20 June 2012


Comparatively... I'm not doing so badly. On the other hand, comparatively, I'm a loser.

In case you missed it, I've been comparing myself again. I just popped onto the blog of a homeschooling mom who has kids roughly the same age as mine. Unlike me, she doesn't seem to have had nervous breakdowns. Unlike me, she didn't end up sending her kids to school because they needed more structure than she could give them. Unlike me, she can handle holding down a part-time job, drives her kids around to all kinds of fascinating activities which they're all fascinatingly successful at, and writes a damn good blog to boot. Unlike me...

Unlike me. That's the point, isn't it? She's unlike me, because she is not me. And I'm not her.

See, I could also go on someone else's blog, someone who, unlike me, never homeschooled in the first place because it's too much work, or who, unlike me, really can't stand having their kids around, or who, unlike me, couldn't make a pan of spaghetti sauce if they were starving on an island with nothing but tomatoes, onions, oregano, parsley, chives, thyme, salt, pepper, ground beef, an electric cook stove and a frying pan to hand. But noooo, I never compare myself to them. Because if I did, I might end up feeling better about myself, and then I'd run out of reasons for being depressed.

Well, okay, I've got a long ways to go before I run out of reasons for being depressed. Or at least before I stop ever feeling depressed, reasons or not (as reasoning seem to have comparatively little to do with my moods). I can be depressed any old time, thank you very much! But comparing myself with people who make me feel small, that's a sure-fire way to feed the bog.

Carefully looking at "them", at what "they" have accomplished, what "they" are like, and beating myself up over not being that way myself, that's an area I'm especially talented in. Some fifteen years ago, I worked myself into a state of utter burnout by comparing myself to Caroline Ingalls, she of "Little House on the Prairie", and trying to live a lifestyle like hers. Yup. Let no one say I have no special abilities. If nothing else, I'm a champion guilt-tripper.

Oh, if you're prone to that kind of travel yourself, I'll let you in on a little secret: Ma Ingalls is dead. Yup. Dead & buried. And what's more, when she wasn't dead, she lived in the nineteenth century. Another little secret: the nineteenth century, it was different from now. For one, they had no internet. No, really! And no electricity. The reason Ma Ingalls made everything by hand is because she didn't have no Bosch Kitchen Machine to do her bread kneading for her. I'd be willing to bet that if she'd had one, she'd have been only too glad to use it. Or even, given the opportunity, get her bread from the store.

Comparing myself to Ma Ingalls was downright ludicrous. But not a whole lot more so than any of the other comparing I so often do. Just a little more obviously spotted, and, for me, a bit more easily kept in mind as to its detrimental effects. But comparing myself is unhealthy, no matter to whom. I'm going to stop doing that right now - after all, that other blogger-who's-so-successful, I'm sure she never does it. Uh, wait...

Incidentally, Steve is shaking his woolly head at me. It would never occur to him to draw comparisons between himself and others, and even if he did, the fact that Benjamin is ten times his size, in all dimensions, doesn't faze him in the slightest. Ah, for the self-confidence of bears...

Life, the Universe, and Comparisons. Comparatively, it could always be worse.


  1. Hmmm... I guess I should stop comparing my blog writing ability to yours...that could make me really depressed. :D

  2. Just adopt Steve's attitude, it seems to work better than mine any day. :)

  3. Anonymous22/6/12 13:21

    Hmmm, comparing yourself to others always turns out badly. Whether it makes you feel superior or inferior, it always hurts. This is something that I've struggled with for many years so I know where you're coming from.

    Just be yourself and love yourself :)

  4. I laughed Coca Cola through my nose, reading this. Not Soda Stream, plastic-free, environmentally responsible, HOME MADE cola, mind you. But actual Coca Cola. In a can. (Well, out of the can and through my nose, if you want to be technical about it.) Anyway, we have that Ma Ingalls kick in common, you and I, and I am SO over it (the kick, not the guilt, entirely) and proudly send my extra kids' dirty clothes home in storebought bread bags. Because making everything from scratch is so much better for the environment, and the kids' health, and your personal prestige in relation to your Walmart shopping peers.... *sigh*
    So, cheers to the end of the 19th century and comparisons that don't help anyone! I am raising my environmentally irresponsible tribute to the corporate regime in our mutual honour. Which is MUCH more comfortable (and respectful) than ejecting it through my nose. (Hi, Steve!)

  5. Gee. I wish Blogger had a "like" button, like Facebook, so I could just "like" all of your responses.

    Hah, non-homemade cola. I think it says a certain something about us that it even needs explaining that it ain't homemade. Respectful cola snorting, I'm all for it.