Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lessons Learned at Kindergarten Pick-Up

The other day, I was standing outside of my child’s school waiting for pick up. As usual, I started a conversation with one of the other mothers. We were discussing how amazing a friend of ours was and about the many acts of chesed (kindness and giving) she was always doing.

“Why can’t we all be like that?” she asked.

Now, normally, I would have agreed. I would have shaken my head in shame that we can’t all be superwomen, and have sighed. But for some reason I was in a different place on this day.

“Because Hashem gave each of us different talents,” I replied. “We’re not all supposed to be amazing at the same things. I’m sure you’re terrific at some things.”

She paused for a second, and then seemed to unpack her anxiety at my feet.

“Wow,” she said. “That’s true. I guess he made me an amazing baker.”

“Well,” I said, “That’s definitely not one of the talents he gave to me. If we all had to rely on my baked goods, we’d be mighty skinny.”

And we had a great laugh. And then they opened the doors for us to retrieve our kids.

The conversation lasted for all of 5 minutes, but I’ve been reflecting on it ever since. I live among absolute superwomen. Everyone has children to look after - some with more than a few. Everyone runs a house with no assistance beyond perhaps a once-a-week cleaner. We don’t have nannies, we cook for small armies each week, we send our kids to school in relatively clean clothes and many of us work outside the home.

Many of us feel like this on any given day


And yet, we all seem to have the propensity to compare ourselves to others. How many times have I heard these sentences said by women to other women?

“Your house is so clean. How in the world do you do it. Mine is such a mess.”

“You’re the best cook. My food isn’t that tasty.”

“You’re always helping others. I barely have time for my own family. How do you do it?”

We all have a lot on our plates and it’s great to learn from others. But what we tend to do, instead, is to compare ourselves to others. And if we’re only seeing part of the picture, and only comparing one character trait of ours to that of someone else, we will often fall short.

Here is how we assume everyone else's house looks

While one friend may be a superwoman at certain activities, I’m a superwoman at time management, fast dinner preparation and homework help. And if I compare my talents to hers, I’ll always fall short and I’ll always feel inferior. But who said that I have to be perfect at the things that she does well? The areas in which I am strong are important too, and help my family to keep running. And the areas where I’m weak? Well, we can’t be great at everything, and we can always learn with baby steps.

Hashem gave each of us different talents. I greatly admire the talents that my friends have – but I don’t have to try to mimic or surpass their talents. I’ve got some of my own; they are different ones than they have, but no less important.

The pressure is off ladies. You’re each amazing and talented. Let’s keep that in mind as we admire our friends and recognize how awesome each of us is in her OWN way.

Lessons to be learned at the kindergarten pick-up.

Now let’s hope I can keep my own words in mind next time I look at a friend and wish I were more like her.

Each Supermom to the rescue with HER talents!

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