether I’m doing too much or not enough for my child.
“She’s reading? Oh. Well, when did she start? Whole language or phonetic approach?”
“You’re doing Saxon?! I just ordered Math-U-See! Will my child be behind? Did I waste my money? I should have researched more!”
Then I jump on Pinterest. ”They did a cute activity for St. Patrick’s Day? I didn’t even know it WAS St. Patrick’s Day!?” Now my child won’t know how to trap a leprechaun or create a rainbow themed snack out of fruit!”
No curriculum for pre-k? Too much curriculum for pre-K? Am I over stimulating my little toddler or slipping into the unschooler unknowns?!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. (Breathing into a brown paper bag.)
I didn’t expect this. I’d envisioned homeschooling as a Hallmark card in which you are in your own world–never questioning your practices or looking over my homeschooling neighbor’s shoulder.
Then, I realized…it is ME. I am comparing myself and my choices to others. My children have no idea the girl from the co-op could read 6 months before they did—nor do they care. If I manage to print out that awesome printable and actually follow through with it, great. If not, I’m sure my child will still be able to find a job once the time comes.
I think this issue will be a process I go through with each child. Although I hope and pray that with each passing day, week, month, and year, I will embrace my own style when educating my child.
Homeschooling may not require a degree in education or a vast amount of training, but it does require confidence. Confidence in ourselves, in our children, and in our Savior.
I turned to the Bible for some help. Help from my Lord who knows my innermost thoughts, fears, and desires…
2 Corinthians 3:4-5: …We are not saying that we can do this work ourselves. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do.
Psalm 112:8: They are confident and will not be afraid; they will look down on their enemies.
And finally James 1: 5-7: But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving it to all people, so he will give you wisdom. But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind. Such doubters are thinking two different things at the same time, and they cannot decide about anything they do. They should not think they will receive anything from the Lord.
I’ve been walking this path lately a bit.
Good reminder to evaluate our lives through HIM…and not our world (or other “non-worldly” homeschoolers)
Thanks for your comment Becky…and I’m glad you can relate! This homeschooling stuff is not for the faint of heart! Blessings to you on your journey!!!!
You are absolutely right, Liz. Confidence in our Savior as well as ‘taking captive’ that self-talk that rattles around in our brains all day are both key. Here’s a favorite Bible verse for reference:
2 Cor 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
The enemy always seeks to distract us from our focus on God, urging us instead to look for our validation from others. I hope that helps!
Two Cents from a homeschooling mom whose kids are now in college and grad school. 🙂
Thank you so much Dana!!!! That is a GREAT quote! I”ll def. be adding that one to my collection! I’m so thankful to hear from a mom who’s ‘been there’ ‘done that’ and has graduated children and struggled with similar brain battles like me 🙂 I appreciate your comment! Have a blessed day!
My pleasure! I have lots of blog posts about Christian parenting and homeschooling if you are ever interested. 🙂 http:www.epikardia.com/blog.
I hope you have a blessed day as well!
I’ll check it out for sure Dana!
Ah! I needed this today! I often wonder if I’m doing enough for my children and my confidence is slim to none. Thank you for the reminder to look to God to help and guide me. Blessings to you!
Thank YOU Cynthia! It brings me peace that other homeschoolers and sister in Christ are going through the same things! It’s so hard to look to God first instead of Google, or people. It’s most certainly a ‘skill’ I need to work on on! Lots of love!
It is funny how we are so aware of judgement in not judging others … and yet we fall in the trap of judging ourselves all of the time and finding ourselves wanting.
Great reminder that we are all unique, just the way God made us!
So true!!! So true! We are our own worst critic…..
Liz, my friend, GREAT post. Thank you. Confidence it takes for sure!!!! I have been really challenged with the thought lately of “make God your audience, not people”. So this is quite timely 🙂 Happy Monday!
I love that, “make God your audience, not people”……GREAT quote! Thanks for your comment Darcy 🙂
Outstanding post!!! Comparing – ugh. What truly makes me laugh is that I am forever telling my girls (and boys) that comparing will never lead to happiness. Over and over I teach them that it is not good nor needed. Yet, I find myself falling into the trap – just like you said – oh, your child is reading? What level of math is your 6th grader on?
Like you though, I think a lot of confidence comes with experience. My seventh child was born within weeks of other friends’ babies and all their little girls are doing far more than my little man. Yet, it does not bother me. Those girls were walking months before but I knew my babe was fine! He is not talking as much, but again – it all levels out. Now if I can just find that peace of mind in homeschooling!!
EXACTLY!!!!!!! I wish I’d included this in my post!!! I’m FOREVER preaching to my boys…”You’re special just the way you are!” “If God had made us all the same the world would be a boring place!”, and “You do your best, and that’s all that matters!” Practicing what I preach, obviously, is a challenge! LOL! 7 children! That is so awesome! I’m sure you have gained quite a bit of perspective and confidence! I can’t wait to gain some years (and more babies) under my belt and keep on learning! As far as the peace of mind in homeschooling….I’m not there yet either! Another blog post, another day :))))
Thank you for a timely post for my life. I worry that I am doing right, that I do enough or too much, etc etc. My wee one is 4 1/2 and we are going it our own on a child led appaorch right now, but I worry. Others seem to do so much, or so I think. Thank you.
Also, I had no idea about leprechaun traps, I guess there is next year!
Thank you again,
I’m doing a lot more child led approach too, Kim! It’s hard for a type A like myself, but I know for my second son, it’s best! I didn’t know about the leprechaun traps before Pinterest! LOL! It’s actually really cute…and here goes that phrase…”maybe next year…”! Blessings to you and thanks for stopping by!
awesome post! Thanks!
Thanks for stopping by Kristina!
Great post!!! You really encouraged me. In the process of preparing my curriculumn to homeschool in September but more importantly preparing my heart and spirit. I really appreciate your genuine, raw, real, and uplifting words. Confidence in myself, my children, and my SAVIOR!!!! Amen! God Bless you my sister…and no comparisons ; )
Amen Heather! It seems there is more prep for the heart than anything else on this journey! Truly ‘training up a child the way they should go’ is easier said than done! Wishing you all the best as September draws near!
ahh I like this post, and had a few laughs because it’s so me.. sometimes less sometimes more.. I am usually overdoing it, thinking that I have to do more just for my boy’s teacher to calm me down saying you’re doing too much !! and I still keep wondering how do “these other homeschoolers” get to do ALL THAT !! lol, it’s what you say having trust in Allah/God to take care of what matters and for us to trust in HIM to guide our children and all of us.
Good knowing I’m not alone in this, God bless,
I’m so glad you could relate Myriam 🙂 Whether we homeschool or public or private…we’re all still moms just stressing about all the same stuff! We def. need the Lord! Thanks for stopping by and reading! The HHM’s and I appreciate it 🙂
I agree with this! Plus, then I feel bad when I”M the mom that is inspiring guilt or insecurity in others. I feel like screaming “YES, my kid is an awesome………… (fill in the blank) BUT it’s at the expense of say, music lessons, US history and living in an organized house!!” (But, I don’t really want to say that right in front of my teen kids who then question me at home about if I’m doing a good enough job!!! LOL)
We all make tradeoffs and if you are thriving at SOMETHING, SOMETIMES, that is all that matters! I have the benefit of being able to look back now and realize this. Just think of the easier path we are paving for our own kids to homeschool. I think a lot of our insecurity comes from not having been home schooled ourselves… maybe?
I agree!!! I’m constantly comparing my own childhood experiences to my childrens’…and I feel really insecure about it. But….as hard as it is to admit..they are their own people and their experience can be just as special at home than at school! Thanks so much for stopping by!!!!
GREAT post, Liz! It made me giggle a few times too. It seems so silly to compare – but it happens. But as you said, I am so thankful to have a God who is able to give me confidence in HIM 🙂 Thank you for this great post!
Awww! Thanks Carlie!!! God is good 🙂
Such a great post… still cracking-up over the “I didn’t even know it WAS St. Patrick’s Day.” Thanks for sharing! Loved it!
Yes! Comparing is all too easy to do!!
Hello! I am a first year homeschooling mom and just found this website today. Boy, it was fun to read your post. This pitfall is unfortunately one of my biggest ones. Comparing myself to others was something I continual battled throughout school. I often look back with disappointment at the things I chose to pass on or people I would avoid because I felt I would not be “as good” as someone else…yuck! What a lie from the enemy. Now, here I am a mom of 3 at 38 and a Christian for 30 years…I thought by now I would have moved past my insecurities. Reality is that when you have kids it seems to starts all over again (if it ever went away) AND with a vengance. What has happened to these dear sweet people that I have known forever and now that we have kids there is the constant push and pull of what one kid has or has not…or what one kid is doing or not doing. Thankfully, God DOES provide wisdom when you ask (not that I always operate in ‘wisdom”) and I have been able to avoid situations, taper conversations, and select my outlets carefully. For example, we do not FaceBook at all. Not that FB is bad, but I know my areas of weakness. I really believe that that is half the battle and a whole lot of wisdom :o) How can you fight the good fight if you don’t know the kinks in your own armor? Thankfully, I can honestly say that even if this is a personal struggle, you can have victory in this area and be truly happy and content…what a concept :o) Thanks for the honesty in your post – God bless!