I was stuck in a comparison trap
Mallory Knight struggled her whole life to measure up until she realized her success wasn’t based on others’ opinions.
It wasn't until I became a mother that I realized how easily I fall into a comparison trap.
Around the time I found out I was pregnant with Samuel, my first, I began to seek out other moms for advice.
I read blogs and looked at social media to find answers to my unending questions. Do you breastfeed or do you bottle feed? Do you have an epidural or do you give birth naturally? Do you go back to work or stay at home with your kids?
And I found thousands of thoughts, opinions, and disagreements on motherhood. You should never rock your baby. You must have a gender reveal party. You must have a beautiful, fully furnished nursery. You must have this type of bottle, swaddle, organic soap, diapers.
It was exhausting. I obsessed over planning and trying to gain as much control of the situation as I could by comparing myself to all the moms who looked like they had it together.
I found myself filled with envy, jealousy, and even bitterness, when I would see others have it better than me.
Posing for a photo with my husband, Shane, and our children, Samuel, left, and Sloane.
Never Good Enough
When I look back on it, I have struggled with the giant of comparison for most of my life.
When I was younger, I would always compare myself to my older sister, who was skinnier, smarter, and prettier than me. She was a size 0, and I was a size 4. She would make As, and I would come home with Bs.
I would also get it from my mother. I would come downstairs, dressed for the school day, and I would be judged on what I was wearing and asked where my lipstick was.
I compared myself to my friends, my schoolmates, characters in movies.
I don't believe I ever verbalized my battle with comparison, but I carried around that sense of defeat, and not being good enough, deep in my thoughts.
I would fall apart when I would show up late to any meeting, event, or class, believing everyone was looking at me and thinking, "What is her problem?"
I have more joy every time I confess the fight that is happening within so I don’t have to fight alone.
I would fight for perfection, battle for control, and ultimately fall into a pit of anxiety.
In the past five years, the battle of comparison amplified through social media. I found myself filled with envy, jealousy, and even bitterness, when I would see others have it better than me.
I would see new clothes that I had to have; families that had all the time and money in the world to vacation; people enjoying parties and get-togethers without me. It was toxic and destroying my joy.
Becoming a mom to Samuel and Sloane forced me to face how much comparison had dominated my life.
After the season of seeking all my motherhood advice from the fabulous Google, I wised up and began to ask some of the amazing women God had placed in my life through NewSpring, work and family friends.
I also joined a MOPS organization for moms of preschoolers, and I was connected with mentors that had wisdom and knowledge of what I was going through from their time raising toddlers.
I saw very quickly from them that I was not going to the right source for my answers. Jesus says to seek Him first in all things.
My identity in being the best I can be only comes from the grace of our Savior, Jesus.
In order to fight against my sin, I knew first I had to confess it to these women and ask for help. We would pray with each other, send encouraging texts, and share each other's burdens.
I began to pray more, too. Prayers for myself and my husband to be good parents. Prayers for health and a smooth delivery for my baby. Prayers to see that the only one in control of my children was Jesus, and that my knowledge of true parenting only comes through His word.
God led me to see that my children were knit in my womb specifically for a purpose and plan. And, wait … so was I!
My moms group gave me the love and the wisdom to break out of the comparison trap.
The Social Media Trap
I saw that I had been comparing myself to all of these other women, not realizing that comparison was a dead-end trap. Comparison would not help me grow into my calling as a parent.
The Holy Spirit clearly told me that social media was an idol in my life that I had to cut off.
My friends have helped me continue to battle comparison with the truth of God's word.
I hesitated but then quickly deleted apps from my phone. A one-month fast from social media clearly showed me that comparison was the root to the majority of my problems in my marriage, finances, and friendships.
When I turned back on one social media app, I immediately unfollowed businesses, boutiques, and even some people that I followed.
I had to ask myself, "Why do I even have social media? How can I use it to celebrate life, rather than let it become an enemy that feeds my sinful desires and prevents me from growing spiritually?"
My husband has helped me keep fighting against comparison when it creeps in.
Fighting To See The Truth
Through God's grace and goodness, my friends have helped me continue to battle the giant of comparison with the truth of God's word. I also have an amazing spouse who keeps me hearing the truth of who I am in Christ.
Shane and I openly communicate about our sin and struggles, and we hold each other accountable to daily reading the Bible, praying, and fighting to stay in Biblical community.
We rotate weekly home group on Tuesday nights. We both push each other to go, even when we are beat from our day of work and raising toddlers.
I have been created to specifically love and lead my kids the way God has told me.
Having accountability from Shane and my home group helps me to search my heart for when comparison creeps in. I feel like I walk in freedom and have more joy every time I confess the fight that is happening within, so I don’t have to fight alone.
I am Shane’s wife; Samuel and Sloane's mother. I have been created to specifically love and lead my kids the way God has told me to in His word.
At times, the world creeps in, and I like to compare to see how I am doing. But I have to quickly remember that my identity in being the best I can be only comes from the grace of our Savior, Jesus.