I struggle with comparison. My kids struggle with contentment. I struggle with contentment sometimes. I’ve spent time asking other moms how to help foster contentment in my children. We don’t watch very many commercials because we mainly watch Netflix instead of broadcast television. But even YouTube is full of advertisements encouraging my children to buy the latest toys and gadgets. I often feel like contentment is an unattainable goal for me AND for my kids.
And honestly, it’s hard to be happy when I’m comparing what I don’t have to what others do. Instagram can be the worst for comparing; feeds full of sparkly white livingrooms look nothing like my parquet-floored 1970s living room that needs to be cleaned for the 5th time this week.
A few minutes looking through some home decor Pinterest boards is all it takes for me to be wishing we could start a much-needed renovation in our home. And it’s frustrating that I can’t. And I know if I feel like that, it has to be frustrating for my kids when they struggle with comparison and “wanting” too.
But lately I’ve noticed something: when I quit the comparison game and focus instead on what I already have all around me, I find a joy and happiness I can’t find at the mall or on Amazon.
I have a warm fireplace. My house is beautiful–even if it does need some updating! I have two precious, healthy children. I have a husband who doesn’t just say he loves me–he shows me every day. I have friends and family that make my life rich in ways money never could. There is more than enough food in my pantry–even when my children insist that there’s nothing to eat. I have a job I adore, and a warm bed to sleep in every single night.
And when I pause in the chaos of life and reflect, I remember that most of the world cannot say the same.
It’s a marketing trick: we think we’ll be happier if we get more stuff. But…it’s kind of a lie.
The truth is, we’ll be happier if we remember how much we already have. And so will our children.
I saw it first hand this past summer when I was beginning the (ongoing, imperfect) process of minimizing in our home. I spent hours cleaning out drawers full of stuff, and the kids’ playroom did not escape my minimalist mission. And something crazy and unexpected happened: my children LOVED their mostly-empty playroom! They held dance parties and played with toys they hadn’t touched in months. Inevitably, more stuff appeared in the playroom since those summer months, but “Minimalist Momma” is planning to visit again any day now.
Becki Rogers, wife of an incredible husband, and “not quite supermom” to Asher, 9, and Ryleigh Jane, 5. Writer and podcaster at www.notquitesupermoms.com. On Facebook and Instagram @notquitesupermoms.