Hate is a strong word and is used in just about every situation out there.
Being a mother is something that has so many emotions. First you’re happy. Then you’re sad. You could probably sleep for days.
Sometimes you’re done with the day by 10 a.m., sick of the screaming or picking up the same toy over and over again.
“If I have to change one more poopy diaper today, I think I’ll go crazy!” you think.
Then you might as well paint your van yellow and start charging as you run kids around to various extracurricular activities.
By that time, you have to start thinking about what to make for dinner. It has to be one of the most annoying meals because a) it comes every. single. day. b) because you spend an hour or more making it just to eat it in about 10 minutes and c) chances are high that your child will not try it. Just one bite! How hard is it to take one bite?!?
Bedtime throws a whole new set of crazy to your day. After 16 cups of water, 5 trips to the bathroom, the same story told 3 times in a row and a short, sweet prayer, you think you’re done. Let’s just punch the time card and call it a day.
Oh, wait! You have kids! Chances are they will be out in about 7 minutes to start the routine over again. Mom just wants to eat all the chocolate, watch her TV show and not move until 1 a.m. just to have some peace.
Granted, there are a lot of great times raising children. Bear hugs and slobbery kisses, the belly-laugh of your child as they’re being tickled. Playing at the park, a good conversation even though you only understand a third of it, and the excitement they get over the smallest things.
The thing that takes the joy out of motherhood, the one we need to hate, is COMPARING OURSELVES.
As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” All of the fun times we have or we remember will be overshadowed once we start comparing ourselves to other mothers.
With the invention of Pinterest and social media, it can be hard to avoid comparing. We see perfect birthday parties and grand celebrations of the smaller holidays, let alone the bigger ones. There are videos of simple/elaborate cookies and cakes. Little people cause mischief for a Christmas and St. Patrick’s day, and before you know it, probably Labor day.
So why should we hate comparison in motherhood?
1. Each mother has different talents.
There are some ladies out there that can turn a soup can into a terrarium and all they need is a little string and glue. Okay, maybe a few more items are needed but each mom has different abilities.
Some moms need to work and by the time she gets home, it’s hounding about schoolwork, making dinner, getting kids in the bath, then jammies and going through the bedtime routine. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for anything else.
No matter what talents you have, use them to make your children know you love them. You don’t need to do anything over the top, unless that is your talent and you want to.
Find a routine, maybe 15 minutes a day, where you show your children your love of painting, or how to put words together to create a story. Maybe you love to be active. Take them out to the park or for a bike ride.
Give your child any amount of your time that you can. Even if you’re not creating elaborate decorations, it’s the bond you want to create with him/her that will bring you lasting happiness.
2. We only see snippets of each other’s lives.
I love the quote that says, “Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” It’s so true! When I think about it like that, I feel like I have a “duh!” moment. You can’t see what’s really going on inside of another mother unless you’ve been her best friend since forever or live in her house. Even then, we don’t know her thoughts and feelings, her inadequacies and pride.
Maybe she looks like she has everything together. She’s probably dressed in something other than her yoga pants and her hair is most likely done rather than thrown up in a ponytail. We don’t know how her day is going exactly but the point is we should be rooting each other on.
When a kid throws a tantrum in the store because her mom says no to a toy, we shouldn’t look at the mom as the “worst-mother-in-the-world”. We should salute her as trying to teach her child to value things and that getting everything is not the best method for life.
It’s possible the same mom you envy is having similar feelings about you as well! What is better than putting that comparison and guilt behind you and talking like friends? Trying to one-up each other will do nothing to help build you up as mothers.
3. Each child is different.
Chances are high that if you have more than one child, they will have some stark differences in personality. One child might be more athletic while another will be drawn to drama and art. Maybe one likes music and another to read.
And guess what? None of them came with their own instruction manual!
So it is with all mothers. We have children with different needs and desires, and we have to try and try until we figure out what will work for them.
Maybe that means nursing your child for much longer than you planned because of a disability. Or that feeding your child the same meal every day is okay because it’s all he will eat.
Mothers do the best they can, for the most part. We get to a point when we think we’ve got it figured out and the next day they’re onto a new phase.
It’s when we start to think that we are better than another mother for how our children are behaving that we run into trouble.
It doesn’t matter who you are, at some point you need validation that you’re doing an okay job. If we think about it like that, we can turn the jealousy into kind words or a compliment. We can be happy for our friends that can craft and get together to share one of your talents. And most of all, we can praise each other for making it through the different phases of motherhood. Because everyone deserves the encouragement and love of the women around her!
Build Strong Relationships Now!
Strong Relationships, noun.
1. able to withstand great force or pressure.
Marriage & Family are the most important relationships we can have in this life. Join us as we work to strengthen each other and fight to help others do the same!