My 10-year-old son asked his brother, “Don’t you think mom is the best mother there has ever been?” (I immediately sensed a hidden motive in that sappy setup.)

“Well, I don’t know,” replied the 7-year-old. “It’s probably Mary, Jesus’ mom.”

Clearly, he missed the cue from his big brother—the simple prompt for agreement, setting themselves up for a potential afternoon treat in return for flattering me. Nope. He sided with Mary as if that was the hyper-spiritual answer that would get him an Icee.

I’m not disagreeing that Mary was a wonderful, honorable mother and had to overcome countless challenges. She worked hard for her recognition. But just for fun, I engaged them in a lively discussion about the sinless nature of Jesus and reasoned that his mother didn’t have to work as hard teaching him to obey as I’ve had to work with the two of them. I felt I made a good case, citing examples of poor attitudes and disrespect for authority among my children. I even recalled an instance (okay, many instances) in which my kids rolled their eyes and complained about having to go to church. Surely, I argued, Jesus would never have put his mother through those shenanigans. I must be the winner, right?

“You’re right,” he admitted. “Maybe she wasn’t the best mom in the world. I’m not sure who is.”  He said it with a serious face, which meant I didn’t even make second place on that day. That’s mom life, isn’t it?

Many days I feel like I’ll never measure up, despite my best efforts to do it all right. Don’t they see how I’ve cared and provided for them all these years? Why couldn’t he just fake it and say I was the very best mother in the history of the world, the supreme winner of all motherhood competitions, and the reigning champion of parents?

At first, I was humorously prideful and slightly annoyed by his inability to name me the “best” mother. I thought about the funny conversation on the drive home and came to a conclusion. There is no single “best mother.”  Sure, some moms are doing a more intentional, purposeful job of parenting than others, but no one gets the trophy. We’re all just moms, trying to keep calm and mom on.

Do you struggle with motherhood as a competition? Let me extend a hand and help you out of that hamster wheel that’s wearing you out. How often are we racing toward a finish line that doesn’t exist? We try to sprint ahead of the next mom in an attempt to inch out a tiny lead over her discipline method, organization, or upkeep of her home. We suffer Pinterest exhaustion at every holiday and school event. We kick and scratch our way through an invisible contest to be crowned the “best” mother, only to discover it belongs to no one individually.

Motherhood isn’t a matchup against one another. In fact, we are better together. I’m a stronger mother because of the women I link arms with. I am more to my kids when I make it less about how I stack up with other moms. Want to be a better mom? Stop making it a competition and join the sisterhood of women working together to raise a generation of Christ followers.

Was Mary the best mom? Of course. And so are you.

Iron sharpens iron, and one *mom sharpens another. —Proverbs 27:17

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