Thursday, November 14, 2013

Apples & Oranges {On Comparison}

Lately, I've gotten a few calls about coffee dates, Tupperware/Trades of Hope/Origami Owl/Mary Kay parties, and play dates. And I keep saying no. And I feel badly about that, because I want to do all most of those things, but I just feel so behind on life that the thought of adding even one more thing to my plate right now makes me want to cry. Because I'm sorry, but I can't go have a coffee date when I have no clean clothes. Or no silverware. Or haven't showered in....many days. I just can't.

But I also feel like a terrible friend, because we've all had those friends who you keep inviting to go do things, and they keep saying no, no, no, to the point where you just want to tell them, 'Look, when you can make some time in your schedule for me, why don't you give me a call?' I TOTALLY AM THAT FRIEND RIGHT NOW, and I hate it.

And the other day, I got kind of down and started thinking and wondering how they all do everything so well while I feel like I can barely keep up. How do they have time to start the day with quiet time, do their hair and make-up, make elaborate egg and waffle breakfasts, iron their husband's clothes, work out, shower and do their hair/make-up again, do the school drop off/pick up, clean the house, have coffee or shopping dates, write thank you notes, craft cute little Christmas decorations, stop at Starbucks, make dinner, read books to their kids, bathe their kids, do the budget, spend time with their husband, and read bestsellers. How do they do it?! Are they taking meth, because they seriously must not sleep...ever.

And then luckily, I kept thinking: but what if they don't do it all either?

What if they have a housekeeper?
What if they workout at a gym where there's childcare?
What if they only have one kid?
What if they have more than one kid, but they're in school all day?
What if their husband works a predictable schedule and isn't often called in on weekends?
What if they're an extrovert and make time in their schedule for coffee and playdates because it's important for their sanity?
What if they don't work out at all?
What if they eat out a lot?

Because I'm not any of those things. I don't have any of those things. I don't do any of those things. Justin's work schedule is weird, and sometimes he doesn't have a day off for 10-14 days at a time. I have two kids, one of whom only sleeps if we really, really keep to the same EXACT schedule every day, which doesn't leave a lot of room to just play during the day. Right now for me, working out is more important for my sanity than coffee dates are. I'm an introvert, and I really need some time alone with a good book to feel recharged. I spend most evenings and naptimes either working on our budget, editing photos, or folding laundry. There are probably people out there who are better at managing and scheduling their time than I am. I like to sit down next to Justin at the end of a long day, snuggle up, and watch some Bones. That's just the way things are for me.

But so what if someone does have a housekeeper? Or if they can afford to eat out a lot? Or if they can work out while their kids are awake because their gym has childcare? Or if they tend to clean after their kids are asleep instead of watching TV? It doesn't make me better than them, nor them better than me. It makes our circumstances different. It makes their needs, and wants, and priorities different than mine. I forget sometimes that what is true for our family isn't necessarily true for everyone else. It's apples and oranges, really.


And as for the being a bad friend business...well, I don't know. 
I haven't figured all that out yet. 
Hopefully, they'll grant me a little grace until the yes's can become as frequent as the no's, because I just can't do any more than I can do.


  1. I think you are normal. :) That's the good news! I struggle so often with comparing. It's really a terrible, nasty thing, and that quote? Exactly. It robs us of joy because we find ourselves looking at Instagram pictures or posts on Facebook from those friends and going, "Lucky." Another thing I've been circling around in my head a lot lately is that other quote about comparing your insides with others' outsides. SO TRUE. Don't we post our best things (okay, not all the time)? I know I try to. "Look! I got dressed today! Look at the great meal I made today!" Doesn't mean I looked like that the last 2 weeks since I posted a mirror shot of myself dressed and my hair done...or that I cooked those meals daily. Okay, now I'm rambling... :) But you know what I mean. It's a hard thing to not do sometimes, comparing.

  2. I asked at my most recent MOPS meeting when the other moms of two+ at my table felt like they could get anything else done besides keep their families fed, clothed and alive. I feel like that's all I can do. All of them said they still feel this way! Some of them are girls I think have things so much more together than I do, but we all still feel like we're barely getting by.

  3. Have you read (in your loads of free time...) Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain? Being an introvert, it made me feel so much better about not being that social butterfly and knowing why I need that quiet space at home, maybe with the dishes dirty because it was important to have that silence at the moment.
    I hear you on comparing. I love working, it makes me a happier Mom, but seeing SAHM's who seem to have it together, look amazing, and go out with friends makes me feel so jealous. Especially when my students are naughty and I think, "I could be home with my baby instead of telling you to get off Snap Chat." As women in this culture we're prone to comparing, usually without all the facts of the whole person, and it just needs to stop, but it feels impossible to do it when it's so normal in every facet of our lives.

  4. Great post! Do what is best for you and your family first, and then fit in your friends- true friends understand. And if going to playdates/coffee dates/etc is going to stress you out because of the way life is right now, then your friends will totally understand. There will be plenty of time in the future for you to go to these things- do what is best for you now and don't try to do all the things (says the lady who is queen of trying to do ALL the things!)

  5. I can relate to this all so much. I want to be a good friend - but I also have to be a good wife and mother. Most of the time I can't do even one of those things as well as I would like.

  6. I feel like this more often than not. Seemingly, my friends do it all and they do it all well. They have gyms with day care and their kids nap (without a fight) and they have tons of time to pursue their businesses or blogs. I can't keep up! Trying to do all of the things is one thing, but doing them all well? Doesn't go so well. Chin up, girl! :) You are doing a good job of being a mom and wife-- everything else will fall into place.

  7. I love this post. I feel the same do some moms seem to do it all? But we are all rockstars in our own way, no better or worse than each other. Even when you say no, ill keep inviting you. Life is busy and hard, and with every yes is us saying no to something else (a shower, mopping, working out). It's all about balance. You are a ROCKSTAR, a super mom, crafty, a devoted wife, a dedicated church member and so much more.


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