“You are living in a state of crisis…the crisis of comparison. I am guilty of it and you are too. Comparing ourselves is a risky little gamble that we play into daily.
You know what I am talking about. It starts with scrolling through your Instagram feed just ‘to see what’s going on really quickly.’ Well, first of all, it’s never really quick and 30 minutes later you are comparing yourself to every other mother on the planet.
You may shake that one off but then it hits again. Like when you’re dropping off your child’s Valentine’s Day treats at school and you become super intimidated by the table of homemade treats that every other mom made and you’re stuck holding the dreaded Publix bakery pre-made cupcakes that were on sale.
You are now comparing yourself to those other moms.
Mom guilt starts to creep in and without even realizing it, you have jumped over the edge, into the rabbit hole of a self-pity party. This continues until you see the next post that you compare yourself to and the whole ridiculous cycle begins again. It’s like a hamster wheel of hell and for some reason, us mamas just can’t figure out how to get off of the thing.
Whether we mean to or not, we DO compare ourselves.
After scrolling Instagram and seeing that baby Bob that lives two houses down has learned to roll over and your baby who is the same age has not, doubt instantly creeps into your mind with things like ‘I am not doing something right.’ ‘Why hasn’t my baby learned to roll over?’ ‘Is something wrong with my baby?’ ‘Am I a crappy mother?’
If you just think I dramatized those reactions…think again.
Every mother I have talked to takes that leap of crazy questions. Why??? Because we live in a state of constant comparison. Even when we don’t mean to compare, we do. Even an innocent Facebook post can turn an already defeated momma down a spiral hole of what-ifs. We try our best to not compare but every morning, Pinterest Pam is shoving her perfectly-staged Lemonade stand in our face. And oh yeah, she makes it a point to tell you she donates every bit to charity. But Pam has issues too, she is just showing her highlight reel, not her reality.
Because of these constant showy platforms, we never think our parenting is good enough.
We always think, ‘Well look at her kid posing for that picture so sweet. I must suck at disciplining my child because he would never do that.’
What Instagram is not showing us is the ten minutes of pure screams, crocodile tears, and red face cheeks of the toddler who is screaming because all they want is the iPad and a cookie but oh NO we can’t do that because too much screen time and too much sugar is bad. And that makes you a bad mom.
Every. Single. Mother battles this and if you deny this…you are lying. Here are just a few things we compare:
How well behaved or poorly behaved our children are.
Our kid’s weights, heights, and how many teeth they have.
Formula-fed babies vs. breastfed babies.
What we feed our kids.
How we feed our kids.
Back or belly to sleep.
Where our kids sleep.
How long they sleep.
Holiday treats for the class.
How well we upkeep a baby scrapbook.
How our kids meet milestones.
How clean our houses are.
How often we wipe our baseboards.
What kind of car we have.
Our sex life.
Our date nights.
Should I go on or do you get the picture?
These comparisons start to play themselves automatically in our heads without our consent. If what we do is different than another mother, we automatically think we are failing or falling short somehow.
Instead of talking about it, moms just try to do more.
We do more crafts for school, we buy nicer clothes for our kids, we stay up till midnight preparing a week’s worth of organic baby food just to feel we are worthy.
But maybe that’s why some moms feel so alone, so defeated, and so tired. Because they are playing keeping up with the Joneses. But even the Joneses are struggling too!
The sad thing is, moms don’t voice these concerns because society tells us that is weak. Society tells us to suck it up, work full time, be the perfect mother, work out daily, prepare a home-cooked meal every night, and keep your husband happy. And if you fail at any of those things, you’re a crappy mother.
Well, mamas, I am calling BS.
It is time to take back what is rightfully ours. That is our sanity, our confidence, and our ability to be proud of the mother we are and the child we are raising.
Be proud of the fact that you are a mother. We are doing the HARDEST job on the planet and we are trying so very hard at it. Raising children has not gotten any harder than when we were kids and children have not gotten worse, but the obnoxious in-your-face access to what everyone else is doing has and it has us spinning on the hamster wheel of comparison without us ever getting off.
We are allowing society to drive us crazy and it has got to stop.
Here’s some big truth shedding on the dirty little lies comparison is telling you. The truth is that your kids love you. They couldn’t do life without you. You are feeding them. Loving them. Nurturing them. Guiding them. They smile, they laugh, and they are growing. You have concocted the perfect routine for your baby that is tailored just for them. What you are doing is excellent. What you are doing is more than good enough…it’s GREAT.
If Jane down the street with the ‘perfect’ Instagram feed, the ‘perfect’ yoga body, and the ‘perfect’ husband wants to keep up her front of a ‘perfect’ life, she can. But I am throwing in my ‘perfect’ towel and waving my flag of my motherhood style, which is what you see is what you get. If I want to post a picture of my backyard (that has not been cut in a week) with my little boy with Spaghettio’s on his face (and no they weren’t organic) and two big handfuls of dirt, then I will. AND I will feel good about it because that’s how we roll. Sorry, not sorry.
And remember this mama—
NO comparison, no other mother, and no mom guilt in the world can take away the glory you are in your child’s eyes. To them, you hung the moon. To them, you will ALWAYS be ENOUGH!”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kacie Duncan. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from Kacie:
‘I get told I’m ‘too much.’ I can’t whisper. I laugh at my own jokes. I suck at keeping plans, and I spend more money than I save. But all of these things make me, ME.’: Woman urges ‘stop letting people extinguish what sets your soul on fire’
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