I recently saw a friend’s blog post about moms comparing numbers. What age did your baby sleep through the night, how many words does he have, etc. And then I remembered this quote:
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”—Dwight Edwards
If you think about it, when you compare, you are doing so with the idea that we’re all on the same playing field. You would never compare how quickly and beautifully a flower planted in a dumpster would grow versus one planted in fertilized, well-watered sunny soil. So why would I worry about the fact that Abe still takes a bottle at night to go to sleep if your 19-month-old baby doesn’t? Why would I compare my house to yours, my car to yours, my free time to yours? Our past, our path, our outlooks are all completely individual. A comparison would be entirely unscientific, not to mention unnecessarily painful for all of the people involved.
You’re the only one experiencing your life. You’re the only one to compare to. If you were once a size 8 and now you’re a size 16, look inside of yourself. What’s changed? Are you incredibly busy working and being a mom? Then give yourself a break, but put down the nachos. If you were once full of joy and laughter and now it’s difficult to get out of bed, what’s changed? Maybe you can’t pinpoint the moment, but look inside and start investigating where it all went wrong and what the solutions are to your discomfort. Comparison should only be internal at best, and always compassionate and kind.
I speak to senior girls and sorority houses a few times a year about comparing and I always include the fact that I catch myself comparing everyday. Trust me, there are plenty of times during the day that I look at other moms and think, “You are so lucky your kids are older and you have time to go after your dreams.” And I definitely think, “Her clothes are all from those little boutique shops where a top costs $125. I would look cute in those tops.” So when I think those comparing thoughts, I turn them into positive energy. I compliment other women, I admire their parenting skills, I find ways to give that comparison away in exchange for happiness. Turn your next comparison into a compliment and then deliver it. And if you still feel badly, then do the work to figure out why you’re comparing in the first place.