I am sure that this is familiar to you. You’re scrolling through Instagram, and you see them. The moms who have it all together.
Their photos are perfectly edited, their houses are bright and magazine-like, their kids are wearing clothes you’d even wear, as opposed to the sweatpants and dirty t-shirt you’re sporting. Maybe they have a business, or maybe they have the perfect workout routine.
Or maybe you’re familiar with this one: sitting at a play group and listening to the accomplishments of your mom peers. They talk about their photography business, their regular date nights with their husbands, or their make-up routine.
Maybe you’re a working mom. You’re scrolling on your lunch break- watching as the “other moms” spend their days at home, or out and about at museums and splash pads.
There are a hundred other scenarios like this, but either way, you’ve probably experienced that sudden lump in your throat, the pit in your stomach, or even the heat on your face when you begin to do that awful thing:
You compare your body, your home, your photo skills. You compare your children’s routines (“Why isn’t my baby sleeping through the night?!”). You wonder if you’re good enough, or smart enough, because you don’t have a side-hustle. You might wonder if you’ll ever be able to stay home with your babies, or if you’re not a good mom because you truly love your full-time job.
These are the awful thoughts of comparison. And they don’t belong anywhere near you. They need to be far from you.
Guess what, Mama! You can cure the comparison in your life by doing these two things:
Everyone is Sacrificing
I remember the sudden epiphany I had as I talked with a friend of mine. For years, I’d been comparing myself to her, and wishing I could be the powerhouse woman she was. And I was sure she looked down on me, even a little, for not doing as much as she did outside the home.
But then, she told me of her plan to quit her job because she wished she could be the kind of mom I was. “The involved mom” she said. My face must have looked very puzzled. I felt shocked. And then it dawned on me.
We are ALL sacrificing something.
All this time, I thought I was the only one who wasn’t doing it all. I thought everyone else had taken some expensive online course, explaining how to do everything at once. But that wasn’t true at all!
Simply put, what I was sacrificing, they weren’t. And it goes both ways- what I wasn’t sacrificing, they were.
Your friend- the one who has abs of steel- she is an all-star for taking the time to work out. Don’t forget, though, that during her workout time, you’re doing something else! Maybe you’re an avid reader, adding hundreds of books to your list every year. And maybe she’s not reading as much. And that’s okay. You’re both prioritizing what matters more to you.
Maybe your friend who has the perfect make-up routine is sacrificing some time in the morning that you usually use to fix a three-course breakfast for your family.
Maybe you’re the queen of take-out for dinner, and you wish you could make more gourmet meals, but instead, you spend more time outdoors in those evening hours.
Maybe you spend a lot of time on social media, growing your business, while another mom is a pro at DIY projects.
THESE ARE ALL GOOD. THESE ARE ALL WORTHY.
But I am here to tell you: No one, and I repeat: NO ONE is doing them all.
Maybe you’re choosing to stay home with your babies all day. I’m talking to you stay-at-home moms who devote every hour from morning to night to being in the presence of your children.
I know you. I’ve been you.
And I know that sometimes the comparison eats you alive. The negative voices of the world want you to think you should be doing something else- anything else- but you’d truly rather be there, with them- all day long.
Maybe you’re the working mom who genuinely loves what you do, but the other voices of the world tell you that you are neglectful or wrong for choosing to have a career. I know that comparison aches inside of you as well sometimes!
Whoever you are, I’m talking to YOU. To the working moms, the 24/7 covered-in-poop moms, the Insta-moms, the workout moms, the reader moms, the rich moms, the poor moms.
You won’t have it all, and neither will they. However, you can have all of what you choose to prioritize. And they can have all of what they choose to prioritize.
And you can stop comparing. And you can live confidently and happily, because you’ve chosen your sacrifices, and they are the right ones for you.
Love them better
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”
I wish I knew who said that, because it lives in my head constantly, and brightly.
I promise you that you can congratulate your mom friend on her success, and you don’t have to walk away feeling less than her. I promise you that you can see someone beautiful, and instead of comparing yourself, you can appreciate their beauty and your own, separately and equally. I promise you that you can learn about a hobby that your friend pursues, and you can think it’s super awesome without feeling less because you don’t do it too. These are hard things to do, but they can be achieved with sincere love for others.
We can love a little bit better. We can CHOOSE to love someone we are jealous of, and that jealousy will eventually melt away! We are all in this together. We might as well love our fellow moms, unconditionally and fully. Your life will be so much better. And best of all, if you’re loving them really well, you won’t have any room for comparison.
My mom has always told me, “comparison is the thief of joy”. Motherhood is meant to be joyful! Even when its messy, even when it’s exhausting. Don’t rob yourself of that joy by comparing.
Guess what. You are a good mom. What you’re choosing to do is worthy. It’s wonderful. And so are you.
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