We've probably all played the game in our heads at one time, in one form or another.
The pre-game starts like this:
You come rushing into whatever meeting/volunteering/bible study/ playgroup/etc at the last moment. Or even a few minutes late. You feel flustered. Frazzled. Discombobulated. You hope you have everything you were supposed to bring with you. And that you don't have a big coffee stain on your shirt and that the shoes you slipped your feet into on the way out the door actually are a matched pair.
There "She" sits. Hair perfectly styled. Makeup complete. A cute outfit on her tiny little body. Adorable child, wearing perfectly matched clothing without a spot of dirt. They are both smiling and giggling over something.
And we have kick off ... The Measuring Up Game.
"She" doesn't even realize she's taking part in this mental game of yours. But in your head she has become the opposing team and the competition is tough inside that brain of yours. The internal monologue goes something like this:
How does she do it? I could never be that perfect. Never. She must get up at midnight to start getting herself and all those perfect kids ready. Maybe she doesn't sleep at all. I need my sleep. I couldn't get up any earlier than I already do. How does she manage it? Maybe she's on some crazy diet pills that keep her awake at night and give her all that energy. That would explain it. That would also explain how she stays so skinny. I could never be that skinny. She had 3 kids? I only had 2 and look at how out of shape and disgusting I am.
As you try to suck in your stomach all the way to your spine, and ponder joining Weight Watchers or Curves - you over hear her telling a story about how "just as I finished cooking breakfast and was washing up the dishes, he came in and said the funniest thing..." Feeling guilty as you consider the coffee and cold cereal your own husband and kids had for breakfast, the voice in you head continues...
Yeh... I can never be that good. Never have. Never will. Why can't I be more like her? What is wrong with me? My kids deserve better than cold cereal or frozen waffles. I'll bet her house is clean also. Spotless. My house is a mess. It's so embarrassing. I'm a terrible housekeeper.
And on it goes. Feeling more and more worthless as the game continues. Maybe it's not that perfect mom you compare yourself with. Maybe it's a woman at the office. Maybe it's your neighbor. Maybe it's your sister. But I can make a good guess that at some point in time, some woman has come along who had you playing the Measuring Up Game. Beating yourself up for not being like someone else. Comparing yourself.
That's the thing about the Measuring Up game. You're really playing against yourself. And you can never win.