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Why We Chose: Efficiency and Simplicity (and why they don't always play nicely together)

Preface: I really think this post is a crazy ramblefest, but I'm hoping you'll stick with me here and maybe even be able to relate. It's so easy to read all the amazing mommy and entertaining and just-plain-life blogs out there and fall into what I affectionately refer to as "mompetition". You know you've seen it. You've felt it. Heck, you've probably contributed to it and delighted in waving your flags of accomplishment about all the things you that make you feel (and look) like supermom.

I admit it.

I've done it.

I've showed countless pictures of homemade bread. I've posted albums of photos of the nursery I redecorated and the curtains I designed and sewed myself for the munchkin's room. I've made Facebook updates talking about how insanely and supernaturally productive my day was, all with a baby attached to my hip. Or back. Or maybe at her grandparents'.

And you know what?

There's really nothing wrong with saying what you did, or being proud of your accomplishments, or even showing the pictures to prove it. But somewhere along the line, we as moms (and I know this blog is for everyone, but I'm really talking to moms right now) start to feel inferior when we don't match up, can't keep up, won't measure up.

For crying out loud, why is that???

I can't even tell you how often I feel personally inferior when I see other moms sew their own clothes or have energy for frequent romantic interludes with the hubster or make their own three-tiered birthday cake. But they weren't rubbing it in. I was feeling insecure, as if it was my duty as a wife and a mom to be able to be exactly the same.

And therein lies the problem. We are constantly looking outward to compare ourselves to others, and rarely looking inward to see how we can be the best mom and wife to our families as we can.

Can I get an amen?

So how does this all fit into efficiency and simplicity? It does, I promise. I am going somewhere with this.

My full-time job, the one that provides a paycheck in dollars and cents, requires me to be ΓΌber efficient and organized. Project plans are essential. And it's started to creep into my every day home life as well. I wrote a project plan for returning to work after maternity leave.

I'm not kidding.

I also wrote one recently for my daughter's first birthday, which is coming up in a little more than a month. We have one in progress for our home renovations. For Pete's sake, I wrote a tutorial, complete with photos and web links, on how to peel and slice an avocado when I asked my hubster to make tacos one night. I have lists on what to take to get out the door in the morning, lists for what to accomplish on the weekend, lists of guests to parties that have no date yet, lists of what to pack for unscheduled vacations. For the first couple of months when I went back to work after leave, I used to cook all our family dinners for two weeks on alternate Sundays, and freeze them with a chart on the fridge so we all knew what we were eating on any given day.

It probably sounds like OCD. I don't have OCD. I'm just all about efficiency.

However, sometimes my drive toward efficiency makes more tasks for me to manage and leaves little to no room for just chilling the heck out. So I started buying food in bulk and figured out a handful of meals I could quickly whip up on week nights. We eat the same thing over and over, but hey, we aren't starving. I stopped planning a tightly themed first birthday party for iBaby and just decided to have good friends and family come and hang out. I'm no longer making the cake. That's what bakeries are for. $8 smash cake? I'm in. Themed food and decorations. Um, no. Not this time.

These types of "stepping back" decisions are really hard for me to make. They require enormous humility because I'm still comparing myself to all my other amazing mom friends who appear to be keeping up with things way better than I ever could.

But guess what. We're all amazing moms. We love our kids and want the very best for them and would do anything for them. We go days without washing our hair, sniff test our clothes, rarely get a hot meal, wipe butts and mouths and piles of stuff off the floor that come from both places, and need large quantities of under-eye concealer. We take deep breaths, apologize, hug, wipe tears, kiss boo-boos, lose sleep, worry, research the best option, make big mistakes, have huge successes, smile, laugh and cry. We wash clothes and dishes and sticky fingers and toys that fell in the toilet and the family dog and rarely windows.

You're awesome whether you make you mac & cheese from scratch or from a box. You're awesome whether that broccoli came from your garden or the freezer section. You're awesome if that scarf came from Kmart or from yarn you spun yourself from the alpaca living in your back yard.

Because you're a mom, and that means you rock.

Sorry for that little digression, but it needed to be said.

Anyway, I guess my point is that it's okay to choose simplicity, and it's okay to want to be efficient but decide instead to take the scenic route. And it's okay to be you and not someone else, because you are exactly what you family needs.

What do you think? Have you experienced mompetition yourself? Do you struggle with making comparisons (The Bible says they are odious. Did you know that? Comparisons stink!)?

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