“How can we change our playground interactions from times of discouragement to encouragement? What are some ways we can build up the other mothers in our lives instead of seeking to get ahead in the race? Here are seven ways to combat competition in motherhood.”
Inevitably, as soon as children come into our lives, the comparison game begins. In the early days discussions regarding sleeping, eating, and diaper habits consume our conversations. Soon afterwards, we progress to comparing and contrasting the brilliance of our child’s language skills, walking dexterity, or artistic abilities.
These conversations can slowly turn from simple observations to divisive competitions. We tend to compete not just in what our children can do, but also in what we can provide. We seek to offer the best nursery décor, strollers, birthday parties, sporting activities, and educational opportunities in hopes of securing everything needed for success and happiness in life.
When we race against one another, the motherhood hamster wheel spins faster and faster, leaving us worn and weary in our pursuits.
How can we change our playground interactions from times of discouragement to encouragement? What are some ways we can build up the other mothers in our lives instead of seeking to get ahead in the race? Here are seven ways to combat competition in motherhood:
Consider instead of Compare
It might appear that the best way to avoid competition with others would be to just avoid these sort of discussions all together. However, the reality is that we need one another. Motherhood gets lonely, and we all feel insecure in knowing what to do. Hebrews 10:24-25 instructs, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Rather than look over the fence at another’s life and assume they’re our competition, we have the opportunity to look into their lives and consider how to cheer one another along in the daily demands of motherhood.
Competition in motherhood is always an exercise in futility. The reality for each of us is that we are on a one-of-a-kind motherhood journey. Whether raising boys or girls, toddlers or teenagers, your children are unique and the circumstances you face are yours alone. You may be running your race on terrain quite different from another mother. Would you expect someone on a bike to compete with someone in a car? Rather than spend our days comparing and contrasting the hardships or advantages we face, we can seek to be women who give thanks to the Lord in all our circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 encourages us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Being a thankful mother is a powerful way to be a peace with others.
Abide in the Word
On the eve of His death, Jesus told his disciples, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). We don’t bear fruit by getting ahead of others; we bear fruit by abiding in Jesus. Mothering trends ebb and flow, but God’s word provides a secure foundation on which to build our homes.