Mompetition: Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Moms
More BabbleStories

Mompetition: Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Moms

Written by Sarah Bunton

Oh jealousy, you fickle fiend, always rearing your grumpy green head at the absolute worst moment.

As if I wasn’t stressed enough planning my son’s first birthday and traveling back and forth between the Florida coasts to visit family—that familiar feeling recently decided to come creeping up. Logically, I know it’s just my insecurities making me feel like I’m losing some imaginary mom competition—Mompetition—but that doesn’t seem to help me shake the feeling.

I’ll be honest. I get jealous. A lot. I get envious of moms who appear to have it all. Moms who seem to be able to do it all.

Moms who don’t worry, healthy moms, moms who have all the answers. You name it; I’ve either been jealous of or insecure about it. I don’t really linger on the jealousy, it’s more of a fleeting thought that flickers across my mind. When I see a woman at the grocery store—her hair perfectly in place, bright eyes, carrying multiple things with ease—I wonder how I must look in comparison. A messy ponytail with strands pulled undone by little hands, bleary eyes struggling to find where I last put my debit card. How could I not feel a little twinge of envy?

It’s not all pity party, though. Sometimes I get these “epiphany moments” where I’m inspired by some random BuzzFeed article. I’m convinced that I’ve found the ultimate life hack to turn me into Super Mom or a Pinterest board with the perfect sensory play project to guarantee my baby will be the next Einstein. I’m full of optimism that I can finally be the best mother my child deserves and the best me that I deserve.

Of course things never turn out that way.

Something will inevitably go wrong and then those insecure feelings come back. It can be a vicious cycle. And normally, if I find out that I’m not alone in my self-doubt, I’ll start to feel better. Yet, somehow this isn’t one of those times. I’ve heard every woman I know, chronically ill or not, vent about their issues of Mompetition (I’m trying to make this word happen, if you can’t tell). Sure, we get together for a girls night out. We all chime in with our horror stories and commiserate with each other, but most of the time we still go back home full of angsty sighs that would make a 90s grunge teen look like sunshine.

But you know what snapped me out of my, “Envy, Self-Doubt, Repeat” cycle? It may seem totally insignificant, yet it was a game-changer for me. Not too long ago I was out to lunch with my best friend and my son. On paper he should have been fine; he had just eaten, napped, and been changed. Around the time I was getting ready to eat, he decided to have a meltdown.

There I was, in a restaurant full of judgy eyes. I could feel the “shame sweat” begin to bead up on my forehead. I bounced my son gently on my knee and maintained a smile as if he wasn’t letting out a demon-summoning shriek. And you know what happened?

My best friend, God bless her, looked me dead in the eye and said, “Hey, you are doing great right now. We all need to feel validated and I’m here to tell you that you are doing great.”

At the time, I just shrugged, nervously laughed, and mumbled out an awkward thank you. But as I drove home, with my untouched lunch in a to-go box and my mini-monster blissfully asleep in the car seat, I let her words really sink in.

She saw, as only another woman can, the exact kind of panic I was in. She didn’t try to flatter me with superficial clichés, nor did she avert her gaze and pretend not to know me (which I wouldn’t have blamed her for). Instead, she told me exactly what I needed to hear.

Mompetitions

 

It’s not about comparing yourself to someone else; it’s about being told you’re doing great, warts and all.

So to all the women (mothers or not) who have validated me, I sincerely thank you. And in case no one has told you yet, you are doing great.

 

Sarah Bunton Head ShotAbout the Author: Sarah is a wife, mother, feminist, animal rights activist, and a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from Stetson University and currently works as a cognitive skills trainer with children facing developmental challenges. In between balancing a chronic illness, work, and a feisty toddler, she loves to share her experiences, advice, and humor with others. You can find more of her writings on her blog, Bump Birth and Beyond! Follow Sarah on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

 

18 comments

  1. 4BoysMother
    Reply

    Over 40 this stops happening. FYI. Hang in there.

  2. Mary Katherine Backstrom
    Reply

    I have struggled with this for the majority of motherhood. All one and a half years of it lol

  3. Janine Huldie
    Reply

    Sometimes we just n need to hear this and couldn’t agree more!!

  4. Lexi Behrndt
    Reply

    Love your honesty in this.

  5. Lauren Baker Cormier
    Reply

    This is actually the reason I started blogging. I never felt like I had it together compared to all the other moms I knew. Then I had my epiphany moment when I showed up unexpectedly to a friend’s house. It was messy; not grossly so, but just… lived in. It was such a relief! And I realized that we all show people what we want them to see and it ends up making us all feel less than, like we better keep hiding who we really are in case we’re the only screw ups. So I decided to stop hiding and show people the real me, so that if it even only helped one other mom stop feeling ‘less than’ I’d have done what I set out to do.

  6. kristen
    Reply

    We are all doing great and we all need to hear that. Great post!

  7. Kristen Miller Hewitt
    Reply

    We all are doing the best we can and that’s all that matters!!

  8. Yanique Chambers
    Reply

    It’s insane the amount of pressure us moms put on ourselves. I always catch myself comparing myself to other moms.

  9. Bonnie Guy
    Reply

    I used to let mommy guilt and insecurities eat away at me, no more!! It is incredibly liberating when you accept that there will always be people who seem to have it more together. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, I’ve learned to take pride in what I have to offer as a mother.

  10. Prisca Atangana Scheidecker
    Reply

    who are those mums who “have it all”? On which planet do they live? I still have to meet one…And what does “having it all “means anyway?

  11. Shannon G
    Reply

    I admit.. I’ve been jealous before. Jealous of a SAHM when I’m a Working Mom 🙁 Moms that get go have lunch with their kids at school, seem to always look cute at pick up, and get all their Mommy errands done w/o kids. Been there! It’s a hard pill to swallow! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Kara Ann
    Reply

    The worst are the one that rub it in. “All my kids were potty trained at 6 month’s, they all walked at 5 months, never used a sippy cup, ect.”
    Yeah, I knew one of them. Those were her exact words, heard them a billion times. Now she’s just someone I used to know!!!

  13. Elaine Alguire
    Reply

    What 4BoysMother said! 😀

  14. Sarah Bunton
    Reply

    Thank you ladies so much for your encouraging words! We have all been there at some point – feeling insecure or jealous – and we need to remind each other that we are doing GREAT <3

  15. Jacqui
    Reply

    Your friend sounds awesome! Sometimes we just need to hear it…

  16. Whitney Hsu
    Reply

    Every mom is insecure in some way. I try to remember that before I judge or get envious of what I think they’ve got going for them.

  17. Jennifer Silva
    Reply

    Yeah I feel like everyone has more together than I do…. 2 weeks of school left. not ready for this summer madness.

Leave a Reply

Terrarium tv