There I was, sitting on the carpet with another mom, and it snuck up on me again: The Comparison Game.

She was talking about some new program she’d bought for her six-month-old that would ideally teach him, as a baby, to read. (Sheesh. I’d been focusing on getting my kid not to spit pureed carrots on my khakis.)

So immediately I went to my mental resume of my kids, a file I’d guess most moms have. I pull it out in my mind when I see kids other than my own who could potentially think faster, dress cuter, jump higher, use manners more often, have more money, have more friends, be in more activities, be better liked, spell more accurately, obey quicker, smell better, that kind of thing. Let’s see, I reasoned. My kids do ___, and I do ___ with them. And they are really superb in ___. Does that compete with a reading six-month-old?

Then I had to stop.

Why in the world did it matter? Why did I need to have kids who were equal or superior to their peers? Couldn’t I be satisfied with average or even well below-average kids?!

Wasn’t it simply for my own ego, soothing my own fears and clawing desires for their success and “worthiness”?

I wasn’t content with the way that God wired them — grateful for the ways they each were uniquely made to look like Him. I wasn’t longing for God’s honor through my kids or parenting, no matter who saw.

My comparison slithered out of my longing to achieve my own worth.

After all, what really makes my kids valuable? And what makes me valuable as a mom?

Bottom line: Everything they’ve got, they have because God has given it to them our of His love for them so they can honor Him and help others.

It’s a matter of me seeing God as the Giver, the One who earns the fame — not my kids or me.

This is a very daily battle for a classic overachiever, people-pleaser, and generally prideful person. Honestly, I play the game because I feel that my kids being valuable makes me valuable. And when I do that, I’m trying to make something else fit the spot in my heart that only God can fill.

But maybe if I got those baby reading flashcards, I could get my son not to spray C-A-R-R-O-T-S on my P-A-N-T-S.