This past weekend, I got to take my husband and two oldest children to Monster Jam. As I was sitting there watching the action, the last thing I expected was to be challenged. Who knew? Life lessons abound at monster truck rallies.
One of the events in the “down-time” was a quad race. As the group of 8 or so riders started to race around the track, I noticed a particular racer. He started the race at the head of the pack. He had great speed and was able to handle all of the turns and obstacles with ease. He was the clear favorite to win. Then, fear and anxiety started to get the best of him, and he began to constantly look over his shoulder. Instead of focusing on HIS race, and the things he needed to do to run the course successfully, he allowed the other racers to distract him. As the racer continued to look over his shoulder, concentrating on what everyone else was doing, he lost sight of the course. Want to know how he finished? Second to last.
Isn’t it the same way with us as mothers? When our focus is on OUR family and we’re staying true to the course set before us, we’re set. We can handle all of life’s ups and downs with ease, taking life’s stress in stride.
When I start to compare myself to other moms, it’s like my Dr. Jekyll switch is activated. I’m instantly in a bad mood, storming around the house, frantically trying to come up with something that will out-do whatever she’s done that set me off. It doesn’t take much. A simple Instagram photo of a craft project a mom has done with her kids, a status update sharing all of the chores someone has accomplished in a morning, or a tweet about a family experience can send me reeling. I lose sight of MY family. I begin to look over my shoulder and become overwhelmed by what everyone else is doing. And when that happens? I can’t win. I’m not a successful mom when my focus is on other people.
However, when I’m concentrating on my family and on what I need to do, the “track” becomes easier to maneuver. I’m happier. I’m able to take the endless diapers, the dumped out Hot Wheels, the laundry, and the squabbles in stride. I choose activities to do with my kids NOT to out-do another mom or have something to post on social media, but to simply enjoy them…to teach them…to make them happy. And want to know the truth? When my focus is on my kids and creating the best life for them and not on what so and so is doing and how I can out-mom her, everything goes better. Playtime is more fun. Crafts are enjoyable. I’m not stressing about whether I’m perfect enough or whether I’ll have something to brag about on Facebook. If we want to be the happiest and most successful parents, we have to stop participating in the “Out-Mom-a-Thon.”
The track of life is not about the other riders. What the other moms are doing isn’t important. Run your race in the way that makes you happy. Keep your eyes on YOUR track and you’ll be taking all of life’s hairpin turns and crazy ups and downs with ease.