I have four kids.
Not just four kids, but 4 kids in 3 years.
Ok, ok, I'm no Kate plus 8 or Octo-mom, which is ok considering my marriage is intact and I'm mentally balanced (most days) - but really, 4 kids in 3 years with no nanny or video cameras on me constantly to keep me in check?
I say this in jest. Because, generally speaking, I am not competitive.
Really, I'm not.
Case in point: Coaching t-ball. The other coaches are screaming at their teams to "drive the line," while I am encouraging my team in their sand castle building abilities.
But apparently, when it comes to being a mom I'm competitive. Seriously? Seriously.
Which, let's laugh for a moment, since if you read this blog you know of my wonderful habit of yelling, and my constant battle with being quick to anger...yet, I am competitive.
Ridiculous if you ask me.
A few weeks ago I went on a late night (ok, it was like 8 pm, but I have 4 kids 4 and under, so it may as well been midnight people) trip to the store. As I was standing in line, there was a mom with a teen and a little baby behind me. Being cordial (as I enjoy doing when I don't have my kids taking random things off the shelf distracting me) I asked her how old her baby was.
"One," she said,
"Oh, I have a one year old too...such a fun age." (Why is it that when I don't have my kids with me, I have to talk about them? COME ON MELISSA!)
"And then they grow up to this," she said pointing to the rather unamused teenage girl with her.
"Ha, ha, ha (like I'm not already scared half to death to think I will have 4 teenagers at once, 2 of which will be girls!) I'm trying to ignore that reality..."
"How many do you have?" And here's my moment of glory, people - the moment when I say how many kids I have and how close together they are so that everyone can pat me on the back telling me I'm Mommy of the Year even though they have no clue who I am.
"I have four."
"I beat you, I have five." Seriously??? SERIOUSLY??? I can't let her win, I totally am a more stressed out, overworked mommy than she is...
"Wow five! After my twins (always the key to winning) and then 2 more in 36 months (my last moment to pull out a win), I am done. Wow, five - that's impressive... "
"Twins? You definitely win...I can't imagine having twins!"
And I walked away inwardly gloating, because I won yet another "who's the craziest mommy" game.
Are you guilty of playing the mommy game too? Or am I the only one, because I know I would lose at any real competition?
But in the last couple of weeks, in those rare moments when I only have one or two or even three of my munchkins, I am still running in circles. Regardless if I have one kid or all four, I'm working endlessly to love and teach, guide and direct my kids. Being a mom, whether or not you have 1 of 19 is a never ending, wonderful, exhausting, rewarding, laborious job. And really, the competition is ridiculous.
I decided, that instead of spending my time seeing who scores higher I should use that time to encourage other moms. I should be intentional with my limited time and my opportunities I have with other moms. I decided, instead of talking about my kids, to encourage the moms I see with how I see they are doing a great job. I decided, instead of seeing the mom who is totally embarrassed by her kid who is having a total melt down and
just thinking to myself that I'm glad it's not my kids this time, that I will be intentional and walk by her and encourage her somehow, even by saying, "We all have these days...hang in there."
Are you intentional when you meet other moms? Do you feel like you are winning the mommy game, maybe losing? Encouragement goes a long way, and Lord knows that there have been times when all I have wanted was for someone to tell me I am doing a good job.
I intend to be that encouragement for someone else.
How about you...