I say this like I have never done it, of course I have, but that’s not the point. Today I felt like jotting my thoughts on why I think it’s important for us to stop comparing ourselves to other moms.
Stop comparing yourself to other moms…because none of us have it all figured out
I’ve noticed that as moms, we are very good at comparing ourselves to other moms. I hear this being brought up in so many conversations and I myself often get ‘feedback’ that I look like I’m “balancing” it all so well. As much as I appreciate hearing that on a rough day, I have to be honest and say that I’m not balancing anything well. I love to share the positives of parenting, but I am far from perfecting this #momlife and frankly have no desire to.
This year has been my rude-awakening, my son would tell you how many things I’ve messed up – whether it’s missing school project deadlines or being useless at helping him with his Afrikaans homework.
We do so much for others and forget about ourselves. Once we become moms, we almost instantaneously play the Super Woman that sweeps everyone’s troubles away. We take it all on, offloading the burdens from our family and piling them all onto ourselves. We are just too good at that and then we do ourselves the injustice of comparing ourselves to other moms, when it’s not even a competition because none of us have it all figured out.
We’re all just winging it honey
Stop comparing yourself to other moms…because our personal circumstances are different
Like I said, I have fallen into the trap of comparing myself to other moms before, it’s actually quite an easy one to fall into. In my case, it’s around the areas where I feel ‘guilty’ or ‘inadequate’, like not being there for my son for extra murals, or fetching my daughter from playschool at 2pm, because I work full time.
BUT what value does piling up the guilt add? Absolutely none. I can’t change the situation (at least not in the immediate future) so the only way around it is to be happy and to celebrate the moments when I can be there for them and make the best of our time together over the weekend.
Accept that there will be some things that other moms will and can do differently. Each of us have unique family circumstances, so it’s never a good idea to compare yourself to another mom, because you will never know what they are going through. When I was a single mom, I couldn’t wait to have a ‘complete’ family and partner to share everything with, now I have a husband who works in another province five days a week… Life is tricky Mama, just take everything as it comes.
Stop comparing yourself to other moms…because our bodies are different
“Snapback” – a term that annoys me, because of the pressure that it puts on a new mom after going through a looooooong pregnancy, often difficult labour and life changing process of bringing a human being into this world. Most of our bodies are a mess after pregnancy and birth, with dark tummies, wobbly skin and brand new stretchmark’s. It takes some time (can even be years) to feel like yourself again.
Remember that our bodies and genes are different. There is nothing wrong with working on your body after you have a baby, but if the motivation is comparison or external pressure then I’m not for it. Give yourself that time and space to heal and recover, in your own good time and pace.
Stop comparing yourself to other moms because…we have so much to learn from each other
I follow a diverse group of women on social media, particularly on Instagram and I found it refreshing how we all have different stories to tell and different ways that we raise our children. I’ve learnt so much from other moms on my feed, as well as my friends and close circle. Keep an open mind that will see you looking to others for connection and inspiration, instead of competition or a yard stick with which you will measure yourself.
Stop comparing yourself to other moms…because our children are different
The same rules apply for our children. No matter how many children you have, each of them will be very different individuals and you will have to adapt your parenting style. Refrain from comparing your children with one another, they will pick up on it and it will be deeply hurtful.
In my case, I falsely assumed that parenting the second time around will be much easier, but I later found out that being a mom of two is harder than I thought – my children are so different and I noticed that right from the time they were infants.
When I think of comparing children, a memory that really stands out for me, is when my son was in grade one and his teacher told me in the middle of the first term, that he is “faaar behind the others and just won’t make it”. I didn’t understand how she was making a decision (due at the end of the year) within the first two months of meeting him. Needless to say, I removed him from the school, but how often do we do this as parents? We try and measure our kids up against other children of a similar age, don’t we?! Don’t do it 🙂
I’ll close off by reminding you that you are good enough (please read this post if you haven’t already).
God chose YOU to be the mother of your children because you are more than capable of being the best mother YOU can be, despite the challenges and differences.
Modern Zulu Mom