A few weeks ago, I was invited to a Pampered Chef Party. I accepted because the hostess is one of my best friends. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and that the night would end with me in tears.
It all started off OK. I’m pretty comfortable in most social situations. I love getting together with friends and new faces. Glass of wine, good food, great conversations. I thought it’d be cake.
And then, she invited people to join in. To help cook. To cut. To chop. To mince. I was nervous. My palms were sweaty. It was like I was back in junior high school. And the teacher was calling on students. And I didn’t have the answer. I was in panic.
My friends all chopped away. Commented on all of the times they use their Pampered Chef items. How much they love them, and what items they really wanted. You know what I really wanted? Well, besides another glass of wine or four, the pizza cutter. It seemed more up my alley.
And then we got to the rice cooker. And my friends talked about how they have rice all of the time and this cooker does such a good job and makes it so easy and not sticky. At this point, I was fighting back tears. Literally. I’d never cooked rice for my family. Ever.
And then it hit me. I was totally out of my element. And it made me feel like a bad mom. It kept me up that night, almost all night. I decided to talk to my friends about it. And I was actually really surprised to hear that they had their own, much different insecurities. I won’t use any names, but I think it’s important that we acknowledge some of the things that made my friends feel like they are lacking in the parent department. Maybe you can relate to one or all of them.
“I can’t give each one of them the one-on-one attention that they need and want. I try, but it seems that I always fall short.”
“That I don’t do enough artsy-fartsy projects with him, I don’t take enough pictures, and I don’t write down every adorable thing he says.”
“Mine is that as a single mom I am missing giving my kidlet some knowledge/support, etc., that would naturally come from a father figure.”
“I yell entirely too much and sometimes I can’t wait for them to go to bed…even if I haven’t seen much of them that day.”
“Mine is that I sometimes just don’t feel like I do the artsy crafty thing, I don’t do elaborate parties, I don’t dress them super cute, I never hardly take pictures except in my phone, I have four kids and ZERO baby books!! The list is endless really!”
“Sometimes, I don’t want to be touched. They want to give me a hug, especially my 5th-grader, and I have a hard time with it. I am not a touchy-feely person.”
“That I’m not hard enough on him and that I’m too hard on him. That I don’t spend enough time with him since I’m a work-at-home mom. That I haven’t documented every first thing he’s done….I think the best moms are at least a little insecure because they always want what’s best for their kids and they are going to always be worried that they aren’t providing it.”
“I look at my brother and sister-in-law and they really seem to have everything together when it comes to their kids. I feel like I constantly second-guess myself on how I handle issues and often wonder how they would handle a situation and if whatever I do will have some crazy consequence. I definitely have parenting insecurities.”
This is just a small sampling. One conversation. It hurts a little bit to read these. And then I think about rice. And how it’s such a small thing. And why I get so defeated by it. And why we always are comparing ourselves to other moms. And isn’t the best we can do good enough anymore?
Who are we trying to be? Do we want to be all of these perfect things to make our kids’ lives better or impress our friends? Who do you look up to as a motherly figure? What makes you feel insecure? Why?
I know I need to focus more on my strengths. It’s hard to pay yourself a compliment, or accept one from someone else, even. I may not be Martha Stewart; heck, I’m not even close to an intern on her show, I’m sure, but I can tell you what I am.
I’m trying my best. Sure, there’s always going to be room for improvement. But my goal is to try to stop comparing myself to other moms, and give myself a little grace. I hope you all will do the same.
Sara Todd is an Omaha mom who is married with two children. Read her on Fruita Moms.