Stop comparing yourself to other Mums!

Have you been feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by your life as a Mum? You need to stop comparing yourself to other Mums. From the counselling work I do with women, I know that so many of us have these ideals in our head about what being a “good Mum” looks like. I’d say that 99% of these ideas have come from social media. You might feel like you’re getting inspiration, but all you’re actually getting is unrealistic expectations with a side of dissatisfaction.

Yes, I know social media isn’t all bad. And as someone who runs a business in this space, I benefit from social media every day. I also have to be super careful not to get caught up in the comparison trap.

I’m not always successful at this. At times, I notice myself feeling frustrated about the state of our house, in comparison to others who always seem to put together. Or I find myself feeling like I’m not doing enough with my kids, when I see those Mums who seem to spend all day playing with their kids.

Start by noticing how often you spend comparing yourself to other Mums.

As you go about your day, notice when you get stuck in thoughts of comparison. Where are you going round and round on sticky thoughts that pit you against them?

Notice who you compare yourself to. Is it other Mums in your social circle, or is it only those online that you hold yourself up against?

comparing yourself to other Mums

Notice what you say to yourself when you’re comparing yourself to other Mums

“She’s been breastfeeding for a whole year and I only managed 6 weeks.”

“She runs a business at home while homeschooling her kids and I can’t even manage one baby!”

“She’s studying AND working full time. I can’t even keep the house clean with two kids at home.”

How do you feel when you’re stuck in comparison?

My guess is not great. I often come away from social media feeling this sense of urgency. Like I’m not doing enough or achieving enough. It’s a lingering anxiety, that if I’m not careful will follow me around all day.

How do you stop comparing yourself to other Mums?

Recognise that what you see on social media is a highlight reel only.

I think one of the biggest problems with social media is that we all present only what WE want to be seen. That is, you only see what I want you to see.

You only see one small part of a room, not all the mess behind it.

You see all the ways someone is achieving in their life, but not all the work and failures that came before you.

Occasional might see someone sharing a negative experience. But usually only once they’ve arrived with a lesson to share. We don’t usually see when they’re in the messy middle of it.

That’s what makes the comparison seem so unfair. Because we’re comparing their highlight reel to our messy life.

Most of the time I’m sitting in my stained PJs with manic bed hair, while scrolling pictures of manicured women who seem to wake up looking perfect.

Whenever possible, remind yourself that it’s unlikely that they woke up like this. Everyone has morning breath and you really are doing okay. Life is messy, even for those who present it perfectly on social media.

Swap comparison for celebration

I think it’s important to recognise that depending on your frame of mind, celebrating others does not always feel possible. When I’m feeling down, it’s a REAL struggle to go on social media and genuinely feel happy for others’ successes.

In those moments it’s important to give yourself space from social media, so you can stop comparing yourself to other Mums entirely. Log off. Delete the apps. Spend time with your Mum friends in real life whose lives are as beautifully messy as yours and get on with living.

When you’re in a good headspace though, try to focus on celebrating rather than comparing when watching others on social media. Let yourself feel inspired by the amazing things other Mums are doing, without feeling like you need to hold yourself up to the same standards.

Become confident being you.

You’re more susceptible to comparing yourself to other Mums when you’re not feeling great in yourself. This is a pretty common feeling amongst Mums, especially those with babes under 1. Your whole life has been turned upside down. It’s unlikely you’ve slept much in the last few months. And you barely get any time to do things for yourself anymore.

After all that, it’s unsurprising you feel a little bit wobbly about your own identity and self-worth.

Instead of getting stuck comparing yourself to other Mums, focus on working out who YOU are and who YOU want to be. Let yourself have dreams and goals, even if it feels impossible to work towards them right now.

Spend more time offline.

I’m going to take a guess that when you’re comparing yourself to other Mums, it’s not those Mums in your Mothers group who arrive covered in breastmilk and a little bit flustered. Or those Mums who share with you over coffee that some days they lock themselves in their bathrooms just to have five minutes to themselves.

Usually, our real-life Mum-friends are a lot more honest about all sides of their lives. We’re less likely to compare ourselves to them, because we see all of it. The good, the bad and the ugly.

If you keep getting stuck in a loop comparing yourself to other Mums, try spending less time with your phone and more time connecting with other Mums in real life. Join a Mum’s group. Sign up to a yoga or fitness class. Ring that Mum-friend of yours who you haven’t caught up with in ages.

Every Mum needs an effortless friend. Someone whose place you can turn up to at anytime without notice and no one cares. No pre-cleaning required. It’s a take-me-as-I-am friendship, and that’s the very best kind.

Stop comparing yourself to other Mums. I think you’re great, just as you are. Now you just need to find a way to believe that too. x

Where to now?

If you’re feeling a bit lost in yourself now that you’re a Mum, join me in the Finding You program within my Online Yoga Circle. This is a 3 week program where I’ll show you the practises that helped me to regain confidence in myself and to move towards finding love and acceptance of ourselves, as we are, right now.

Getting caught up in comparison can make your body feel ick. Join me for a free yoga class over on my Youtube channel to help shake that off.

5 Responses to “Stop comparing yourself to other Mums!

  • MotherDownUnder
    10 years ago

    Such a great post Bettina.
    And I agree…setting a goal and then taking baby steps towards it is the only way I have achieved anything since becoming a mother! It is hard not to get discouraged but then I think there will be plenty of time when my little one is older to spend more time on me…but for now, balance is key.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if women/mothers stopped comparing and instead just encouraged, as you did in this post.

  • Trudie Bristow
    10 years ago

    Great post Hun and certainly a question I have been getting a LOT lately too. Like you I do many things all of which bring me great happiness. I don’t do the things I don’t love and like you I make sure I’m do something each day even if it’s a few minutes…..it’s true it adds up.

  • I fully agree! I believe if we were all trying to truly desire our own lives , there would be more mother love & less mother guilt! Thanks for the post

  • I recently read somewhere that we need to stop worrying so much about “achieving the balance” and coupled with this post, I’ve let a big breath out and feel so much better! I’m new to motherhood and the biggest surprise to me is that I had to rediscover my old self in a new way. Practicing mindfulness has helped me and just generally being grateful helps me adjust when I’m feeling frazzled and overwhelmed.

    I’m glad I’ve found your blog, thanks for creating a space where we can all support each other and remind ourselves that we may just have it all already 🙂

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