We are our own worst critics. It’s true. We tend criticize everything we do– maybe it wasn’t good enough or we did it wrong. Whatever. This is especially true when it comes to being a mom. There is so much information out there. So many voices and opinions that swirl around us. We never think we’re doing enough. Social media doesn’t help.
I was scrolling through my Facebook one evening and came across the post of a friend who has a baby just a few weeks younger than my own. I saw her posts a lot. I quickly found that I was comparing myself to her. How did she lose the baby weight so fast? How does she already look like that? I haven’t washed my hair in 5 days– how is she able to find time to workout, cook a bunch of food, get her hair done, and look amazing doing it??
The Comparison Trap. We have all gotten caught in its ugly snares at least once… a day.
I was beating myself up because I wasn’t getting back into the gym 3 months after having my baby. I wasn’t able to keep a spotless house. I wasn’t able to cook dinner every single night like I had before I became a mom. Somehow I convinced myself that I was less. Before having my son I had this picture of what life would be like when we got him home. Rainbows and unicorns. Pictures of this perfect wife/mom combo played in my head. Of course I would be able to carry the load I had before AND care for a newborn baby! Man, was I surprised that life was not like a 1950’s television sitcom! I had to accept the new reality that I lived in– life had changed (even more so when I went back to work, but that’s a different blog post all together). There was a new normal and I had to adjust.
I had to stop this ugly cycle of comparison! It really is a daily struggle, especially with social media and the lives of other people at our fingertips every second of every day. If, like me, you’re caught in this cycle then take a step back and reset. Here are some things that have helped me a little bit.
1). Hit that unfollow button. Did you know you can do that? You can unfollow peoples posts! This was a big one for me. I didn’t want to unfriend this person on Facebook– I really do like her. However, at that early point in my mom journey, I just couldn’t handle seeing someone that seemingly had their life together so much better than I did. Those early months are hard enough with the long hours and sleepless nights. Don’t make it harder by following someone on Facebook who makes you feel inadequate.
2). Have a win for the day. Sometimes when we’re sitting down to dinner, my husband and I will ask each other, “What was your win for today?” Some days my win is big, like I was able to completely clean the entire downstairs AND cook dinner AND get in a load of laundry. Some days my win is smaller, like I was only spit up on 3 times or I actually remembered to eat lunch. You can’t have an award winning day every day, but I’m sure that something good happened.
3). Enlist a friend to be your cheerleader. You could call on your husband, your mom, your best friend, anyone who loves you who will speak words of life and love over you. Having that person who tells you that you’re looking great or you’re doing an amazing job is really the best. On a day that you’re struggling, that person will be there to tell you, “You’re doing great momma– keep rocking those leggings and that messy bun. You’re awesome.”
4). Finally, cut yourself some slack. Social media only shows you what people want you to see. What’s going on behind the scenes for people that seem to have it all together? Do they have a lot of family helping them out at home? There is really so much that a Facebook update doesn’t show you. Worry about your own self (a phrase I use often). It is totally ok to not have it all together as a brand new mom. Or as a mom of 3. Or as a normal person existing in this world in general. Show yourself the grace you would show your best friend.
Here I am now, slowly approaching a year of that mom life. I still struggle with comparing myself to other moms or the internet, but it has gotten better. I fell down a deep internet hole the evening I wrote everything above. Thankfully, I called on some friends to reassure me and give me advice.
Just remember– give yourself grace.