It may have taken four kids to understand this, but I am so glad that a realization has finally settled in. That realization? The mommy comparison game is LAME. The mommy comparison game is where we compare ourselves to others. It’s a silent competition that creates more unnecessary stress in our lives.
Why does comparing ourselves to others come so naturally to us women? We often talk about the labels we place on moms, but what about the way we compare our lives to others? The range of comparisons goes from parenting styles to the strollers we push our kids in — the list can go on and on. Maybe some men do this, but I know my husband could care less about what happens in other people’s lives. Why, then, do women do this to ourselves?
For years I have found myself comparing MY parenting and lifestyle with other moms. This mommy comparison game is just another contributor to mommy guilt. If we could just do what works best for us, none of this would even be an issue. We wrap ourselves up so much with what we think the world expects of us, but really all we are doing is creating massive amounts of unneeded stress.
In our home, my husband and I both work. We are nocturnal creatures, and while our kids do have a bedtime, it’s much later than those our friends have set for their kids. I have always thought that we were doing something wrong. Surely, because our toddlers aren’t in bed until sometimes 10 PM, we are doing something wrong, right? But our lives don’t stop after 8 PM. Putting the kids to bed later means we have family time at night that we don’t get during the day. Sure our kids get to sleep in later than others, but it’s what works for OUR family. Only if I could have just realized years ago that if it works for YOU, and it’s not unhealthy or affecting anyone else, then do it.
My “a-ha” moment that this stupid comparison game I was playing had to stop came at a meet-up with several other moms. We had an open and honest discussion about this mommy comparison game that so many of us play. It was eye-opening to hear other moms speak freely about how we judge ourselves on things that seem so major to us.
For example, one of my friends is Asian, and her Asian friends tend to co-sleep with their kids for MANY years. But my friend can’t stand co-sleeping. She gets no sleep whatsoever and neither do her kids whenever everyone is sharing a bed. She just can’t do it, and when talking to her friends who co-sleep, she feels a sense of guilt. But that guilt isn’t from her friends, it’s from herself.
This realization seems so simple, but thinking back through the last 11 years of being a parent, I can see time and time again where I should have just focused on MY family in regards to what WE need and what works best for US. I guess it’s better late than never to understand this simple truth.
Do you play the mommy comparison game?
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