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Comparison Sucks. Let’s Celebrate Being “Good Enough” Moms.

Mom feeling like a failure comparing herself to other moms

There are many things that are positive about social media and the internet. After all, you’re reading this and I’m so happy that you are!

BUT,  social media is not so great when it comes to comparing and measuring ourselves, our kids, and our lives. 

Social media is an illusion of “happy,” “perfect,” and “my life is great.” Social media posts are carefully chosen snapshots of the best moments of our lives that we allow others to see. And there is nothing wrong with this. Frankly, I’m not a fan of reading people’s dirty sordid laundry on FB and the drama of their lives.

However, when we measure ourselves and believe others’ lives are easier or somehow better, or happier, or more fulfilling and we compare, it’s damaging – to us and our kids. The reality is we don’t get to peek behind the camera and see what was happening five minutes, or an hour or a day before the Kodak moment. 

I haven’t met one mom yet who at one time or another hasn’t looked at someone’s Facebook or Instagram feeds and thought to themselves…

“Gosh, look at how happy that family is. Why can’t my family be more like their family,” or 

“They have money to go on vacation and I can’t go on vacation,” or 

“Look at their kid, they’ve got their diploma and I’m worried about my kid graduating from high school,”

Followed by …

 “See, there’s proof, that mom is doing a much better job than I am.” Topped off with thoughts about what a failure we are as a mother in comparison. 

Not only don’t we feel good enough. We take it to the extreme, “I suck as a mom.”

We can really be mean to ourselves.

And we can put all this pressure on ourselves and our kids and wonder “What’s wrong with me, what’s wrong with my kid, I’m not doing a good job, I should do this. I shouldn’t do that. I can’t tell anybody how I’m struggling or how my kid is struggling for fear that they’ll judge me or my kid.”

And we feel isolated, lonely, and discontent.

You might know that I’m a big Brené Brown fan, and here’s one of her quotes that I just love.  

When it comes to parenting, the practice of framing mothers and fathers as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is both rampant and corrosive, and it turns parenting into a shame minefield.”  

And, from my perspective, we judge ourselves much more harshly than we judge other parents.

So what do we do when we’re in the comparison shame pit?  How do we get ourselves out?  Well, I’m here to tell you that the perfect mom is ‘bs’ and it is not true.  We all know this in our head but getting this truth down into our hearts is difficult.  

So here’s my challenge for each one of us…

Together let’s embrace and celebrate being “good enough moms,” because when we do we will take a load of pressure off of ourselves and our kids.

So what does a good enough mom look like? 

 

The good-enough mom trades in doing with being.  

We’re so good at doing, doing, doing, for our kids and wanting to help them do for themselves, that we forget to just be.  Brené goes on to say “The real question for parents should be are you engaged, are you paying attention, are we connected? If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions.”  

Which leads me to our second point about what a good-enough mom looks like…

 

The “good enough mom” understands she will make mistakes, lots of them, and when she does she doesn’t incessantly beat herself up for it.

The truth…

Of course, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re only human. We will mess up and make some decisions that maybe don’t work out so well, and so are our kids. 

Accepting this truth is strangely comforting.

And…  

 

The good-enough mom apologizes and owns her humanness.

It’s so easy to beat ourselves up when we blow it or to become defensive when our kids tell us something we did that they didn’t like. 

There have been studies and lots of research done on a powerful antidote when we behave in ways that we regret as parents.

What’s the antidote? 

It’s the repair that happens after you scream at your kid or you lose it. The research showed that it’s not so much the yelling that is most harmful, what’s harmful is when there is no repair – no acknowledgment of hurt that was caused. It’s the apology and owning what we did that was hurtful that can make all the difference in our relationships. And then, the hardest part…working at doing it differently the next time and the next. 

It’s the repair that happens after you yell or handle a situation badly, that matters the most

Maybe you’ve had a parent that’s hurt you, and you mustered up the courage to tell them and they reacted by not listening or telling you to get over it. The hurt or anger doesn’t go away as easily. 

But if you have a parent that says, “Wow, I’m sorry I did that. I can see the way I acted was hurtful,” that’s huge! There is repair/healing that happens and it is powerful. When we can own our mistakes, it has the power to transform relationships, heal hurts, dispose of anger, and build a bridge where there has been a wedge.  

 

The “good enough mom” sees mistakes as learning and growth opportunities. 

This is where the gift part comes in..

When making mistakes are accepted as part of the human condition, mistakes become learning and growth opportunities. 

Viewing mistakes as learning opportunities free our kids from the judgment that they should be further along than they are. We are able to see problems or challenges that our kids are having as skills they need to learn and develop.

And it also frees us to enjoy our kids for where and who they are versus trying to force them to fit who we think they should be.

And…

 

The “good enough mom” knows it’s not about parenting perfectly because there’s no such thing. 

Repeat that above sentence and shout it out loud if you need to.

Because, when we can let this truth sink in we can break free of the burdens that often weigh us down and suck our joy when it comes to raising our kids. Laughter and having a sense of humor can take first place. And home becomes a safe place our kids want to be.

Not only that, when we can let go of the comparisons and know that we are all in this together – that we are each struggling with something and none of us has this parenting all figured out, we are able to freely give what we each need most -a whole lot less judgment and a lot more compassion towards ourselves, our kids and each other.

And that sisters, is something worth celebrating.