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Smoke and Mirrors

Hi readers. I would love for you to take a moment to look at the picture I posted. This pic is one of me with my father at my sister's wedding a few years ago. While it looks like everything is under control, the pic doesn't show the almost 4 hour car ride the night before to get to the ceremony location. It doesn't show my son's feet digging into my ribs or hitting my face all night as he completed the U.S. men's gymnastics floor routine next to me in his sleep while I lay awake. It doesn't show my purse filled with snack foods to keep my kiddo happy. My flawless hair and makeup was done by professionals, and can I just say, thank the Lord for Spanx. As you can see, this one moment on film didn't capture the entire story. Have you ever caught yourself envying another mom? The mom with the model perfect body despite having four children. The mom who looks like she just stepped off of a catalog shoot with her perfectly coordinated clothing and accessories, not a hair out of place. The mom whose home is so perfectly tidy there is no way in heck children can possibly live there. How about the mom whose food, crafts, and even her children's birthday parties are so perfect that they're Pinterest worthy. With social media ever present it seems like so many moms have it all together, doesn't it? What we often forget to tell ourselves is that the Instagram pic, the Facebook update, that quick peek at them at school drop off, that glimpse of them in the grocery store parking lot is just one moment in time. While it may seem at times that so many people around us are doing better than we are, we have to remember that we really don't know their story. We don't know their struggles.We don't know what happened just before or after that one moment. We also have to remember that there are others out there that don't have as much as we do. There are childless women desperate to conceive who would yearn to embrace a whiny toddler. There are those wondering how they will feed their families tonight. Right now in Syria, there are families fleeing a war, trying to stay together, trying to stay alive. What if instead of sitting in judgement of these "perfect" moms, we instead acknowledged what we envied about them. What if we complimented rather than criticized? What if we asked them, "Who cuts your hair? I love it!" "I love your style. I need to take you shopping with me sometime." "You are such a wonderful chef. Could you give me some quick, easy recipes to prepare for my family?" Imagine how such a simple exchange changes the energy around you. When we criticize it really says nothing about the other person. Instead we reveal our own insecurities and perceived shortcomings. We do it to make ourselves feel better about where we are in our own lives but does our situation actually change? No. Being more positive takes work but the benefits are certainly worth the effort. I bet that you will find yourself not only feeling more positive everyday but you will bring that positive energy with you to brighten other people's days. The biggest advantage is that you will be teaching your children how to live their best life which doesn't involve comparisons and negativity. While we may not know one another, we are all interconnected. My child may later become your child's classmate/friend/spouse/teacher. It's so important that we all agree to do our part to make this world a more positive place for ourselves and our children. After all, each one of us affects our collective humanity. ~HZM

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