By age and definition, I am a millennial mom (cue eye rolls). Technology and social media have largely shaped me, and I use social media to post pictures of my (adorable) kids almost daily.
I’m a college graduate (yep, we’re a highly educated bunch), and I’m fighting for that weird middle ground of working as a mom, but not too much, ya know? The business world is quickly recognizing that we are not our mothers; I care more about a company’s practices and ingredient lists than I do about their prices. And I tend to value advice and direction from my peers over advice and guidance from experts; I mean, the number of rashes on my kids’ bodies I’ve texted to friends for a diagnosis is borderline crazy.
Most of the time, I own these things. Some of these things I wear with pride. In fact, I think it’s a great time to be a mom. However, there is one aspect of millennial mommying that I think is just flat out NOT OKAY. It’s this thing called comparison. You know it, young momma. That moment when you open Instagram to see your friend’s kid looking all cute in their swim trunks at swim lessons and you panic inside. “He’s younger than my oldest. We haven’t even thought about swim lessons yet. Do all the other families do this? Where do we get lessons? How much does it cost? What are the reviews? Oh my, there are different swimming methods. Different theories. How could we ever get it right?” Thirty minutes goes by in a blink of a very anxious eye, and the husband has been texted for a budget and schedule check-in, just in case it needs to be a thing.
Or maybe this dialogue starts in your mind the moment your head hits the pillow at night: “Man, today was hard. Fun, too, I guess. But am I even doing the right things? Will my kids know not to watch porn? To protect their bodies from strangers? How to stand up for themselves on the playground? Shoot, I didn’t even put a bike helmet on any of them today! I wonder if my oldest should know his letters yet. Should we be doing flash cards? How are my friends doing ALL OF THIS? Did my mom do all these things? Clearly, I can’t do this thing right.”
At this time and with the tools available to help us connect with our peers, it is easier than ever to let comparison seep in and grow deep roots in our motherhood. I believe it’s toxic.
So, here’s a little truth for you: That other momma? She’s not you. Her kids? Not the same as yours. Her marriage? Not your marriage. Her mission and purpose in this season? NOT YOURS.
Mommas, we need to catch ourselves in the comparison trap and get out of it already. The more space we have in our hearts, brains, and schedules, the more we can fully be who we were designed to be, to make the impact we were created to make, and to love our husbands and our kids in the way they’re wired to receive it.
So how do we get freedom? It’s different for each mom, and the roots of comparison can run deep. Here are a few tools I’m employing currently:
My husband I set clearly defined goals for our home and family. We’ve talked at length about what it looks like to have a daily win in our house, and what we can do weekly and monthly to move us toward our yearly goals. Doing this helps us push out pressure to be something else and focus on what we want to do as a family. It keeps us from doing something more or different when comparison creeps in.
Keeping In The Present
I challenge myself to notice and capture as many details about my day as possible. The baby’s chubby hands rubbing my belly while he nurses. The two-year-old gently rubbing her babydolls’ heads as she sings them to sleep—an act only performed because it’s the way she’s gone to sleep for the last two years herself. The caramel notes in my winter blend coffee. The dogs at my feet and the kids (happily!) playing blocks a few feet away from my body. The more GOOD I notice and allow myself to deeply feel, the more content I am in my current situation.
Try-again & Re-do
Just like I train my kids on how I’d like them to act by having them go back and try again the correct way, I’m training my thoughts to look more like truth. When I hear comparison thoughts, I stop the track and re-do the mental voices. I replace my thoughts with what I know to be true from God’s word, what I know to be true for our family’s specific place in life, and from what I know to be true in how I’m uniquely made.
Comparison is going to happen. But that other momma’s not you. Her kids aren’t yours. Her situation isn’t your situation. Let’s do the work of fighting mommy-comparison and make the space to be who we are truly designed to be.