Mark Twain once said, “comparison is the death of joy.” I couldn’t agree more! You’re a GOOD MOM. Yes, you are. I know you’ve been doubting yourself lately. Feeling guilty, overwhelmed, not measuring up to some idealized standard of motherhood that you’ve set for yourself. You’ve been at it again–comparing yourself to the other moms at school, at your office, at the park and on the soccer field. Guess what? That other mom you’ve been eyeing who is always dressed beautifully, who looks happy and calm whenever you see her out and about with her two kids? She’s probably looking at YOU right now and thinking that you have it all together because you remembered the folding chairs for the adults, the blanket for the toddler to sit on during the game, the sliced oranges and cold Gatorade to hand out to your kids at half time while she’s rummaging her purse for a rumpled granola bar or even a stick of gum to hand to her child.
As moms, we constantly compare ourselves. Some of this is just human nature I guess. We judge, we wonder if HER life is easier or in some way better than ours. If HER kids are better mannered or better students. Want to know what would be a RADICAL idea? To simply STOP. For all of us to take a collective deep breath (yes, please take one right now!) and to quiet our minds. Let’s make a pact that we’ll put a stop to all of the endless life comparisons. Deep down, we know it isn’t healthy. It’s exhausting! It also doesn’t tell the truth or even the whole story. If you are really curious about someone’s life, ask them! Learn from other moms, share resources and insider tips from the experienced mom with older kids. Find a mom that you trust and ask her what it’s really like to balance working full-time and having kids OR find another mommy friend and listen to what she has to say about what it’s like to stay-at-home with 3 kids under the age of 5. Ask a mom that you respect to share her knowledge (learned I’m certain through lots of trial and error over the years) on how to calm a fussy baby, how to potty train a challenging 3 year-old boy, how to best transition a shy 5 year-old girl into kindergarten, how to support a 12 year-old with homework while balancing after-school activities, sports and friendships.
Being a mom is HARD. Being a mom pushes you to grow, to leave your comfort zone, to develop patience and calm on the days you most feel like screaming or running for the exit door! On your most challenging days when nothing seems to be going right, remind yourself that you are simply doing your best. That your best really IS good enough, even if that means your kids watched TV so that you could have 30 minutes of “me” time, even if the dinner you served wasn’t organic, whole grain and balanced with a heaping portion of dark green vegetables!
Now that you are conscious of this vicious cycle of comparing yourself to others, make a CHOICE to change the script in your head. Instead of thinking, if only I could _____ like HER, I would be a better mom. If only I had ____ like her, I would feel happier. If only I was more like HER, my house would stay clean and organized, my kids’ homework would always end up completed by 8pm, placed neatly in their homework folder, and tucked inside their backpack.
STOP seeking praise and acceptance from others. Praise and accept yourself as YOU are today, a perfectly imperfect mom! Write your own life affirmations! You will feel the weight of the world come off your shoulders when you stop comparing, stop judging, and instead start LIVING and LOVING your own life! When you devote the time and energy into creating the family life, the routines, and traditions that sit right with YOUR heart.
ALL your kids really need from you is your love, your hugs, your time, your open ears and heart, beyond the obvious basics of food and shelter. The rest is simply icing on the cake! So, please, enjoy the rest of your day, sleep well tonight, and take comfort with the knowledge that yes, you are a GOOD MOM. I bet your kids (if they are old enough to talk) would even say that you’re a GREAT mom!