I believe I understand what’s happening.
Being a mother is harder than you ever imagined it could be. There are wonderful moments, but no matter how many times your own mother said things like “Just wait until you have kids,” there’s no way you could imagine just how tough it can be.
You’re doing a wonderful job. It’s obvious how much you love your kids. I know you’d do anything you could for them. There is joy in your eyes when they achieve or discover something, and I see the tears when they’re hurt, or sad, or sick. Those little things you do for them that you think nobody sees? I see them. Oh, when you talk about their lives, your face lights up and your body language demonstrates such happiness.
Now you’re telling me that you feel like your just don’t measure up. You don’t think you’re a very good mom.In fact, you feel like you’re failing. The mom-guilt gets to all of us at times, doesn’t it? You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just don’t feel like you’re hat you’re supposed to be.
There might be a reason you feel this way. You woke up this morning excited at the beautiful day. The sun is shining, and the weather is comfortable. You immediately started thinking about what you could do with the kids. Crafts? Outside activities? Baking a family recipe? What a perfect day to be a parent!
But first, you’ll just check a little social media to ease you into the day… You opened your phone and before you know it, it’s a half-hour of looking through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. There was Susie and her two beautiful daughters, always in perfectly matched outfits. She has such great taste and her kids always look so cute! If you put that outfit on your daughter, it would be covered with dirt and dog hair in five minutes. Oh, and there’s Maribeth. Look at that birthday cake she baked! Oh, I wish the stuff I baked looked even half that good. Your cousin Janine’s oldest won another track meet and has accepted a scholarship to her dream school. That’s so exciting. I wonder if my kids will ever be that good at anything. That Betty is so creative! How did she ever turn a piece of scrap wood and silk flowers into such a pretty centerpiece? If I did that, it would look like a pile of scrap wood and fake flowers. And there’s Sarah and her husband — they’re in Aruba this time! It must be nice to be able to afford vacations like that. I mean, I like camping at the state park, but that couples’ resort just looks like a dream.
Do you see what you’re doing? You’re comparing yourself with everyone and everything you see. You did the same thing after Jenny’s soccer match. It was funny, because you were so happy to see the other moms, but after listening to them boast and brag, somehow you felt … well, kind of less than. Their lives are amazing and yours seems so dull.
Here’s the thing though. You’re not comparing yourself to their lives. You’re holding yourself up to their highlight reels. You’re seeing the small portion of their lives that they display to the outside world. They aren’t telling you about the rest of their days or the challenges they face. You don’t know that Sarah and her husband spent most of that week in Aruba fighting over money. You aren’t aware that Susie’s doctor just prescribed anti-anxiety medicine. Trust me, the others’ lives are less than perfect, too. Social media can be the self-esteem death trap, and comparison is always a thief to joy.
Yes, it’s human nature to compare ourselves to those around us, but we usually end up comparing our ordinary to their extraordinary, because that’s what we get to see … and that’s what social media is all about. Maybe it’s time to pay attention to just how extraordinary your own life is, and what a great mom you really are. Having trouble seeing it? We know some ways to help. Give us a call, and one of our professionals will help you find the joy you take for granted.