I have an essay to revise, in need of a title. It’s saved as Comparison Shit. I wrote it a few months ago, uncovering the still raw sting that I eat a lot of comparison shit. My comparison game really kicked off a year or two into parenting. My mothering insecurities are fed by emails regarding my daughter’s behavior at school and my son singsonging Stupid, stupid at his sister; by the screaming just to scream in the elevator; by a bedtime that drags into an hour-long ordeal. My mothering insecurities double when my kids’ misbehavior is witnessed by other parents whose kids, at that moment at least, are docile creatures with clean mouths and combed hair.
I often write my way to an answer. And just as often, I return to a topic, write my way again, hoping for a better answer. I wrote Comparison Shit in a fit of wanting out of the game. And at the edge of jumping into the piece’s revision, I am (again) returning to the topic. And reminding myself what I already know:
I am a great mom and an awful mom, in the swing of a day. But my kids and I belong together, by design. During holy reflective moments, I sense the blessing of our stories unfolding and overlapping. During angsty embarrassed moments, I think none of us will make it to their adulthood emotionally intact.
I am Claire and Grant’s mama, but I am not their full satisfaction. Their deeper heart needs are beyond my love; I pray their hearts open to God’s greater love.
I write my way to the truth: My worth is not found in this singular role of mama, but in the complete love God has for me. I’ll write my way to that truth again and again because I forget his goodness when I am in the middle of stacking my gifts and flaws next to yours. I’ll write my way to that truth again and again because such generosity is unfathomable; because when I do grasp at its understanding, I get it: there is no comparison.
And still, I eat the shit.