Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Blanket

I once had a lesson in Relief Society about not comparing yourself to others. The main point of the lesson was not to be so hard on yourself, because you always compare your worst to others best.

On the board the teacher had put up a lot of good quotes. For example, “Be confident, too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to other and wishing to be something we aren't. Everybody has their own strengths and weakness and it is only when you accept everything you are and aren't, that you can truly succeed.”

After the lesson I thought, “Well, it’s a good thing that I am very well aware of my talents and my weaknesses, and that this was definitely one of the things I did not need to worry about.” I didn't want to give the lesson another thought and went on my way.

A few weeks later I started to tend for a lady named *Susie. Susie had a little 10 month old girl named *Jasmine. I met with both Jasmine parents and they seem like they were the perfect little family.

In the morning when Susie would drop off Jasmine I noticed Susie’s clothes were always so perfectly pressed. I wondered to myself how she had time to iron her clothes so neatly since she worked full time, because for me it was hard enough being at home and making sure that my husband had a newly starched and ironed shirt each morning for work.  

Every morning when Jasmine came she was always dressed in the nicest clothes, and everything in her diaper bag was always carefully packed. I noticed particularly that Jasmines blanket was always folded so neatly. I couldn't believe the mom would even take time out of her morning to do that. In the evening when it was time for Jasmine to get picked up, I would make sure to put her blanket back and try to fold it just as neatly as I had found it in the morning.

Every morning I would look at how perfectly the blanket was folded and wonder why I couldn't fold it just as nicely. Each evening before Jasmine went home, I would fold the blanket and then be disappointed in myself that I couldn't do it as well as I had found it in the morning. Then I would say to myself that I would try again tomorrow.

Susie was just perfect in every way, and I wondered if I could ever live up to her. Then I started noticing  that the blanket was not folded on Mondays. I reasoned with myself it was probably because Susie had O.C.D. and didn't want take time out on Mondays to fold the blanket.

A couple of months later, Susie invited my family and me over to their house to celebrate Jasmine’s first birthday. When we got there the whole house was so clean. I looked at the baseboards and thought not even a speck of dust on them, and wondered how Susie was able to do it all. I thought to myself, here I am getting up at 5 in the morning, and I’m trying hard to get everything done before the daycare kids get to my house, yet I am still not able to get it all done.

After the visit to their house I was really down on myself. To make matters worse, each evening when it was time for Jasmine to go home, I still kept trying fold her blanket just as perfect as I had found it in the morning.

After watching Jasmine for little over a year, Susie was expecting another child. Since I too was expecting, I had to quit tending because the doctor had told me to take it easy, due to the last two miscarriages that I had been through.

It was hard for me to have to tell all the parents that I would be quitting, especially because I had become so fond of their kids.

When I gave Susie the news, she took it really hard. She even started crying. It had already been so hard on me to tell her, and I felt even worse once I saw how she reacted. Then she said, “I don’t think I can find anyone else to take care of Jasmine as well as you have.  Since I am expecting again, I guess it’s time for me to quit my job and stay home. Except this is not what I had planned.”

Since Susie was still crying I wanted to say something to help her feel better, so I said, “Well, just think when you are home it won’t be so stressful always to make sure to have your clothes so neatly pressed. Susie looked at me and said, “I don’t have time for that, I just drop them off at the dry cleaners on Fridays after work and then pick them up again on my way to work Monday morning.” I thought, Well that would explain why she always had time to make her clothes look so good. Then I said, “Now you can have time to clean your house and you won’t have to stress over always having it caught up." And again Susie looked at me with the same puzzled look as she responded, “What do you mean? I have a lady that comes in once a week and deep cleans my house. With a full time job, I don’t have time for that!” I was very surprised at her response, but then again, that would explain how she had time for her house to look so good.

Then I said, “Well, now you don’t have to worry about folding Jasmine’s blanket each morning before you put it in the diaper bag.” Once again I got that puzzled look, except this time she asked, “What do you mean? I barely have time to put in a couple of diapers, let alone fold her blanket before I put it in there!” I was confused, so I asked, “Isn't it Jasmine’s favorite blanket? Isn't this the blanket she can’t go to sleep without?” Susie answered, “Yes.” So I asked, “What do you do at night time then?” She responded, “Yes, it’s her favorite blanket. But she has two of them. One I keep at home and the other one I only take out of the diaper bag Friday evenings to wash it and then I throw it back in Monday mornings.” I was still a bit confused. So I asked again, “You never fold that blanket?” Susie answered with a very firm, “No, I don’t have time for that!” In that moment I realized it had been me the whole time folding that blanket. I had been competing against myself trying to fold it just as perfect as I had found it in the morning. I started to laugh. Susie didn't understand what was so funny. I didn't know if I could even begin to explain it to her, I tried, but I could tell Susie had no idea what I was talking about.

Here I was after all this time, being so hard on myself, wondering how Susie could be so perfect and have time for everything, when there was so much more to it.

Even though I couldn't even begin to have her understand what I was talking about, I learned an important lesson that day. It brought me back to the lesson I had heard in Relief Society a little over a year earlier. If anyone needed to heed that lesson it was me, no matter how long it had taken me to realize it.

“Be confident, too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to other and wishing to be something we aren't. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything you are and aren't, that you can truly succeed.”

                                                                    Sarah and Jasmine
Famous quotes:

Comparison is the thief of joy… Theodore Roosevelt

Don't compare yourself with anyone in this world...if you do so, you are insulting yourself. Bill Gates

The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday… Unknown

*Names have been changed.

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