With social media, advertising, continually telling us what we SHOULD look like, what we SHOULD buy next, what we SHOULD eat, and how to live, it is no wonder the majority of us are left feeling not good enough. Without realising it, most of us fall into this trap and nonsense. We become brainwashed to the so-called social norms.
What a load of BS!
The messages are we MUST have the perfect body (not sure what this even means), face, hair, teeth, health regime, diet, raise highly successful children, ideal partner, home and lifestyle. Must buy this or that. Have that or this. What a load of BS!
When we look at our reality, bodies, partners, children, lifestyle, we can often wonder why the hell our lives don’t resemble anything like this. We can be left feeling like we are missing out, or we’re not enough, or there is something we must need or want in order to fit in or feel happy. Simply not true.
No one has a perfect life
Comparing yourself to your friends, family, colleagues, the Kardashians, is the way to a miserable life. When you go on social media and see your friend posting another beautiful photo of her perfect family, you could be left feeling like crap. Why does she have the perfect family? Why do I not look as gorgeous as she does? Why does she have everything sorted? I will let you into a little secret, she doesn’t have a perfect family or everything sorted, this is a second in time, not her reality.
Another eye roll!
Another online friend posts her child’s latest achievements, and you roll your eyes. Here she goes again! Another photo of her utterly annoying child! You could be left wondering why you don’t have the academic child, or you could be left feeling frustrated or jealous. Judgments are normal.
And if you don’t believe me, listen to your judgments the next time you open up your social media feeds!
Instead of comparing, I would invite you to stay in your own lane. Focusing on your life is one of the essential ingredients of a happier life. After all, no matter who you are, what you have or do not have, there will always be people who have more or less than you. Some of us are more creative than others. Some of us are more academic than others. Some of us are tall, some short, some in-between. Some introvert, some extrovert. Some musical, some sporty. The beautiful, rich tapestry of life, as no two people are the same.
When you become a parent, you will highly likely fall into the trap of comparing your child with others.
Why is my child not sleeping through the night – my friend’s daughter is?
Why is my child not walking yet – my sister’s son is?
Why is my child not speaking yet – my brother’s daughter is?
Why is my child not crawling yet – my friend’s son is?
Why is my child struggling to make friend’s – my other children had no issues?
Why is my child no good at maths – her classmate’s do not seem to struggle?
Why is my child misbehaving – his friends are all sitting quietly?
Comparing is normal but not necessary.
Keep an eye out if you are concerned and seek help if appropriate but besides that, focus on your own family. Children develop at different rates, and we all have strengths and weaknesses. We are all unique. Important to remember this the next time you find yourself comparing yourself or your child to someone else’s.
Word of warning
If you have several children, this is often a trap many parents fall into, as they compare one of their children to another. As an example, one of their kids is academic, and the younger one struggles to keep up with his school work. Again, be aware of how you are dealing with this. Do not compare as this could lead to all kinds of problems.
One child could feel superior, tease the younger one, and the other child could be left feeling not good enough. You’d have to be a Saint not to compare your well-behaved child to your rebellious one! Not easy to do but appreciating and loving your children for who they are is the key. Avoiding comparisons and highlighting their strengths is vital.
To round this up I want you to understand that you are wonderful, you are unique, and you must forget comparing yourself, your life or your kids to anyone else’s. Put all of your energy into bringing out the best in you and your family. I can promise you if you do this not only will you be happier, but also your family will benefit — a great life lesson to teach your children and a win-win for you all.
Comparison is the thief of all joy
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE.
FOCUS ON YOUR OWN FAMILY AND LIFE.
COMPARING IS NORMAL BUT NOT NECESSARY.
PUT ALL OF YOUR ENERGY INTO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.
About the Not So Perfect Mum
Teresa is the author of the forthcoming book “I should have bought a puppy; Parenting with heart, honesty and humour.” Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.