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My Secret Plan for Back To School

I have a secret plan for back to school this year.

My secret plan is to avoid comparing myself and my summer to other moms this school year.

If you struggle at all like I do with comparing yourself to other moms, then maybe you too can follow this plan and we can pray for each other. Because somehow when school kicks back up, us moms have a tendency to want to share the amazingness of our summer. We share where we went, what we did, how we bettered ourselves and our family, blah blah blah.

It all sounds great in the retelling, but let’s be real: some of us barely survived summer.

Personally, between the heat, humidity, bored children, limited budget and my severely limited ability to be creative and crafty, I barely eeked by.

At times like these, when summer felt long and uneventful, I’m tempted to compare. So here’s the plan to keep me from doing it this year:

How I'm Avoiding Comparison With Other Moms At Back To School

1. Know my weak spots.

Now this may seem simple enough but I have a lot of them--weak spots. When the kids go back to school and I hear some mom talking about the 3-week fishing and camping trip she took with her family, I’m impressed but not envious; fishing and camping is just not my thing.

But if I hear about how your teenager took initiative to learn a new skill on his own, how you did a mother/daughter Bible study with kids from your neighborhood, or that you spent a month in Hawaii, I’m engaging in a comparison game. And losing.

Maybe for you it’s different. Maybe certain people, topics or material items trigger you to engage in a battle of comparison. Take some time to know your weak spots before the fall routine kicks in.

2. Pray for contentment.

In Philippians 4:12 Paul shared that he had “learned to be content” in whatever circumstance he was in. Now, I can’t say that I have already learned this, but it is my prayer. And sometimes I compare my kids’ abilities, desires, dreams, our finances, jobs, house and vacations to yours.

I know, I’m a mess.

I want the best parts of your life and the best parts of mine, too. But no one can take the blessing without the burdens. So I remind myself there are not so amazing things in everyone’s life and I can’t pick and choose the blessings without realizing the burdens come with them, too. And so I pray for contentment.

3. Rejoice with others.

I can be excited about the month you spent in Hawaii, the new car you got, the summer school review your kids did willingly, or the fact that your children brushed their teeth and showered without prompting every day. I can rejoice with you. Everything you say doesn’t have to be a competition. I don’t need a rebuttal for why things did or didn’t happen in my house and how those things do or don’t qualify me as a good mom.

All too often I’m tempted to make things about me, and prove to you why I’m still a good mom even though I didn’t quite measure up to standards I didn’t even have until I talked to you and realized I came up short. You with me? So I will simply say “awesome” when I hear about your trip, and “amazing” when you tell me about your children’s accomplishments. I’ll do so sincerely. And then I’ll mentally move on, because I don’t need to compare.

Now mind you, this secret plan is in progress. I’m sure it’ll need some tweaks here and there. But it’s a great place to start.

What’s your secret plan for stopping comparison?

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Showing 9 comments
  • Avatar
    Candace Hulbert
    Reply

    Tamara,
    Thank you for speaking life. How can I follow you? I so need more encouragement in my life.
    Your friends,
    Worn & Joyful

    • tcollins
      tcollins
      Reply

      Candace- Isn’t it good to know there are other mamas and women seeking after God together?! You can check out my bio for my blog and Facebook info. Praying for you today!

  • Avatar
    Deborah
    Reply

    Great post. Simply said, yet so true. Sometimes we compare and feel inadequate for not taking the kids to an expensive place. It is easy to forget that we have my blessings in front of our faces and need to be reminded to stay content. Also, it is so true how you said we may view others as having perfect lives, yet we would not want to trade our own faults for theirs. In other words, none of us have a perfect life!

    • tcollins
      tcollins
      Reply

      I can so relate to what you said about not being able to do the same things with our family that others do with theirs! But it’s so true there are so many blessing right in front of us. Praying you and I are open today to see the amazing things God is doing in our own little worlds. Thanks Deborah.

  • Avatar
    Heather
    Reply

    Fantstic and very relatable!! I find myself doing the same thing with Facebook too! So i take a break and step back. I love your thoughts on contentment! And the rejoice with others is a fab tool to handle it. Love! Thanks so much for this and for reminding me there are like-minded folks out there. Blessings!

    • tcollins
      tcollins
      Reply

      Oh Heather- a break from Facebook and other social media is such a good idea! Thanks for the tip. Praying for you as we do this Back to School thing together! Choosing JOY with you today.

  • Avatar
    Anna
    Reply

    Tamara, thanks for the mom’s honest pep talk. I needed to hear that!

    • tcollins
      tcollins
      Reply

      Thanks Anna! It’s always good to know we are not alone.

  • Avatar
    Jackie
    Reply

    Thank you! I read this yesterday and today I received a text with pictures that I usually would have been envious of. I was able to rejoice with them and not compare or covet! God is good!

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