I was very disappointed in myself when I realized that I was not the mom who makes her own salad dressing.
That may sound a little crazy but let me explain. I watched a youtube video of a mom who made all her food from scratch: bread, pasta, salad dressing, etc. She picked the apples from her backyard orchard and made homemade applesauce that her kids loved. She also grew a large garden so she could can her own home-grown organic vegetables for her family to eat over the next year. She did this all while running a business, a farm, and homeschooling her six kids. Phew, I am wore out just reading about it. It looked great in her video, it showed that she loved her family so much and this was just a small way for her to show them her love. I didn’t feel bad before I watched the video but now, I feel that I have let my family down.
Sound ridiculous? It was.
I love my family just as much as she loves hers. I would lay down my life for my family, but sorry kiddos your ranch dressing is still coming from the grocery store.
This is the ugly truth of comparison. We see the Pinterest moms on social media, the ones who bring perfectly decorated homemade cupcakes to the class party when we felt lucky to have enough time to stop at Walmart and pick up a package of Oreos to bring.
Most Christian influencers on Tik Tok only show the good times; they never seem to have the struggles we do: sick kids, financial issues, disagreements with their spouse, lack of sleep due to overwhelming demands. But we all face daily struggles and comparing ourselves to those that only show the pretty side of things is inherently dangerous to our mental health.
Rule #1: Don’t believe everything you see on social media or the internet.
Be happy for those that have a spotless house while you continue to wipe off the boogers your toddlers have wiped on the walls, that is perfectly normal (please tell me that is normal). The mom down the street who fixes a four-course meal every night for her husband and kids is secretly wishing she had put chicken nuggets and french fries in the air fryer for dinner so she could have a few minutes to go on a walk with her kids instead of spending all afternoon in the kitchen cooking dinner, but her Instagram shows only what she wants you to see.
Comparing our lives breeds jealousy, depression and resentment and we begin to have negative thoughts that we are not good enough. You wish you had a bigger house, or if only my husband would do that for me like my friend’s husband does I would be happy, or if I had Ann’s job then all my issues would go away because more money will solve all my problems.
We homeschool our two youngest children, somedays it’s a blessing, somedays not so much. I have watched tons of youtube videos about how other homeschool moms have renovated their homes or added an addition onto their house to accommodate a designated area for their kids classroom, complete with lockers and a mini library. I have the dining room table and totes, but it works for us and we are doing well. No one knows your family better than you. There are always going to be the mommas whose homes are immaculate, they are willing to stay up till midnight cleaning their homes to perfection after the kids go to bed and then wake up at 5am to get a shower, complete hair care and skin routines and then fix a full breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, pancakes, and fruit smoothies
Over the years I have learned what works for us and I am happy with it. The house may not be immaculate, but I got sleep so I’m not cranky with my kids and husband (Iced coffee might have something to do with that also). I am also thrilled if I get an uninterrupted 15 min shower and the kids often have frozen breakfast burritos and yogurt for breakfast. Hey, it works for us.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul states “… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation….”
When we become depressed, jealous, and angry and we begin asking questions about why we are struggling and feeling like we are the only ones without the “perfect life” remember that God has truly blessed us and there are a lot of people who wish they were in your house instead of sleeping in their car, eating your meal of leftovers instead of scavenging through a dumpster, and even though they may drive us crazy so many people wish they had a family like yours who loves them.
Remember to stop comparing and take a minute to mop up the blessings that are all around you.
Tammy Bassett is a speaker and the author of the Mopping Up Your Blessings blog. She was born and raised a country girl who’s roots run deep in the mountains of Appalachia. She has worked a wide variety of jobs ranging from radio to insurance agent. She is now a stay-at-home mom, who along with her husband, are raising five daughters (ages 10 to 25), seven cats and one dog. She uses her accounting and business administration degree to help run her busy household.
She loves spending time with her family and homeschooling her two youngest children. She spends a lot of her day trying to conquer the obstacles in her home. With four of her children still living at home the laundry pile (nicknamed Mt. Wash-more) is her nemesis. Some days she wins and some days she doesn’t, but she always gets up the next day and tries again.
She also loves camping with her family as long as there is a camper with air conditioning, a comfy bed, and indoor plumbing. Her downfall is her obsession with iced coffee. Thankfully the closest Starbucks is an hour from her home, or she would be broke. She also loves reading and learning new skills such as homesteading, being more self-sustainable, gardening and foraging.
She relates the most to her favorite animal, the alpaca. They are both kind of weird and look like they are two months past due on a haircut. Much like alpacas she makes a gentle humming noise when happy and if irritated she often stamps the ground with her feet. Her husband has refused to buy her an alpaca much to her disappointment.
But more than anything, she loves the Lord and is growing more in her faith each day and hopes to inspire others to do the same. She wants everyone to understand that God’s grace is truly amazing and has changed her from the inside out and he can do the same for you.