Last year was Robbie’s first year of preschool. My husband and I attended SEVERAL open houses in our area before before deciding on 3 schools we liked best. I remember calling a good friend and confessing, “It cannot be normal to feel this level of angst over getting into preschool.” She laughed and agreed, “I know! When we were growing up, our moms just sent us to the church preschool nearby and that was the end of it. Now there are applications and it’s “competitive!’”

The line from the Wizard of Oz kept coming to mind, “Toto – I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

I was excited for Robbie to start preschool. He was a little on the shy side and I knew being around other nurturing adults and more kids his age would benefit him. I remember sharing with my husband, “I just want a place where the teachers love on him and he has fun.” It wasn’t long before I doubted those simple goals for my son.

At one of the open houses, a professionally dressed mother seated next to me raised her hand, “What are the top 3 private schools that your preschool feeds into?”

The director kindly answered. “Our alumni are currently enrolled in each of the private schools in the area. The matriculation rates vary from year to year.”

Another mom asked, “What program do you use for your writing curriculum?”

Whoa. Writing curriculum?? Robbie couldn’t even sound out words. I hadn’t even THOUGHT to ask about their writing curriculum! And I definitely wasn’t thinking about elementary school.

I could feel my heart beating faster.

I love Robbie’s school. The teachers are amazing and I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other moms. Robbie has blossomed into an eager learner and is excited to see his friends. But that feeling of inadequacy I felt at the open house creeps back from time to time…especially when I start playing the comparison game.

The comparison game. That toxic little game we play…all by ourselves.

“Shelley’s mom is so creative. The letter of the week is “m” and she sends cheese slices shaped like monkeys! When it was my turn for snack, I just sent popcorn and orange slices.”

“Anna always leaves work to pick up her son. I’ll bet the teachers wonder why I have a nanny pick Robbie up from school 2 days a week. They probably think I need to get my priorities straight.”

“Oh my gosh. Homemade mini pecan pies for the bake sale?? How does she have time? I hope they don’t know mine are break-and-bake.”

You know what Robbie told me the other night as he spontaneously kissed me on the cheek? “Mommy…you’re my best friend.”

When I constantly look to my left and to my right, I forget that I am my children’s ONLY mother. I love them and they love me. I’m not very creative but we laugh a lot. I work 2 days a week. And you know what? I’m a more present and engaged mom because of it.

When we cease comparing, we lead more fulfilling lives and can be true to ourselves.

So when you feel the angst creep in, remind yourself, “Don’t play the game…You are enough.”