Comparison seems to be an unfortunate part of our daily lives — especially now social media is on the scene.
We compare our garden to our neighbour’s, our salary to our friend’s, and our relationship to just about anybody else’s.
We want to believe we have the best in life, are the happiest we possibly can be and do the most good deeds, too.
We all want to be the best, all of the time.
But we can’t be, really, can we?
We're all good at some things, and terrible at others. There are only so many hours in a day for us to do all of the things we want to do, and guess what? It’s not enough time, and so some things don’t get done. Or they get done in a rush. And those people you think have it better than you? They probably aren’t happy with what they have either.
Are You Comparing Yourself To Other Mothers?
It is a terrible affliction of modern society to want what other people have and not like what we have.
Instead of feeling proud of what we have achieved, we simply feel sad that we haven’t achieved the same as others or what we think we should have. Social media has arguably made this worse. Social media allows us to share carefully selected slices of our lives with other people, all the while controlling how we portray ourselves. We use filters to make ourselves look less tired, we take photos in the one clean corner of our house, and we share status updates about the adorable things our kids say but leave out the bit where they threw food at us.
It’s all too easy to scroll through social media on your phone and think that everyone else has it better than you. Most people choose not to show the chaotic, messy reality of life on social media. Instead they pick and choose the best bits, creating a magazine spread of perfection to be shared with the world. Just because your best friend from high school seems to have the world’s most perfect husband, the most stylish house and the best behaved kids, it doesn’t mean she really does.
It’s just what she chooses to put out there.
Take a look through your own social media profile, are you honest about what life is really like?
It’s not just social media you need to be wary of. You shouldn’t compare yourself to other mothers in real life, either. You should know yourself just how different a child can be on a good or a bad day, and the same goes for your mothering skills. Some days, you look like an idyllic family from a 1950s family show, and other days, erm, you don’t. You might look across at the carefree and beautiful mama at the park, heartily laughing with her adorably dressed and well behaved kids — but remember — she’s just having a good day today. Who knows what happened yesterday? She may have locked in the bathroom, crying and binge eating oreos just to get a few minutes peace while her feral kids ransacked the house. You can't base reality on a snapshot.
Don't Create A Lose-Lose Situation
Comparing yourself to other mothers is a lose-lose situation. You’re not other mothers. You’re you. You have your own unique set of circumstances, experience, knowledge and ideals which make you the parent you are today. You have different priorities, different support systems and different to-do lists. You’re not them, and they’re not you. You might be staring at them wishing you could be more like them, whilst they stare back thinking the same thing about you.
It’s ok to be inspired by other mamas, that’s different. You can look at another mother and think wow, I love the way she talks to her kids, she’s so understanding. Or, she looks great. You can even decide to try and take a leaf out of her book. Perhaps you’ll work on the way you interact with your kids or take 10 minutes for yourself each day so you can make yourself look nice. That’s fine. It’s good to be inspired, but it’s not good to compare yourself unfavourably to other women. Take inspiration wherever you find it, but don’t use it as an excuse to feel bad about yourself.
Wouldn’t it be great if all the mamas in the world promised to stop comparing and competing with each other? Wouldn’t it be great if instead of feeling jealous of your friend’s achievements, you could truly celebrate them with her? What if you could look at the wonder of other women without feeling a shadow cast over your own life?
This is something we all need to do together, right now. We need to stop seeing ourselves as competitors and instead recognise that we’re all on the same team. We need to be able to celebrate our differences instead of feeling uncomfortable about them. We need to stop wasting our energy on feeling insecure or lacking in confidence and admit that we are strong, inspiring women who can achieve just about anything we put our minds to.
Now, say it with me, “I won’t compare myself to other mothers“.
Recommended Reading: If you’re new to motherhood, check out The New Mama Code: What All New Mamas Should Live By and take the pledge today.