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How to stop yourself from competing with other moms

MOM,DAUGHTER,FUN
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"You do you" might be a cliche, but it's something all we mothers need to take to heart.

When I first discovered the world of Catholic blogging, I stumbled across a few crafty Catholic mom blogs. They weren’t crafty the way I was crafty … for instance, they never ripped up old clothes to make a Bloody Mary Halloween costume. They were legit crafty. They made paper mache and fondant for saints’ days and name days. They had Jesse tree tutorials and St. Lucia Braided Bun recipes. They sewed. They were next-level craft queens, and I thought that to do Catholic momming right, I needed to become one of them.

So I tried. My base level crafting skill was about here when I started.

And y’all, it was about there when I gave up, too.

Try as I might, craftiness just wasn’t my thing. And because I was equal parts jealous and bitter of moms who could craft paper bags into Nativity scenes, I decided that they were setting the bar too high. They were pinteresting too much and making the rest of us look bad. So I got snarky about it, and hurt some of their feelings in the process.

I didn’t meant to hurt their feelings, so I backed away from the whole subject for a while. Then life happened and kept happening, and I got way too busy to worry about anything other than remembering to throw birthday parties for my kids — using all the store-bought everything, natch.

But this weekend I came across an article at Mother’s Niche that brought all that angst flooding back — and gave me some perspective on the mommy wars that I wish I’d had five years ago:

And all of a sudden motherhood turns into a witch hunt where moms want to raise complaints about anything out of the ordinary: “Stop with the elaborate snacks,” “stop being so happy!” or how about, “Stop volunteering for everything, you’re making the rest of us look bad.”

Since when does our value as moms decrease when another shines? And why do we feel guilty if our joys aren’t in the same things? Is it possible that the “Pinterest-obsessed” mom might actually find an incredible amount of joy in being creative, and isn’t out to shame the rest of us into feeling like we aren’t enough? If it’s not our thing to cut out a shamrock banner and turn the toilet water green, then let’s find joy in what is our thing, and not demand that other moms lock up their scissors.

Ten thousand amens, y’all. Sewing was never going to be my thing, nor was cake-decorating. But I did find that I can braid a pretty decent bread — when I have the time and patience for it.

You know what is my thing? Singing off-key and dancing with my kids. Going to the playground and having monkey-bar races, seeing who can do the most pull-ups, or turning a playset into an obstacle course. I’m the mom that takes her kids to see the live taping of American Ninja Warrior at 2 a.m. because how could we miss that?!

I’m not the mom that has a sewing kit in her purse and can fix a skirt in an instant. Usually I’m not even the mom that remembers basic supplies like extra diapers or Band Aids … and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize that this is okay. It’s okay that I’m not crafty and don’t sew, it really is. I have friends who are crafty and do sew, and my kids love going to visit them and experiencing a totally different environment.

And you know what? Their kids love visiting me and test-running my workouts for the next day. They love telling their parents how many burpees they did or that I let them pull a fire hose. It’s not just okay that I have different talents than my fellow moms — it’s awesome. We all shine in our own ways.

So if you’re in the throes of the mom wars, just let it go. Step away from the craft scissors if they’re making you crazy, and let the mom who loves them pick them up. Figure out what makes you shine and then just shine, mama. Remember — we’re all in this together.

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