Confession. I struggle with comparison. Do you? I compare myself to other moms, asking myself questions like, how do I measure up? Am I enough for my kids? Am I doing okay with this mothering journey? I know, it’s a terrible habit that I am really trying to break. Or maybe you don’t compare yourself to other moms, but perhaps you compare your material worth to others, your family circumstances, or your position on your career totem pole.
Why is it in our nature to compare ourselves to others? Maybe we think it will make us feel better about our own insecurities. Maybe we think it will bring us peace to see we are doing better than someone else. Maybe we use it to justify our own actions and behavior.
But here’s the thing with comparison. It is a stealer of joy and destroyer of contentment. We tell lies to ourselves as moms, wives, friends, sisters and daughters that we are somehow inadequate based on a comparison to another. That we are not enough because of how we view someone else. And this? This is tragic.
Let’s stop comparing ourselves to the little squares on Instagram, the mom in the grocery store that has it “all together,” the mom at school drop off who never has her feather ruffled, and the friend whose newborn never cries. We all have different backgrounds, values, experiences and priorities that shape who we are and how we became the women we are today. Comparing ourselves to others who have not walked the same road is cheating us from our own joy and contentment. It is unfair to us. So can we stop, please?
It is so easy to get sucked into comparison with our world of social media and the continual sharing of pictures and status updates. Scrolling through your Instagram feed, asking yourself why are they always so happy? How do they always have it together? Wow, they have the perfect family, why don’t I? Why do they have so much fun?
Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Telling ourselves lies based on what other people are doing or not doing. These snippets of someone else’s life is not necessarily real life, you know? Nobody is perfect. We all have moments of great joy as well as moments of frustration, disappointment, and sadness. That is real life.
And the secret about social media? No one posts pictures about the days that are really hard. The messy parts about our lives. The challenges we face. Every. Single. Day. Remember that behind every picture, there is probably a mom struggling with her own set of issues too; we just do not know about them.
I challenge you to be content. Not just say you are content but actually be content. Right now. In whatever circumstances you are in, whether it is a high or a low. If it is a high, then relish it because you never know how long it will last, and if you are at a low, hang in there because it will not last forever. And when it is done, you will look back in awe at how far you have come. You see, comparison steals these moments from us because instead of focusing on the present, we are looking at where or how we think we should be simply based on the perception of another. How much joy do we miss out on in our own lives because of watching someone else?
And you know what? None of this really matters. The ways we compare ourselves to others. But you know what does matter? That your children feel loved. You spend time with them instead of evaluating your flaws as a mom. Cuddle them when they are sick, read bedtime stories, push them on the swings, build snowmen, tell secrets, cheer the loudest at their soccer game. These are the only things that hold any lasting significance or value. These moments are where joy and contentment flourish.
I encourage you to put your blinders on and stop looking at the ways we differ from others. Focus on being the best version of yourself for your children. This is what will bring joy and contentment. Your children love you, not the other mom that has perfect selfies.