Motherhood is not a race, I’m throwing in my towel.
Do you ever feel lousy because you are so busy peeking into your neighbor’s yard, looking at all they have, that suddenly your own property becomes….blah? So consumed with checking out other families with their “perfect kids” and “perfect life” that you’re overlooking your entire world? Over the years, I’ve been a part of many groups, cliques, play dates, message boards and spaces in which women sit around the water cooler talking about our kids and lives. All. Day. Long. Although these circles are extremely supportive and have served as many lifelines to my sanity, I’ve noticed a common threat that sometimes taints our individual journeys. Some of these spaces are unintentional breeding grounds for comparison, competition, envy and self-defeat. Not anymore. I’m done racing, I’m throwing in my towel.
The Problem With The Golden Mommy Awards.
Sharing is caring, but the constant open peephole into others’ lives (aka Facebook) can leave us wondering why we’re so far behind and how we can catch up. Boasting and competition find their way into everyday conversations, and we are suddenly dishing out awards left and right. There is always that one supermom that sweeps all the awards and wins at everything in life.
- Newborn Slept All Night by 2 Weeks
- Infant Was Potty-trained by 6 Months
- Toddler Could Read Novels By Age 2
- Child Gets Straight A’s. Every Time.
As these coveted awards go out, the rest of us sit back in the audience with egg in our face, thinking about how we are failing at motherhood, and life in general because our parenting and kids aren’t leading the pack. Hell, we aren’t even in the running! Our kids weren’t first to cross a major milestone, and we certainly didn’t break any motherhood world record. We are not worthy! Because surely all these comparisons are a testament to how great we parent, right?
WRONG. These subtle competitions damage our self-confidence and hard-wire our brains to feel behind when our kids are actually right on time. But the constant comparisons leave us spending more time focused on how we measure up than appreciating our own unique journeys. As we are busy peeking into the neighbor’s house, our kids are standing by, waving their arms and begging us to pay more attention to them. Mamas, this is not good! It’s time we worry about ourselves!
Why competitions waste everyone’s time:
- Kids have their own timelines. They are not thinking about you and how you stack up. Children reach milestones, in part, because they have different DNA. Whether they sleep through the night at 6 months or 2 years, stop trying to keep up with everyone else and pat yourself on the back. Your child is unique and following their own path. Stop looking at others and celebrate their small victories.
- Each mom has a different strength. It’s counterproductive to compare our mommy gifts because we all have so many things that we do well. It’s okay that I didn’t get nominated for the Arts & Crafts Award. Why should I be envious when art isn’t even my lane? There are plenty of things I’m good at, like playing make-believe or running around the park. My kids always smile and that’s the only validation I need. I shouldn’t try to be that mom that makes the world’s cutest birthday cupcakes, because baking is not my ministry!
- Every mom seems perfect in the virtual world. We get fooled into thinking one’s social media profile is a real person! We forget that most people share their best attributes with the world, leaving out the bad and ugly. In fact, when I spend quality time with other moms up close, we share, cry, and laugh at the fact that we are all equally struggling! Our candid encounters confirm that we are all perfectly imperfect. Facebook is not real! It’s a faux construct of the best of the best. Remember that.
- No one will remember these details. In the moment, comparisons seem to define everything about our parenting abilities. But in the grand scheme of things, no one cares. It’s YOUR child’s unique experience that counts. Write their milestones down. Instead of comparing, capture. Time flies and soon it will be too late.
So throw in your towel, you’ve already won your race.
When we stop comparing ourselves to others we can finally focus on our own victories. When we worry about ourselves, we celebrate what makes our own children unique. I’m a fantastic mom, and it has nothing to do with anyone else. I have 3 Golden Mommy Awards, and I kiss their little faces every day. Own your journey and gracefully bow out of the race.
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