Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Women's Hierarchy

Considering I myself am a woman, I feel compelled to discuss something I continue to see over and over throughout my lifetime.
I hope it’s not just me, because then I would feel really stupid... but what I see in myself and I have overheard in others, is that as women, we rate ourselves against our friends, strangers online, and people at the store.

We put ourselves on some kind of crazy measuring stick, and we choose our “spot” based solely on our comparison to everyone else.
For example..
While shopping at Target, we see a woman with more children than we have. She’s happy! The children are smiling and getting along, laughing together, and all wearing clean clothes with nary a crusty, dried-booger nose to be found. The woman, we observe, is dressed in adorable, mostly-current fashion and carrying a perfectly stocked diaper bag with every necessity neatly in its place and accessible at a moment’s notice. She’s thin, appears to exercise regularly and obviously only feeds her family the highest quality hormone-free, organic, whole foods available.
I hate her.
I love what she stands for, but I want to BE her.
She is obviously a better mother, wife and woman than I am.
She wins.

Turning around in a huff to walk in ANY other direction, we see a woman with “only” one child. She looks grumpy. Her child is dirty, missing a shoe, snotty nose running down his chin, and he appears to have a sucker stuck in his hair. She is wearing a shirt stained by both bleach AND some random tomato product. She has obviously not washed her hair today... perhaps this week, and her idea of exercise is dragging her child past the sugary cereal as he kicks and screams about marshmallow filled boxes of wonderfulness.
CLEARLY I am better than HER.
I made it out of the house today with washed hair.
None of my children are that dirty and they all have two shoes on their feet.
I’m somewhere above her, but far below the perfect mom on the other aisle.

We get an email from a friend.
She’s announcing her 8th baby in 10 years!
After an eye-roll and deleting a comment about “don’t you know how that happens?” we decide on the obligatory “Congrats!” and hit “send”.
She home-schools all of her children, they grow and can all their own vegetables, make almost everything from scratch - including many clothes. She makes her own detergent, has the most child-friendly home EVER, and LOVES nothing more than being a mom. She is always positive, always patient, always smiling and oozing happy-happy-gooeyness. Her children are super polite and well-mannered, but may not always be the cleanest kids on the block.
She’s a better mom than me.
For sure.
I fed my kids pop-tarts for breakfast.
She probably made Eggs Benedict.
However, I am WAY cooler than she is.
I would like to be that happy and care-free though.
I feel guilt VERY deeply by merely observing her life.

These aren’t the only women we compare ourselves to. OH, no.

There are plenty of others out there. They come in all shapes, sizes, and economic classes.
She’s thinner, she’s fatter, she’s happier, she’s wealthier, she’s got more kids, younger kids, older kids, who has their hands the most “full”, who has the most volunteer projects, who has the most accolades, who has the most blog readers or followers, who has WHATEVER better or more than me.

I am sad to admit, I have thought these things before.

I have been that judgemental woman.

I have been that comparison-hungry mom who sizes herself up against you, your children, your neighbor and whoever else I find to compare myself to.

But late last night I had a realization.

Do you know what is at the heart of this whole comparison-extravaganza?
(other than a serious mental disorder?)

It’s fear.

We all have basic questions we ask about ourselves.

We ask our parents, our friends, our family, our neighbors, our spouse and our children the same questions.

Am I good enough?
Do you love me the way I am?
Will you ALWAYS love me - no matter what?

It’s security, or the lack thereof. It’s a neurotic need for approval and I’m not looking in the right place.

Instead of asking the right person the right question, I ask myself.

Am I good enough? Well... look around the house. Dirty dishes, dirty clothes, dirty floors, dirty children. Nope. Not good enough.

Do you love me the way I am? Hmm... probably not. I’m not looking that great lately, I could stand to lose several pounds and I am never going to be that crunchy-granola, home-schooling, perfectly-clean-house, mom-of-the-year.

Will you ALWAYS love me? No matter what? My child stormed out of the house on the way to catch the bus this morning because I didn’t give him the correct breakfast today. Clearly his love for me is fickle.

Maybe it’s just me.

Or maybe not.

But then...
Do you know what I realized?
I can only be the best ME that I can be.
That’s the ME that God made me.
Crazy, bad-with-numbers, lazy about putting laundry away, finds any excuse not to mop floors, can’t stand children’s craft projects, thinks glitter is from the devil, infrequent child-bather, and rarely on time anywhere... me. May never have a pedicure, good intentions-bad follow through, once-a-month-or-less duster of knick-knacks... ME!

I know it’s not about me. Life, this life, this... stuff. It’s not about me.
It’s not about being the best homeschooling, crunchy-granola, home-made laundry detergent making, super-stylish mom-of-the-year. It’s about being the best CHRISSY that I can be FOR CHRIST’s purposes. It’s about being the best child of GOD that I can be. It’s about being who HE created me to be and for THAT purpose alone.

I also realized that those women I compare myself to... I am seeing what I want to see! 
I see the pretty (or not so much) picture on the outside! I only see the part that woman shows to the world. I only see a tiny piece of the iceberg and create the rest of it inside my own thoughts. Any guesses where those lies come from?
John 8:44- You belong to your father, the devil,
and you want to carry out your father's desire.
He was a murderer from the beginning,
not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.
When he lies, he speaks his native language,
for he is a liar and the father of lies.

So... here is my prayer for today... and for as long as it takes.

I want to see myself (and see others) the way Jesus sees them.

I don’t want to look at myself as better or worse than other women.

I want to see myself as the wife of a wonderful man who loves me dearly, treasures me, and calls just to hear my voice.

I want to see myself as the woman He created to be the mother of these 7 kiddos.

I want to see myself as a daughter of the King. Nothing more, nothing less.

And I want to see you that way, too.


  1. Great thoughts. No matter who you are, you can always find someone better or someone worse. Thankfully we only have One person to compare to.

    Besides, a fully stocked diaper bag is way over rated. Where's the adventure in that?

  2. Amen sister! We ARE royalty! (even if my clothes come from Target and Kohls, and I drive a dirty mini-van with trash & crumb-covered floors!) :-)

  3. It's definitely not just you! I think most women compare themselves to other women but few dare to talk about it or admit it. Kudos to you for bringing it up! Prior to reading your post, I just asked a friend how she does all that she does because I think I was doing some comparing and thinking, "uh, I don't think I can do all that." Anyway, I like what you said, "I can only be the best ME that I can be."

  4. Hey Chrissy,
    How come you didn't say hi to me when you saw me in Target? Yes, it looked like I only had one kid, with one shoe and a sucker in his hair. But that is because my other kid had stolen his other shoe and was hiding under a clothes rack with it.
    I think we do this crazy thing to ourselves. But the more we talk about it, the more we admit we think this way and commit to being different the less we believe it and the stronger a real sisterhood can develop.
    Thanks for keeping this conversation happening.

  5. I just found you blog and I think I love you! LOL!

  6. WOW! This is so amazingly good. So encouraging and so real! Thank you. I can identify!

  7. This was wonderful- seriously, I wish the judgment would just stop and we could all just BE! thanks


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