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The ONE Secret Every Woman Needs to Know about Every Other Woman

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Recently, an article came across my Facebook feed in which a mother used her blog to vent about her bad day.

Fair enough, I thought.

Until she got to the part where she refused the help of a well-meaning woman who saw her struggling and offered her help. It got worse. I say “well-meaning” only because I give people the benefit of the doubt unless I have direct knowledge to the opposite. And, if someone offered me help, I certainly wouldn’t jump to conclusions about their in/sincerity.

The upset mother wrote:

“Having this other mom flaunt her have-it-all-togetherness by offering to help me in my hour of complaininess wasn’t exactly the solidarity I was looking for.”

photo 3-2And then something that’s always floating around in the back of my mind came to the surface. We women can really be our own worst enemies. And, I’m not even talking about the supposed “mommy wars.” Just, in general. As if we don’t have enough legitimately difficult things to be worried about, we spend a LOT of times fretting over things that are really of no consequence to our well being.

WHY IS THIS?

Why do we do this to ourselves? And it would be foolish if I said this didn’t happen on a spiritual level, too. A spiritual Keeping Up with the Joneses, if you will.

So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that most of us hold onto for dear life, in the hopes that other women will never, never, NEVER discover about ourselves.

There is no woman alive who has it all together.

The only woman in the history of mankind who ever had it all together was never on Facebook and certainly didn’t throw out her highlight reel for her friends to see on her wall. Her name was Mary. Maybe you’ve heard of her?

In all seriousness, though, unless and until we women collectively decide to stop looking at each other with suspicious eyes, we will continue to spiral downward in that pattern of behavior that breeds jealousy, bitterness, and sometimes even hatred.

We can do better than this.

We deserve better than this.

I debated taking some snapshots of my house at its worst, but decided against that for obvious reasons. 😉 It’s not about keeping up appearances so much as it’s about just admitting that we’re all in the same boat. We all try to do our best, we all fall short, we all dust ourselves off, and we all get up and try again the next day.

The difference is that we don’t seem to recognize that in others. I spent time recently compiling a list of simple ways to live your crazy Catholic life because I saw that common theme of getting caught up in the busyness of life.

What are some ways we, as women, can squash the idea that others have it all together?

  • Pray. There you go again, Martina, always telling us to pray. Um, yes. Because without this critical component, the rest of these points won’t make sense. Carve out some time in prayer with the greatest love of your life, our heavenly Father.
  • Develop the ability to think beyond what you see. What does this mean? When the urge to see someone as “put together” enters your mind, consider what you might not see. She may have had the worst day in a good long while and it was all she could do to get her kiddo to his or her extracurricular activity today. In a small effort to feel normal and bring some balance to her day, she decided to put on a nice outfit, comb her hair, and put on a little bit of makeup. Conversely, some women {myself included} may enjoy sporting the dressed down look when out and about and just because my hair is always up and I’m always in jeans and t-shirts doesn’t automatically mean I’m having a bad day. It might just mean I spent some time out in the garage working on some much needed projects, or attempted gardening. It might. And, if I thought I could get away with wearing my pajamas out and about, you’d better believe I’d be busy making that a new fashion statement. 😉
  • photo 1-5Offer someone your help. Sure, someone might blog about your perceived have-it-all-togetherness, but that’s not about you, anyway. Offer your help in spite of what someone might think. God knows your heart.
  • Limit the self critiques. We women – hoowee – I’m serious when I said we can be our own worst critic sometimes. I’m asking you to put that on the shelf, friends. Instead of crushing your own spirit by indulging {and overindulging} in detailed analyses of the day’s shortcomings, instead focus on the reality of the situation, acknowledge it, think of one way you can combat that failing, and then FORGIVE yourself and move on. No dwelling. No lingering. No letting the family suffer through your mental misery. LET. IT. GO.
  • Eliminate the critique of others. Catch yourself before you even think it. Wow, I bet her life is just so perfect, with her super cute husband and eight children. She just updated on Facebook that they had yet ANOTHER successful homeschool year and her oldest is going to some Ivy League school…after they go on their annual lavish vacation. Pft! This isn’t thinking that is befitting of any Catholic and does nothing to build up the friendship. Look to others for inspiration, not competition.

Do you have any tips you’d like to add? Please share in the comments below!

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About Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to seven kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-1/17. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools and is currently transitioning out of homeschooling. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.

  • Adrienne - The Mother Teresa quotes are just right, and great advice, Martina!June 27, 2014 – 7:19 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Thank you so much for this beautiful reminder!June 27, 2014 – 7:33 amReplyCancel

  • Sandy - I am so glad that I saw this on your Facebook this morning. I have been weighed down with guilt since my last child was born (6mos. ago) because of how my house looks, I look, & how my life is. I have 3 daughters, ages 16, 14, & 6 mos. I have 3 step-children, ages 24, 18, & 15. I work full-time & try to keep up with everything but it just escapes me. I have felt like my life was unraveling. This put a lot of those feeling in prospective. Thank you for sharing. I can’t tell you enough how this made my day so much better. 🙂June 27, 2014 – 9:37 amReplyCancel

  • Rose Cleary - Way back as a 40-year-old new mom and now as a grandmother, I still offer the same advice to women who care about their interior lives:: Throw out your WOMEN’S MAGAZINES!
    Every line, every photo, and certainly every word of advertising is intended to say one thing to you: YOU NEED IMPROVING. I wouldn’t let another woman in my door if she were going to forever criticize my hair, makeup, weight, sexiness, and skill at making a pot roast! And yet we pay for issue after issue of glossy and UNREAL people who we unwittingly turn into our role models, all the while that they’re telling us we aren’t good enough.June 27, 2014 – 11:12 amReplyCancel

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