We all have one.
The mum friend who seems to be on top of it all, in every area of her life. She gracefully juggles motherhood and all it’s challenges while maintaining her Pinterest-worthy home and modelesque figure.
While we can be happy for such friends and celebrate their successes, it’s also easy for comparison to creep in. Why don’t I have it all together yet?
There’s a reason they say comparison is a thief. It takes something from you. It steals your joy and your confidence and can rob you of the truth that you are doing enough, that you are enough.
It can start out as simple admiration for someone else and easily turn into a downward spiral of inward criticism, a measuring of our own weaknesses against someone we deem to be “better” than ourselves.
Comparison within motherhood can be particularly ugly. As mothers (especially new mothers) we are vulnerable and often seeking to know whether we are doing things the “right” way. And this vulnerability can leave us open to some pretty unhealthy comparison.
From the time we give birth, it seems The Motherhood Comparison Game has already begun:
The Cesarean Birth Mum vs The Natural Birth Mum
The Bottle Feeding Mum vs The Breast Feeding Mum
The Co-sleeping Advocate vs The Crib-sleeping Advocate
The Attachment Parent vs The Cry-It-Out Parent
The Mum Who Lost Her Baby Weight vs The Mum Who Didn’t
The Organic Fed Children vs The Non-Organic Fed Children
The Mum With Screaming Kids At The Store vs The Mum With Well Behaved Kids At The Store
The Comparisons are endless. And living in the age of social media makes it all the more easy. Particularly when we all know (but somehow forget) we’re only seeing the highlight reel of other’s lives. The best parts. The parts they want you to see.
I’ve got many mum friends and a lot of them tell me they don’t think they’re doing a great job as a mother.
Why is that? Comparison.
Who exactly are we comparing ourselves to?
The mum who looks like she has it all together.
Whether it’s someone you know or someone you’ve seen. She’s the one who is patient with her kids and never yells. The one who cooks nutritious meals for her family every night and keeps a clean and stylish house. The mum who prepares crafts and activities to assist in her children’s development, and regularly bakes healthy, preservative-free snacks. Who doesn’t allow screen time and consistently reads more than one book to her kids every night. And she always looks put together.
Does this mum even exist? According to social media, yes.
But that’s not real life. Not every day.
We all have our good days and bad days, and chances are this perfect mum you’re seeing was just having a good one that day. Like the (rare) days my own house is clean, a healthy dinner is cooked, play-doh is home made and the kids just so happen to be using their manners and wearing clean clothes.
Those are days we don’t mind sharing with the world.
The bad days though?
The days where we’re still wearing yesterday’s mascara and messy bun because we haven’t had a moment to ourselves yet. The days where we’re trying to catch up on the mountain of laundry and housework while the kids are walking their play-doh scraps through every carpeted room in the house. The days we snap at our kids out of frustration and exhaustion. The days we let them watch a little too much of YouTube Kids. The days we break down and feel completely overwhelmed and swallowed up by life and our ever-expanding to do list.
Those are days we don’t like sharing with the world.
But maybe if we did, we’d see that we’re all just trying to do the best we can. Some days getting it right, and some days not so much.
Maybe if we showed the world more of our struggles, more of the truth, this Motherhood Comparison Game wouldn’t be so bad after all.