How to Deal with Mommy Comparison

We love other mamas. They make us laugh till we leak {thank you child birth}. They drop off Starbucks when we are on our 3rd round of the stomach bug. They are our sanity, our life line, our tribe.

Yet a part of us is, let’s be honest, pretty jealous of them at times too. We hear all about their kids unparalleled developmental milestones, see their completed Pinterest projects, and read their birth story {oh – that didn’t involve drugs and only lasted 30 minutes}. Life seems perfect for them.

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And we also see our every day reality. We see the dishes piled up in the sink. We know that if it weren’t for Febreeze and the steamer, we’d be naked. We know we’ve pinned about 1,438 pins on whatever holiday is blowing up this month and haven’t done a single one. We know our toddler, even though he’s gone through the Potty Training Bootcamp twice, is still having accidents every single day. We know that if we say, “Please use your big girl voice” one more time our heads my actually explode. Life seems out of control for us. 

My brother is a social media guru {consults & has even written a book} and you know what is one of the most profound things he has ever taught me about social media?

When you are scrolling through social media, you are typically at a low point in your day {waiting rooms, middle of the night feedings, carpool lane, etc.}. At that moment, your life is so far from cool. You are looking at someone’s highlights that they want to remember and share with those that love them most {i.e. the grandparents}. [paraphrased]

If you are struggling with comparison, I have a few tips that have worked really well for this mama ::

Choose to be happy for them.

You will be amazed at how this shifts your attitude. Instead of just scrolling through your newsfeed, use it as an opportunity to love on other moms {show some comment & like love to the mamas}. You know that our days are so very long and the years are short. So let’s celebrate with each other the moments that actually go right– that the kid smiles for the camera {because you know it took 25 takes to get that}, that they actually stained rice {you only use rice if it takes 10 minutes to cook}, and that their kid slept through the night at 5 weeks of age {because you know next week’s growth spurt is going to totally screw that up}. Let’s love one another because we need a whole squad of cheerleaders to get through this.

If there is a specific Mama that triggers you into a slump, stop following them.

You can hide them from your newsfeed {they’ll never know} or your can unfriend them {a little harsh, but do what’s best for you}.

Set a realistic precedent for the moms that are in your {virtual} life.

Post the good. We want to see your highs! Let them see what you are doing well. There has been many posts by moms that have challenged me to be a better mom that day. And I really can’t get enough of pics of your kids. Really and truly mean that. But post the not so pretty too. Just be real, be you. And sometimes that looks like the movies and some days it looks like an insane asylum.

And if it really is just too much, take a temporary break from social media.

There’s been many seasons I’ve taken the apps off my phone {you will be amazed at how much time you get back} or even just taken a 30 day break to gain some perspective.

Social media can be a total blessing for moms. Never before have we had a tribe of women at our disposal {have you check out the Houston Moms Blog Facebook SOSes?}. I have gotten amazing tips & encouragement for my baby registry, breastfeeding, and potty training. I have been entertained during middle of the night feedings and crying it out. I’ve had a semblance of community on the days I feel stuck and alone at home.

You mamas have been my tribe, and I am honored and blessed that we can continue to support each other.

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13 Responses to How to Deal with Mommy Comparison

  1. Avatar
    Heather M September 20, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    This is such a great post!! It is easy to compare and let that bring you down. But those other moms are probably only sharing their ‘highs’ on facebook and leaving out the part where they got baby poop on their only clean pair of jeans, haha.

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      Becky K September 20, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Haha! So true girl!

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    Jenn September 20, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    GREAT post Becky! I have been guilty of this social media funk as well. I love that quote from your brother–so true! These are great tips and I think what has helped me the most is just to step back a second and in the midst of a bad day or incomplete projects or whatever and see the blessings and find the joys. They may be small or few in number at that moment, but they are small victories!

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      Becky K September 20, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      LOVE this perspective girl!

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    Noelle (@singerinkitchen) September 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Love this Becky. I was and have been a little relieved being detached from social media this week cause I am so tired but this is when I compare myself even more and it is a reminder that my strength is in the Lord and he does not give me more than I can handle nor am I to compare myself with any woman.

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    Meg O. September 22, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    LOVE this post, Becky! I especially love what your brother had to say. It’s so true. I am never just browsing social media during the high points of the day. Heather said it right, too. These people are totally posting the best and awesome parts of their days (as we all should) so it definitely seems a bit skewed.

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      Becky K September 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      Agreed. And agreed that we all should post the highs— LOVE seeing all the highs. Love seeing your sweet girls selfies. And LOVE when you post your daily outfit pics. 🙂

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    Amber September 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    I have some beef with this post, Becky. Namely, the snarky comments in parentheses that seem to be doing the exact thing you say we shouldn’t do. If we’re encouraging moms to stop the comparing, making a snarky comment about their natural birth isn’t the way to do it. Suppose that sentence said instead, (oh-that was induced early for no reason and ended in a C-section). Everyone would be crying, “how dare you judge!” Same goes for natural, 30-minute mamas. If we’re truly rejoicing for the smiling-kid picture, we’re not telling ourselves in the back of our minds in a sarcastic voice that it took 25 takes. Or pointing out that the only time WE cook rice is if it takes 10 minutes (as if that colored-rice-mama is crazy), or find some twisted comfort in the fact that the growth spurt will ruin the 5-week-old’s sleeping. This post sounded very self-serving and self-righteous, in my opinion.

    Also, I don’t think you did very much to truly address the real issue of mommy comparison. Though I do like your brother’s comment and the “trigger mom” advice, the deeper issue is insecurity. We lack support from pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and in all of mothering. We have people who make millions off of telling us we’re doing things wrong, we need this new product, our child will DIE if we don’t get the correct crib/mattress/bottle/carseat. We see other people doing things differently and feel insecure about the choices we’ve made. Maybe they’re doing it right and we’re doing it wrong?? Then we feel like we need to cut down their choices to make ourselves feel better. If we can find security and confidence in the decisions we’ve made as mothers, it won’t matter if someone does things differently. I can have a 37-hour labor with an epidural and know that I did what was right and best for me and my baby. Thus, I have no need to knock the no-drug, 30-minute labor.

    I think this post is a great example of how much farther we have to go in recognizing and combating the “mommy wars”.

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      Amber September 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      After thinking about it more, here’s what I think is ultimately think is rubbing me the wrong way about this post. All the focus is on “the other mom”. As if ambiguous-perfect-mom is at fault for your comparison and insecurity and if you remind yourself of all of HER secret shortcomings, that will make things better. It won’t. You need to deal with your jealousy and insecurity, find out where it’s coming from, and stop focusing on other moms’ good or bad. Find security in YOUR mothering, and that doesn’t come from reminding yourself of how other moms screw up too.

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      Becky K September 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Amber, I’m glad you commented. A lot of times when people disagree they just roll their eyes and move on. So thank you for taking the time to share your perspective. Love that at Houston Moms Blog, just like my personal blog, we publish any and all comments that are well meaning, regardless if it is supportive or not of what we shared.

      Let me comment on a few things you shared and I’d love to hear back from you here in the comments or you can contact me personally as well.

      First, I think the tricky thing with blogs is that it can be easily misread. And since I tend to write with a pretty matter of fact style and often sarcastic, it can get misconstrued sometimes. So a lot of those parenthesis comments you referred to were in jest, they weren’t snarky or better than thou.

      The point of the article is for every mom to give themselves a break and have freedom to be whichever mom they are. And to support other moms. That’s the point of the article. That we stop the comparison. We stop the game that one way of parenting is better and just support one another. We are all a part of this mommy tribe and need each others love and well wishes, not judgements.

      Some moms, like those that commented and the many many many others I’ve encountered in my years online and many years in women’s ministry, struggle with comparison. What I wrote wasn’t a struggle that just I have from time to time. I’m so glad that you don’t struggle with this and it’s not an issue for you. But many other moms do. Such a gift to not have to worry about that. Truly.

      Let me be clear that I was in NO way knocking natural childbirth. That comment seems to have really stuck out to you. I do not believe that any method is better when it comes to delivery (each mom needs to do what’s best for them and their baby). I wasn’t knocking Pinterest projects. I wasn’t knocking sharing developmental milestones. (All in the same sentence as the childbirth) I’ve actually shared all of those things on my blog (even my journey of wanting a natural childbirth). What I was referring to in the context of that paragraph is we read these things– everyones good– and in our weak moment (or bored moment) we can feel like less than. We see this ideal (and it is so great) and because we aren’t in an ideal moment (we are in a mundane moment), the comparison starts kicking in. And yes, the root of that is insecurity.

      I just re-read the post to see if I spoke out of turn and still feel like the general point is that we support one another. That we know life is hard as moms. We know that there are good days (like sleeping through the night at 5 weeks, doing pintrest projects, posting great pics of your kids)… and days can be rough (kid all of a sudden is colic after being a sleeping champ, kids are insane, and TV is on instead of projects). We all have rock star weeks. And we all have weeks that aren’t so awesome. So it’s good to be challenged (in a good way) by the awesome moments we see. And so very good to love on those moms that are experiencing an awesome moment.

      What I tried to emphasize is that we take control of OUR part (think we agree on that from what you said). So those tips were how to handle insecurity WE might feel when looking at others lives. Never once did I say those women shouldn’t do those things or post those things (I actually encouraged that they/we do that). Those tips are things I’ve learned. I stand by the first tip most of all– we need to learn how to rejoice with one another and not compare. And our rejoicing has NOTHING to do with that they might have a crappy day or screw up. We don’t want those for other moms. But we know they will have one soon– that’s part of being a mom (really part of being human). Some days just are hard. So we need to celebrate the days that are so good with one another. Sorry that comment came across to you that we should dwell on their failure as our coping mechanism. That would be so unhealthy and not loving at all and would totally miss the point (that I’d stated) on genuinely encouraging them.

      Would love to respond to anything else that you feel like I misspoke on. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

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        Amber September 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

        You’re right that things can definitely be misread on blogs and I apologize if my comment came across as harsh. I aim to be respectful and straightforward at the same time. It was definitely not personal 🙂

        I definitely DO struggle with comparison! I just feel like I’ve found what works to combat (or deal) with it. And that’s to identify what I’m feeling insecure about, find security in it, and then move forward (encouraging others, rejoicing with/for them, etc.). Easier said than done, as I’ve learned! Overall, I just think this post was “fluff” and a bit too surface-y and superficial. If we’re really going to talk about how to deal with mommy comparison, we need to talk about deeper issues than Facebook likes and comments and Pinterest projects. Some women are having serious struggles in this area, to the point that it affects their mothering, children, relationships, etc.

        I stand by my point about the parentheses remarks. If we’re not comparing, there’s no reason for you to even point those things out. Maybe I’m the colored rice mom and I read this and think, “Wow, people are bothered by me dyeing rice…” thus, the cycle of comparison continues. This post reads like a roundabout way of gaining support for your side of things (“Those crazy Pinterest moms, right??!”). There is an air of “WE shouldn’t judge THOSE OTHER moms…” But what if I’m one of “those other moms” you seem to be referring to? It just widens the divide instead of closing it.

        I appreciate the response, I was wondering if my comments would be approved 🙂 I just don’t think this post really did much at all to help with mommy comparison. It’s a deep issue with many facets (society, our family, how we became a mother, our spouse, support/lack thereof) and it’s something we really need to combat in order to have healthy, secure moms raising healthy, secure kids.

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          Becky K September 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

          Amber, I hear what you are saying. And I think we are going to just have to agree to disagree on some things and agree on other.

          I was in now way trying to attack how to solve comparison at large. The post ended up being focused on the internet (as that is where I’ve heard most moms are easily triggered). It would take a lot more than the 300-600 word limit I am allowed to even come close to it. Reason why there are tons of books out there on the issue. And I agree, the root is insecurity and agree that the root of that needs to be attacked to find any kind of freedom from comparison. I was just offering up some practical tips to aid that lifelong battle most women will fight against insecurity. Sorry if that was fluff for you. My hope is that it encourages a mom and am glad that is has for several that have contacted.

          Don’t mean to drag this reply out, but I disagree about my camp against your camp comment and want to be clear on that issue because it’s against everything I wrote and stand for: that moms support one another MORE and love each other well. There is not that awesome mom (who labors naturally or does pintrest projects) and that unawesome mom who doesn’t. I tried to point out that we are all both moms at different times (I know I have!). As I’ve talked to other moms– both friends and acquaintances– we feel like we fall into both “camps” (as you said) during different days and seasons. Our default, in weak moments, is to think we are a less than mom in a less than camp (which doesn’t exist, in my opinion). So it def wasn’t and isn’t a this camp verse that camp. We are all in one camp. One tribe. And we need to support one another more and more was the point I said many times. So I guess when I wrote that I don’t even see a camps.

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    Kelly D November 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    I have found that my own worst enemy is myself. I am so, so, SO critical of everything I do and everything I don’t do. I beat myself up over the silliest things and stress over things that don’t even deserve a second thought. I seriously need to print this post out and paste it to my fridge…and remember that while my life may not be perfect, it is perfect for me and my family!

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