We all know the quote, "Comparison kills joy," but comparison is often painted in this light that the struggle with it is completely within our control and our own responsibility. Though our thoughts can absolutely be the culprit of comparison, there have been moments when moms have compared me to themselves resulting in passing judgement for our differences. I'm not talking about overt shaming, but rather a covert kind of shame that comes with the best intentions but hurts just as much.
For example, here is a sentence that seems good, but rather, is an act of comparison with a potential to hurt moms. "If I can do it, you can do it." Though that sentence can be meant to encourage someone, the person saying it is comparing the other person to themselves and telling them they can do something when sometimes the truth is that the other person can't do it or doesn't want to. And often what follows after that sentence is uttered is judgement and shame even if they don't say it out loud.
Whatever it is (breastfeeding, sleep training, exercising, working, cooking, childcare, etc.) most moms tackle parenting challenges in the best way they can and it looks different for everyone. I tried SO HARD both times at breastfeeding, and I've been met with, "If I can do it, you can do it; Just keep trying, you will get it. It's best for your baby; I didn't have any problems with it at all, you're probably not doing it right." Yucky, right? Have you been there? Or maybe it's the challenge of sleep deprivation....Have you ever said, "I'm so tired. My baby was up twice last night," only to be met with, "That's nothin'! My baby was up three times last night and hasn't slept through the night for over a year now." This idea of one-upping another mom by how much we can handle or do for our kids and shaming others who complain about their hardships isn't okay.
There are no gold, silver or bronze medals for moms. We're all gold medal winners if we are doing the best that we can to take care of our families. To some, the best means baking everything from scratch, having a home cooked meal on the table every night and homeschooling. That's so awesome! Who wouldn't love those things?! For me, the best means hugs and kisses whenever I can get them, reading a book to the kids before bed, and donuts after dance class. Again, what kid doesn't love that too?
I bottle fed my kids, I let them eat Cheetos, I let them watch television, I have a nanny, I order takeout some nights, I let my daughter wear lipstick, my kids wear hand-me-downs most of the time, sometimes I forget to brush their teeth, I don't DIY anything. These aren't bad things or parenting fails. Where did we get this idea that they were? If you craft stuff, bake stuff, eat only organic and are able to do it all without childcare that's so great! I love that! But at the end of the day, that doesn't make someone a better mom than me or the mom that buys store bought cupcakes and works full-time. Kids aren't necessarily better kids because of that either.
We are doing our jobs as moms when our kids are told they are loved, their needs are met, and they are able to learn and grow with joy. There must be equality within motherhood, and we must stop comparing ourselves. To read more on this topic of comparison from other amazing, real moms be sure to check out the posts below: