The Mommy Comparison

I used to think it was just me, but the more I speak to my mom-friends the more I realize that we all compare ourselves to one another.

We all want to be the mom that can do it all. Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we think we can stretch out every minute of the day to try to accomplish our ridiculously over loaded to-do lists, then feel like failures when one thing doesn’t get done?

Oddly enough, I think I know the answer to this question…

We, as moms/parents (I imagine dads relate, too) compete with one another.  I am not sure that this is an intentional action but we are innately wired to look around us and see what other moms are doing or posting on social media.  We see their short-falls and  feel a little better about ourselves for a moment and then we see their victories and these… they stay with us forever.

When I see a mom excel at something I immediately decide she is the best of the best.  She must do everything better than me.  My kids could only be so lucky to have her as their mother.

The things that define a “better-than-me” mom are simple.  Sometimes it is that she can take her kids to the park and appear relaxed.  Or that she never forgets snack day.  Or that she manages to have matching bows in her kids hair. CLEARLY- those kids are being raised better than my kids, and their mothers are super-woman.

I have found myself picking out the positive attributes of my mom-friends/family and worshiping them.  I put these positive attributes on a pedestal.  I believe that a person that does any one of these things is far superior to myself as a mother.  I load up 10 pedestals full of “perfect mom” behaviors and try to accomplish them all.  I take 10 different people’s flawless attributes and try to execute them all as a single individual.

As I grow as a mom, I am starting to realize that some moms do have their lives together and are good at most things- but most of us focus on the things that we find important and fun and simply “get-by” with the rest.

The mom that loves to bake brings in homemade snacks to preschool.  The mom that loves to plan parties has the best Pinterest-inspired birthday parties.  The outdoorsy mom takes her kids on nature walks.  Seriously, I can go on and on.  The bottom line is that most of these moms do not do it all.   The same mom that bakes may not have done laundry in the last 3 weeks. Most moms do what makes them happy and what they think is worthwhile and they execute this to, what I see as, perfection.

I honestly have found myself doing things that make me completely uncomfortable because I am too afraid to admit that I am not super-woman.  I have taken my kids to a play date at a park and locked my kid in the car (on accident).  This happened because I was too afraid to admit that I could not manage an infant and a 1 year old alone outside of the home.  I believed that everyone else could do it, so I should be able to, too.  That same day, I called one of my favorite “I put on a pedestal” mom and cried, “why can’t I be like you? Why can’t I go out in public with my kids and not end up having to call the police.”  On the other end of that call was silence followed by pure honesty… my hero-mom, my go-to for advice informed me that she barely EVER left the house when her kids were little.  My mind was blown.  I did not see that side of her life.  I saw only the things she did with her kids.  I was totally ignorant to the number of things she did not do and it was not because she hid these things from me, it was because her “mommy shortcomings” were totally eclipsed by her, in my eyes, pure perfection.

Through all of this, I have learned to give myself a break and recognize that not everything can be a top priority.  I cannot strive to be the best at 10 different tasks.  I have evaluated my (short) career of mommy-hood and now focus on what it most important for the growth of my family.  Sometimes what is important changes from week to week but overall I have stopped comparing myself to the mythical mom that can accomplish all 10 pedestals of perfection.

Furthermore, I realize that my girls do not compare notes with their friends. They do not know the difference between a store-bought and a hand-sewn Halloween costume. We tell ourselves we are “doing it for the kids” when in reality that is not always true.  The kids appreciate a calm and loving home and sometimes accomplishing that means stepping out of the window of being the “do-it-all mom.”

I have also realized that some of the things that come easy to me are idolized by other moms.

We all have different passions and your passions is envied by someone in your inner circle.  Focus on your passion and experiment with things that you find interesting without holding yourself to someone else’s standard.

Do what you love because someone, somewhere, has you on their pedestal

 

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