It’s that time of year.  Your social media pages are full of seemingly perfect mothers with their seemingly perfect children, all thrilled about going off to their seemingly perfect first day of school.  Perhaps they are; let us celebrate them.  Perhaps they aren’t; let us empathize with them.  It’s a rare moment in my house when my children are actually showered (oh, puberty!), dressed (extra points for clean clothes), and in one place, standing still (and not rolling their eyes) long enough to bless me with that one precious, albeit cheesy, rite of passage photo.

But, what we must not do — never, ever, ever, ever — is compare ourselves with them.  These back-to-school photos fill our Facebook feeds with joy, and I’ve contributed my share, but they fill some of us with pain; endless comparisons and self-doubt for mothers and non-mothers alike.  Are we doing the right thing?  Did we make the right choices?  What if we could have a do-over?  All of these pictures, with all of their screaming voices of perfection, contributing the noise already in our own heads about how maybe we don’t measure up, don’t balance it as well, can’t have it all.

It’s bullshit.  Every last bit of it.  When we compete in the Having-It-All-Olympics, we all lose.

Let’s today politely excuse ourselves from running the race someone else created for us, and start marking and running our own. Be your own dog. Make your own path. Run your own race. Judge only your own progress. All those people questioning your choices and telling you what you should do and need to do simply don’t get a vote unless you give it to them.  And that includes that voice inside of your own head.  

Now, go set some goals and crush the shit of ‘em.