"Some people can sleep in cow manure and come out with $50 bills in their hands." That was one of my favorite quotes from a talk I listened to the other night, and it heralded in the part of the talk about not comparing yourself to other people/families.
On retreat and then again in the talk, the priests said that God does not give equal graces to everyone. Some people and some families get more graces than others because they have a different calling in life and a different mission they need to fulfill which will require more graces than another person or family.
In the talk it was mentioned that you need to discern what God is calling your family to do. Some families are called to a more contemplative type of life, while others are called to be more social.
For this reason alone, it is not going to be productive to compare yourself or your family to someone else. It is so important to remember that God calls each one of us to something completely different and we might not have any idea what another person or family is truly being called to do, so there is no reason to compare ourselves.
For example, we have a wonderful family in our homeschooling circle. This family knows everyone, greets everyone, makes friends wherever they go. They are very involved in their parish and in the Catholic community at large. Their children have had amazing opportunities and they have accomplished many things in their young (teen to early 20s) lives. Many people have always looked to them and said, "Boy, why can't my family be like theirs?" or "Why can't my children be as accomplished, or perfect, or polite?"
While it is good to look to those types of families for inspiration and ideas, in no way can you ask those questions out of disdain for your own family or children. God has called that family to an amazing, evangelizing type of life. He has not called too many other families we know to that same standard. When others try to follow in their footsteps, if that is not the path God has chosen for them, they will not be successful and will end up feeling even worse.
This lesson is SO important! It is a temptation to compare yourself to someone else. Ask the Blessed Mother to take that temptation away from you. Pray that God will give you guidance on your own path to follow. Learn from others but always double check if that is what God wants YOU to do.
Homeschooling naturally lends itself to this type of mentality. If I find myself in the comparison mode, I try to snap out of it as fast as possible because it usually doesn't end up anywhere good. Just because your neighbor seems to be able to do everything right, doesn't mean that you are doing something wrong when things don't work out for you. God gives each of us the graces we need to live the life He wants us to live. It is simply our job to utilize all of them.