While I was hyping this blog on Instagram (shameless plug: check out @themotherblog on Instagram), I had another, more successful, blogger give me a valuable piece of advice. It was along the lines of “the biggest hurdle in blogging is comparing your blog and success to the other thousands of bloggers out there.” Girl gets me. She spoke this at the most perfect time; I had just finished drafting out the outline for the next two months of blog posts. I had already decided that my first substantial post would cover the subject of social comparison or envy. So here it is, folks. I’m opening up my first real post by showing you what I consider is my strongest internal struggle. Nice to meet you all; here’s a major flaw in my own system.
Disclaimer: I love my life, family, home, and friends. I love what I do and all that I have. I appreciate it all more than you know.
That being said: We all know how envy can consume us. If I’m being honest, envy invades too much of my personal space. So much: “ooohhh her hair is so perfect” or bigger envies like “she has the perfect life.” It doesn’t mean I devalue my own circumstances. It just means I get caught up in all the excitement that seems to play out in another person’s life.
Through writing this post I have learned that the definitions of jealousy and envy are two very different definitions:
- Jealousy is defined as the act of fearing that someone is going to take something that is yours.
- Envy is defined as the act of wanting what someone else has.
We are going to discuss envy in this post because jealousy is a whole other monster for another day.
So let’s think about this together. Let your guard down, and allow yourself to be honest. When did this start? For me, if I’m honest, it started with social media. Our lives are open books. I’m aware this sounds bizarre coming from a blogger, but humor me. We are all more accessible these days. Do not pretend that you don’t Facebook stalk people you went to high school with. As humans, we posess the inante ability to want what we don’t have which by definition (see above) is envy. It happens. You’re not alone. Social comparison will not go away. As a mom, your heart easily becomes so much more vunerable to these feelings. Is my baby sleeping enough compared to Baby A? Is my child going to do as well in school as Child B? Is my teenager going to get into a more prestigious college than teenager C? These thoughts can be as draining as your bank account when you have a child in diapers (i.e. draining faster than you can replenish).
Motherhood is tough. Moms are chronically tired. Moms sometimes hit ‘autopilot’ after a day of temper tantrums, spilled milk (literally), and loads of grass-stained laundry. These reasons all prove why it’s easy to wander off to a place where that childless woman’s life of long, private bubble baths and (gasp!) girls’ nights seems a million times more desirable than your own life. When you see that mom with the quiet toddler in Target, don’t wish away your own screaming and pleading tot. Remember that you are seeing a single moment in time when you look into someone else’s life. A snapshot. Do not allow that brief moment in someone else’s life mean more than all of the moments that you uniquely lead. She can’t raise your child like you can. She can’t love your family like you do.
But here’s the good news (because seriously I am not here to be a Debbie Downer): you can protect your joy against the evils of envy.
- Step away from social media when you have doubts about your worth or abilties or your family’s success.
- Remember that you were put on this earth, with your unique people for a reason.
- Love yourself and your circumstances unconditionally because no one else can know the magic in your life better than you can.
- Be pateint with yourself when these old habits of comparison come creeping back into your life.
- Talk to your significant other when these feelings bubble up because chances are he/she has had the same feelings because he/she is human also.
- A good friend mentioned that she makes a list of 5 things that she is proud of about herself or her parenting abilities.
So I’m making a pledge to all of my readers: I will live and love my own life. I will appreciate my circumstances whatever may come. I will respond to my envious feelings with openness about what it is that I love about myself and my people. Can you make the same pledge? Are you willing to step outside of social comparision and take your joy back? If you’re ready and willing, let me know how you plan to recapture your joy.
- Christmas music: I feel like it's finally an appropriate time to blast the stuff.
- Meeting Santa Claus: How could such a jolly fellow make so many children cry?
- Baby time at the library: You'll find my clown dancing in the center of the circle the entirity of rhyme time.