Can’t Help Comparing to Other Moms – Mommy Blogger

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Can’t Help Comparing to Other Moms – Mommy Blogger

May 11, 2020

My name is Jen and I’m a mom to two beautiful boys. I love being a mom, which is partially surprising given I used to be the first to politely shake my head “umm, no that’s OK” when someone would bring their new baby to the office and pass them around the gaggle of women who couldn’t wait to have their turn. Now I’m that woman, currently on my second maternity leave, doing all the baby things and loving it.

Some days I feel like a mess as a mom. Right now, with two little ones at home, plus the added circumstance of being quarantined, most days just feel like survival.

Added to the physical exhaustion that 24/7 parenting requires, is the mental energy spent on anticipating everyone’s needs, keeping track of a million mental lists, and worrying about things that have happened in the past or things that might happen in the future. Not to mention, one of the biggest drains on my mental energy – comparing to other moms. Why isn’t my baby sleeping through the night yet? Why isn’t my 3-year old potty trained yet? Why isn’t my house neat and organized? Etc. Etc.

Sometimes the comparison is about superficial things that I know don’t really matter, and other times the comparison cuts a little deeper. It can make me question who I am as a mom and what kind of parent I want to be. I know the comparison mostly comes from social media and looking at pictures of what other people are up to. On one hand, I like to see what everyone else is doing because it breaks up the loneliness and isolation from being at home right now, but on the other it makes me wonder if what I’m doing is good enough.

The other day my 11-month old baby was crawling through a pile of dirty leaves in the backyard, with no shoes on because I can’t seem to get them to stay on his feet. I looked at him, covered in leaves and dirt, his socks falling off and I immediately started comparing to Instagram images of little ones sitting nicely at kid-sized craft tables painting and not mixing the colours together or getting paint on their clothes. And here I am, letting my baby literally crawl through the mud with no shoes.

In that moment, I didn’t feel very good. My negative thoughts were stealing the joy out of the beautiful moment right in front of me, watching my little guy explore the world. So what if he’s got mud on him? Is he healthy? Yes. Is he happy? Yes. So why can’t I be happy too? I realized that I am the only one standing in my way and things won’t change until I decide to change my thoughts. Then, the next moment, a new thought came into my mind: What would it feel like if I believed (I mean, really believed) that I’m doing OK as a parent? What would it feel like to drop the constant self-doubt? Moreover, what if I really am a good parent? Huh. That sounds pretty good.

As sad as it sounds, it rarely occurs to me to believe the good first or that what I’m doing is good enough. I’m often striving after the next sleep tip, toddler behaviour lesson or personal development insight so I can learn and make things better for my kids and for myself. And while there is a place for learning and growth, it can get off track if 99% of what I think is focused on what needs work instead of what is already working. What if being a good parent to me means that my baby crawls through the mud, that my couch has peanut butter on it, and that my kids don’t sit nicely and paint? What if my chaos is OK (or even good) without any need to change it?

It doesn’t matter how rational or self-aware of a person you are, comparison can still get you down sometimes. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, so if anyone else needs to hear it too, it’s OK to believe in yourself and let yourself off the hook once in a while. You are a good mom and you are doing your best. All of us feel like a mess sometimes.

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