The Dangerous Game of Constant Comparison

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The title “Mom” comes with many roles — including caregiver, cheerleader, discipliner, negotiator, and snack distributor.

Oftentimes mom have other roles too: like partner, friend, family member, coworker, child, volunteer, leader, community member, and the list continues.

What I have experienced as I gain more roles is how dangerous it is to compare ourselves to others, and how they’re handling their responsibilities.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful thing to talk to others and learn from them. But it’s crucial we set a clear boundary to ensure we don’t start comparing ourselves.

And often when we compare ourselves we are looking at our weaknesses and another person’s strengths. Meaning I compare my child mid-meltdown at the store to the mom who pushes her child calmly by in the cart. Thinking she is clearly a better mom than me, when for all I know her child could have had a meltdown five minutes ago.

The Comparison Game

What is the comparison game?

It’s the moments when we are surrounded by others, hearing their stories, and constantly feeling inadequate.

If we are listening to a mom talk about how well her intelligent child is doing in school, we might find ourselves thinking about the conference we just had with our child’s teacher about reading concerns.

Or, we hear a mom talking about her child’s struggles to go on the potty, and we think back to how easy it was to potty train, and can’t understand why this person can’t figure it out.

Either we are making ourselves feel less than or better than other moms — neither of which is helpful.

As a mom balancing multiple roles, we all could use a cheerleader. And could all benefit from another mom saying, “You’re doing awesome,” or, “I totally understand that struggle, just know it gets better.”

Social Media Doesn’t Help

Social media adds a whole new level of challenge to the comparison game. At any moment we can look at our phones and quickly see how great everyone’s days are going.

Regardless the platform, there are endless amounts of content of what people’s lives “look” like. A reminder to all is social media is a highlight reel of a person’s life. They are capturing just a glimmer of what everyday life looks like.

Someone posts a cute picture of them with their kids at the zoo. We feel less than because we stayed home with our kids, we must not be as fun or adventurous as those parents.

Or, someone posts a picture of them on a date night with their significant other. Remind yourself you don’t know the whole story — maybe that’s their first date in months (finally!), maybe the conversation was dry and they are trying hard to reconnect, or maybe they are celebrating something exciting.

Remember, you are only seeing what others want you to see.

Regardless of how a person presents their life, we have all had hard days and we would all benefit from a bit more encouragement and a lot less comparison.

Just the High Points

Speaking from personal experience, I will post on social media when I finish a race. Never have I posted about the days that I struggle to even finish a mile on my run, but I have posted pictures of myself finishing races countless times.

Consistently I post photos of my kid with his precious smile, giving a big cheesy grin for the camera. Often bribing him with ice cream if he stands still long enough to capture this moment for all to see. To this day I have never posted about us staying home all night because neither of us had energy to do more.

Again, I am only posting what I want others to see.

Please do not compare yourself to another person’s social media, it’s not their whole life.

My hope for sharing this is that we can become more authentic with ourselves and our followers. As you’re scrolling through your social media platforms, remind yourself you are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Post on the Tough Days

Feel free to post about the challenging times in motherhood as well as the good. Cheer on another person when you see something awesome — whether in real life or on social media.

Ask for support and encouragement when you need it, and offer it freely to others.

My hope is the only person you compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday. That you make it a priority to continue to work on yourself.

And when you do look back you can honor the “old” you, while celebrating the person you are becoming.

Give Yourself Credit

We are constantly cheering our children on when they accomplish something. Take a moment to reflect and cheer on the awesome things you do each day.

Think about your personal triumphs, and also those you share with your child. Your baby takes their first step, you were a part of the process. Your toddler eats all their vegetables, you were the patient provider that never gave up. Or, your teenager sets a healthy boundary with a friend, you modeled that behavior and supported them.

Celebrate the people around you often and celebrate the person you are every single day. You got this momma (and all the other titles you own)!

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Trisha Twite
Trisha is a mom of an awesome boy who was born in 2020. He is wild, kind, and energetic. Trisha enjoys spending time outside, reading, exercising, traveling and going on adventures. Trisha is a School Counselor as well, providing direct care to individuals in our community living with various levels of abilities.


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