[Editor's Note: This post originally ran in 2013, and was well-received. I wanted to share it with you again to remind us all of the importance of being brave enough to be ourselves.]
I’m waiting at a stoplight when I see one again: an oval sticker on the back of a minivan that reads “26.2” (or sometimes “13.1″).
Are you tired of those yet? Because I am. And not because I think those who have completed a marathon don’t deserve to boast. They do. Completing a 26.2 mile race requires significant training and determination. They have joined an elite group of distance runners.
But I don’t like how broadcasting their accomplishment like this can make the rest of us feel “less than.”
You know what I’m talking about. It’s the same way you feel when that friend posts photos of her Hawaii vacation, which comes on the heels of her business trip to France.
And these women are raising children the same ages as yours. Why am I not doing more with my life, you think. It appears your daily struggles to keep the family on track will never amount to what others are pulling off.
Yet there is a cure for this feeling of being “less than.” And it’s not called “greater than.” As soon as you find an accomplishment that puts you ahead of moms around you, someone will top it. Forget making life and motherhood a competition. The answer to “less than” is “equal.”
So you’re not Super Mom. Who cares that you haven’t finished a marathon or hosted a successful benefit or traveled the world? What aspirations do you have? Would it be equivalent to completing a marathon for you to sign up for a class at the community college that might start you on the road to that degree you’ve been considering? Would pulling together a family trip to the camp you grew up going to as a kid equal another’s Hawaii vacation?
It’s time to stop feeling less than. Take this opportunity to consider what unmet ambitions you have, or simple goals you’d like to tackle, and start moving toward making them happen. Just acknowledging which accomplishments matter to you will empower you. You’ll be free to celebrate another mom’s achievements, without having to match her. You’ll be ready to seize opportunities to do more and be more on your terms.
Because we’ve all got our own 26.2 inside of us. It’s up to us to cross that finish line.
Bucket List Living For Moms can help you get past the 26.2’s and other common bucket list pursuits that keep you feeling “less than.” It contains questions that help you tap into longings you may have ignored and former dreams you’ve let die. It enables you to create a concrete, actionable list of where you want to go in life over the next months and years. And it equips you to find the means to incorporate your list into the chaos of family life where you can start feeling successful, because you are successful (even if you’re not Super Mom).