Do you ever find yourself trying not to stare at the mom sitting next to you at soccer practice. You know the one- she’s got a cute outfit, her makeup is perfect, and she looks like she actually showered that day. She probably fed her kids organic baby kale for lunch instead of drive-through chicken nuggets. She looks like she’s got it all together, and you start feeling like a sloppy ogre of a mom. No? Just me?
Guys, my comparison game is strong. Seriously, it can all be so overwhelming! I find myself comparing stupid things like the quality of food in the cart of the mom ahead of me in the grocery line- “What has she got in her cart? Is it healthier than my stuff? Let’s see… Apples, check. Skim milk, check. Whole wheat bread, check. Wait, what is that strange vegetable? Is that asparagus? I think she’s buying asparagus! Should I have bought some? I know my kids won’t eat it cause it makes their pee smell bad, but I kind of feel like I should buy some now- she is, so it’s probably a good mom thing to do.”
Then, when I go back to the produce isle to get some asparagus, I’m checking out another mom’s shoes- “She’s got high heels on, at the grocery store! Why would she do that? Is she someone important? I don’t recognize her. Maybe she just came from work- she must have an important job. Why would anyone in their right mind shop in heels? Her legs do look nice, though. Maybe I should wear heels- to make my calves stronger. If she’s shopping in heels, I definitely can shop in heels. Plus, maybe someone will think I’m famous. Looks like I’m stopping by the shoe store on my way home. I hope it’s BOGO.”
Then at the shoe store, there’s another mom and another situation where I find a way to compare myself to her. It doesn’t matter where I go, there’s always someone who is doing something better than me. If it’s not a mom, it’s a newlywed couple who still holds hands, and does polite things like closing the door when use the bathroom at home. Or it’s a woman with a career, an actual job with actual adults to speak to. Or it’s the college girls who don’t have stretch marks and don’t need a girdle and don’t pee when they laugh-yet. It doesn’t matter who I see, I find a way to compare myself to them. And guess what? Most of the time the other person wins the comparison game.
It’s taken a lot of years of doing this before I even realized I did it. My husband pointed it out to me, and it has honestly taken me a long time to understand how hurtful it was to me, and those around me, and how I could stop it.
Playing the comparison game was hard on my family. My husband wanted a strong, confident wife- but every single day, I was putting myself down without even knowing it. And my kids? They needed a mom to sit at their soccer games and actually watch them play. Instead they had a mom so consumed with herself and those around her, that she couldn’t focus on anything else. How sad for the people who loved me and counted on me. How sad for ME.
So I came up with a little strategy, and I have this JUST BE shirt to remind me. Whenever I feel like I’m not measuring up, or that I’m failing- not because of any proof, but simply because I think everyone around me is so much better. I STOP. I take a minute and literally stop everything I’m doing. Then I take a second and JUST BE. I ask myself a few questions:
- Am I doing everything I can do to be the best I can be?
- Yes? Great. Good job. Move on.
- No? Figure out a way to do better. Take inspiration from the person you’re being compared to.
- Am I being fair to the people around me?
- Yes? Great. Good job. Move on.
- No? My comparisons are affecting others. Realize that these people need me, as I am, and as I get better each day.
- Does this comparison really matter?
- Yes? Then look at this person, and be inspired to be better.
- No? Then stop looking at this person. Move on.
Most of the time these questions lead to this conclusion: I’m a cool chick! I’ve got a lot going on! And even though I will never look like a super model soccer mom and I’ll never catch up on the laundry, I’m a pretty great mom. I’ve got 4 kiddos who are amazing human beings that adore me. Really, I’ve got nothing to complain about. She’s cool too. But I can JUST BE myself, and I don’t have to be her. In fact, I am better off just being myself. My family needs ME.
This comparison game isn’t doing me any favors. So I’m going to STOP. And I’m going to JUST BE. Just be me. Just be present. Just be engaged. Just be happy. Just be the awesome wife and mom I’m meant to be. I love this shirt from Cents of Style cause it’s a reminder that my family needs me- ME! And it’s ok for me to JUST BE.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you liked it and feel inspired to be and do better. Here are some other similar articles I’ve written that you might like:
The One Thing I Changed that Made Me a Better Wife and Mother
5 Promises I make to my Spouse Every Day
Dear Natalie, I’m not fluent in English, but your article is so easy to read and understand, and it’s so easy to apply in life! Thank you very much!