Being a woman all my life (yes it’s true), I have found that wehave a frustrating tendency: to compare. We compare our clothing, our make-up, our hair, our houses, our children’s milestones, even our green or lack of green grass. We put up our Christmas lights when our neighbors do and compare their beauty.
Sometimes a comparison is good if we use it correctly. If I am trying to repair something and look online for the how to, I will compare my project to the one on the screen to see if I am doing it correctly. This type of comparison is helpful and constructive. But what about the comparison between our children and our parenting styles? Is that helpful? I don’t think so. It’s damaging to us, our children, our spouses and our friends.
Facebook. I loathe Facebook, but I am still on it. I loathe it because it is a breeding ground for comparisons. No matter how much I tell myself to stop reading my news feed, it happens. I read it, and then I compare. Other moms post pictures of their child surrounded by a grassy noll with her arms full of sticks and leaves. The caption reads, “Taking my toddler out for our daily exploration hike.” Oh please. You do that every day? You go exploring with your toddler EVERY DAY???? And then we compare: “maybe I should be going on a exploration every day with my toddler.” “How does she do it all? She is such a great mom.” The comments below the picture make you wonder. . . .”hmmmm. My pictures never have that many comments. What the heck? Do I not post pictures that make me look like a good mom?” Be honest. You have done this at least once.
Lately I have found myself doing this a lot. We were blessed with a very active, spirited, strong willed child who is now almost 2 and a half. It has been difficult. PERIOD. When a mom like me (who is so exhausted just from keeping up with her spirited child) sees posts like the one above, it stirs something up. It brings that feeling of, “I’m not doing a good enough job because I’m not doing what Suzie is doing.” The reality is, I am running around with my head cut off! I can’t do any more. I certainly can’t do everything that Suzie is doing!!!! So how can we stop comparing?
First, STOP BELIEVING EVERYTHING YOU READ ON FACEBOOK! Facebook is equal to the media. They use catchy story titles and pictures to draw you into a tale that turns out to be something unworthy of reading. One little glimpse of a person’s life is not the end of the story. When the child on the grassy noll bit it and rolled down the hill into the mud. . . .you didn’t see that did you? Momma didn’t post that picture, did she? Nope! So stop believing everything you see and read on Facebook. If you have trouble with comparisons, just stop reading your news feed.
Second, start thinking of every other mom as a work in progress. None of us have it right. The moment we say, “I’ve got this” is the moment right before all hell breaks lose. As parents, we are constantly evolving because our children are. As soon as we get the hang of parenting, they up and grow again! If you view others as people who struggle just like you, the comparisons will begin to fade away. Everyone has problems andstruggles. Some show it, and others look perfect. Some complain about it and others smile and move on. Just remember we all have struggles.
Third, If you are doing the best you can as a parent, then be secure in that. We will all make mistakes. What makes us amazing is when we use those mistakes to better ourselves. Never let your emotions tell you that you are not as good as that other mom who takes her child to the park every day or the mom who has an elaborate craft prepared for every afternoon. You are an awesome mom because you are you! Your child doesn’t need that other mom. She needs you.
Lastly, enjoy every moment. Enjoy the oopses. Stop taking pictures long enough to soak it all in. Childhood is fleeting, and your child is changing every day. Stop making comparisons because we are all made unique. We aren’t supposed to be like the gal next door or the airbrushed lady on the magazine cover. Be yourself.