It was more than a week after my youngest son’s birthday when I saw it. A Facebook friend posted pictures of his child’s Ghostbusters-themed party. The cake was perfect, the decorations on point. It was Pinterest perfection. I should’ve done something more like this for Reed’s birthday, I thought.
It took me a minute to realize I was mom-shaming myself for not creating an elaborate celebration for my three-year-old (who was, no doubt, spoiled enough with his gift and tickets to see Spiderman in real life). Why was I craving something more picturesque than my own, loving, happy, authentic life?
And days later, rather than focus on the beautiful memories we created as a family, I was analyzing how it wasn’t good enough; how I could have—no, should have—made it more.
My pastor said in a message once that comparison is the death of contentment. It might sound dramatic, but it’s true. My contentment died the moment I compared. And how sad is it that I would willingly choose a funeral over a birthday? I needed to learn to embrace life—my own, authentic life—without any more deadly comparing.
Ironically, my son will not remember that I bought him a generic cake from the bakery, nor did he care that the off-the-shelf candles were pushed too far down into the frosting. Even so, I found myself dwelling in mom-guilt.
My son’s birthday is just a snapshot of how I let comparisons influence my life every day. In a hyper-connected world, it’s easy for us—and I would argue it’s especially easy for moms—to become discontented with the blessings around us by always focusing on how all things could be more.
My house could be more country chic, my wardrobe better put together, my kids treated to more clever celebrations, my life could be more balanced. When will it end?
It ends when I trust that God is giving me everything I need rather than everything I think I want. It ends when I allow contentment to cover my heart and faithfully acknowledge the provisions Christ has given me.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 ESV
I’ve realized I don’t need the right cake or gifts or balloons to have the life I want or the life I want for my child. (Though the balloons were a huge hit!) God had already given me everything I needed to celebrate my child and make him feel loved. My life is best when I embrace its realness.
God also gave me the ability to look back and see how I missed an opportunity to thank Him for the gift of my child, whose sense of humor and fiercely independent spirit has added so much value to my life.
While I’m not ready to ban social media just yet, I am ready to make a concerted effort to acknowledge God’s overwhelming blessings in my life rather than become overwhelmed chasing a Pinterest-worthy existence. God deserves my thanks, and I would be a fool to reject the comfort found within a contented heart. I’ve learned the gift of being content, and it’s leading me to a peaceful, authentic life.