Comparison trap

The Comparison Trap

I mentioned in my previous post that I actually told one of the beautiful ladies I recently went away with, “Your home intimidates me” while sitting around one of our nightly fires.  I told her the following week that I know she’s in a different phase of her life than I am in and it’s the expectations I have for myself that really intimidate me.

I’ve been talking to a young mom who is homeschooling her kindergartener this year while potty training her 2 year old and caring for her newborn.  I’m not calling her a first time homeschool mom because she’s been teaching her kids since birth, like all the rest of us.  It’s not even her first time with a routine or workbooks.  It is, however, her first year of “official” home education.

And it is her first time as a mom of 3.  She is loving this stage of her life but she’s feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the expectations – expectations that she is placing on herself.  And she’s starting to compare…her home, her kids education, activities, etc.  When I had my third child my older two were much older than this young moms oldest 2 are and I was overwhelmed with all I had to do and we had activities that we did but if I tried to do the activities this mom is doing, and enjoys doing, I would have been in the loony bin!

Read also: Unschooling: The Natural Way of Learning

Problem with Comparison and Expectations

That’s part (most) of the problem with comparisons and expectations, we are all different.  Some of us are energized by going on field trips and being in study groups, others by doing art projects in the school room, science projects in the kitchen, or reading to the kids on the couch, or having a cleaning party with the family, and some people are energized by all of the above.  Some of use unit studies in our homeschool, some use text books, some use only “living” books, some don’t read or watch fairy tales, some use only the philisophy.

We all are caught in the comparison trap from time to time whether we are using other women in our circle, the Proverbs 31 Woman, or even our past (or our dreams of our future self) as a comparison stick.  Comparison is not always a bad thing, it can show us areas we are lacking in or even areas we are doing pretty good in but when we use it to tell ourselves how awful we are doing in certain areas of our life it is a problem.  Right about then is when we cease to see all that God has accomplished through us and start to see all that we can not accomplish without Him, but we tend to drop the “without Him” part and focus on ourselves.

Read also: 27 Things I Wish I had Known Earlier in My Life

When we start to feel overwhelmed we tend to look even more at those we are intimidated by to see where we can do better – and we can’t measure up.  Where we should go is to God in prayer, even if it’s 5 minutes in the shower!  He never leaves our side – He patiently waits for us to consult Him about how and when to teach Suzy to read, the best routine / schedule for our day, which activities are best for OUR family, the best way to clean our bathroom, what meals to cook, and more.

*It may take a few showers to have all these conversations with God or it may take 1 shower where you pour your heart out to God and He gives you tidbits of information throughout the day*

Sometimes, He will even give you the information through a friend, a blog, or Pinterest.  We have to pay attention and we have to test it against His Word.

1) Is this advice / information against the God?  (Yes = STOP here! – No = Keep going)
2) Does this sound like it will fit well with our family? (No = STOP here! – Yes = Keep Going)
3) Do I have the necessary resources (time, supplies, $, support)? (No = STOP here! – Yes = Keep Going)

If you can answer the above questions to your satisfaction, talk it over with your husband and try it for a month or so. If it doesn’t work, don’t hesitate to drop it.  Dropping it does not mean you failed, it means this particular thing does not work for your family right now.


Sadie is a freelance writer documenting the adventures of downsizing from the family home in the suburbs to a mountain cottage in the woods. She share the downsizing details, scoutings of the mountain locations, and her never-ending search for the perfect T-shaped clothesline.

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Kara Bout It