Why Moms Should Avoid The Comparison Trap

Inside: Why you should stop comparing yourself to all the other moms out there and trying to be someone that you’ll never be. This content may contain affiliate links.

It’s so easy to look at the other moms around you and think, “Gosh she has it all together. Why can’t I get my kids to sleep through the night at 6 weeks?” or “I can’t believe I’ve fed my family fast food 3 nights this week and she cooks delicious organic meals every night! How does she do it? Why can’t I be more like her?”

“Why can’t I manage working full time, keep my house clean, and make my family happy all the time?” Do you realize that no one is able to do that? If any mom makes you think that she can, she is fooling you!

Are you one of those moms that is jealous of your friend who has a baby and then immediately looks like she did before she got pregnant? Is all you can think about why you still haven’t lost the 40 pounds you gained when you got pregnant with your toddler who is now 3. Well guess what….just because she looks like she’s back to her normal pre-pregnancy weight, doesn’t mean she is. Even if she is back to her “pre-pregnancy weight” that doesn’t mean she’s completely happy.

Maybe she’s starving herself and working out while her baby is napping, but then she snaps at her family because she’s not taking time to rest when the baby sleeps. She might even be thinking that she wishes she could be more like you, because you always seem to have the most patience with your kids.

Despite the pounds on the scale, it’s really irrelevant.

Each of our bodies is different and we can’t make them into something they’re not. I was in a fitness class the other day and the instructor made a point to say that we shouldn’t compare our bodies and our “progress” to the person next to us. We can all do the exact same work out and eat the exact same thing all day and still look completely different.

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God made us the way we are SO that we would all be different. Can you imagine how boring our world would be if we all looked the same?

A few years ago, I attended a small group study led by Sandra Stanley on her book The Comparison Trap. It’s a 28-day devotional where she explores what the Bible says about how God made you the way that you are.

One of the devotionals studies Ephesians 2: 10 It says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” What that means is the good things that God’s picked for me aren’t the same for you. Instead of saying, “Why not me?” remember that God has something else planned for you, something that’s even better for you based on the gifts, skills, and temperament that he gave you.

God knew exactly what he was doing when he made you. If you try to be someone else you’re always going to come up short. You’re going to exhaust yourself spinning your wheels trying to be someone that you weren’t created to be.

The Family Looking Up Blog interviews Sara Payne, about what she believes are 3 ways that moms can avoid the comparison trap.

Sara points out that often when we are comparing ourselves to others, we’re comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. And that’s just not fair for either person! She challenges moms to celebrate other moms successes and to look at them as being allies not enemies.

Unfortunately for moms today, with social media constantly at our fingertips, it’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. But that doesn’t mean we have to stay there. We just have to make a conscious effort to get ourselves out of it.

I got this sticker from The Comparison Trap study that says, “You’re fine because you’re mine.” I put it on my mirror in my bathroom so that I would see it everyday.

A sticker that says "You're fine because you're mine."

There might be days that go by, where I just wash my face and brush my teeth without and even acknowledging that it’s there. But on the days that I do see it, it’s a good reminder for me that God made me the way I am and that he made me this way on purpose.

What’s something you can do to help yourself avoid getting stuck in the comparison trap?

Mom Guilt- How To Deal With It When It Strikes

Last night I had major “mom guilt.” We’ve been really laid back about letting our kids stay up late this summer and now they are totally out of their routine.

I’ve been dealing with mom guilt since I became a mom.

After he was born, I felt guilty when he wouldn’t nap and I had to let him cry it out for a few minutes just so I could take a break.

Of course I felt even more guilt when I switched to formula feeding at 5 months because it was too much. At every feeding I was pumping, then feeding him through a bottle, and then had to wash the pump parts. I should have earned a metal for all of the effort. Instead I allowed myself to feel bad about giving up.

I felt guilty when I let him sleep in the swing for the first 4 or 5 months of his life. Even though that was the only way to get him to sleep.

 

When my 2nd son was born, I felt guilty for not even trying breastfeeding.

Because of all the challenges I had with my first, we decided to go straight to formula. Even though this was what was right for our family, I felt guilty for not trying to breastfeed. I also felt guilty for not giving my oldest enough attention and having to split my time and energy between them.

Lately, I feel guilty when I allow my kids too much screen time and when I let them have too much sugar. No matter how hard I try as a mom, there’s always something making me feel like I’m not doing enough.

I’m sure there are many other reasons I’ve felt “mom guilt.” It would be impossible not to.

An article on Huffpost by Taylor Pittman, 5 Ways to Cope When Mom Guilt is Getting The Best of You, quoted tennis star Serena Williams’ post on Instagram about how she felt guilty for not spending enough time with her daughter. She’s a famous athlete, and no doubt she has had to sacrifice a lot of family time to get there. Yet she hasn’t missed a day of spending time with her. Her post had over 3000 responses last year of other moms saying that they’d also missed their kids’ important milestones and had experienced feelings of guilt.

 
 
 
 
 
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Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal. It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be. However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week–it’s ok–I am, too!!! There’s always tomm!

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

Pittman also writes that the best way to deal with mom guilt and these feelings of inferiority is to stop comparing yourself to Hollywood’s take on the perfect mom. Carol Brady doesn’t exist and we have to stop trying to be someone who isn’t even real! 

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when you feel guilty:

1). Am I providing my kids their basic needs? If you are giving them food, drink, shelter, and love then you are doing a good job as a mom and you don’t need to feel guilty.

2). What do I need right now? It’s so easy to focus on what your kids need and forget that you as a mom have needs to. Sometimes the feeling that you can’t measure up is a result of burn out. What you may need is to take a few minutes to fill your own cup.

3). If one of my friends was feeling guilty about this would I tell her not to? If the answer is yes, why are you holding yourself to higher standards? I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive to be better. But you have to cut yourself a break when things don’t always go as planned.

What do you struggle with feeling guilty about most as a mom? Have you found anything that helps you get past it?

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