Maybe you’ve all ready heard that “comparison is the thief of all joy”. (T. Roosevelt). I feel the need to repeat that saying in my heard often these days when I feel like I’m getting caught up in those “mommy wars.” You know them. Those posts on Facebook or pins or tweets or blog posts, or chats with other moms where I’m left feeling like I’m not meeting the mark. Where I find myself going down that road of comparison, doubting how I mommy my children. We do it subconsciously. We partake in in willingly. I’m tired of the “mommy wars.” I can’t keep up. This is my white flag of surrender and my letter of resignation (I hope).
I’ll never be a crunchy mama, and I’ll never have ripped post-partum abs. These moms are just different types of moms than I am. Wish it could be left like that and that I wouldn’t easily succumb to questioning my mommy-ness. I wish to say that it hasn’t brought up insecurity when I see a made-up quiz on Facebook that, however humorous and innocent its intent is, allows a mom to see where she ranks on the scale of granola-type mom. Wish that seeing an article with the thumbnail photo of the mom with ripped abs holding her newborn didn’t automatically cause me to disapprove of my middle. For even a moment, it stings a bit to think that I haven’t achieved or attained what my mommy-counterparts have.
This societal pressure in meeting the standards of some kind of made up list of “what makes the best type of mom” isn’t just in my head, right? I’m not the only mom who feels like these days come with a lot of measuring up? There isn’t a list that I know of, and if there is, please throw it out with those nappies (oh wait, you use cloth? Then just wash the crap down the toilet with that list then)! Our kids demand so much from us all ready, so why should we be taking notes and checking off our abilities on some kind of “best moms must do…” list. I know I need to be the one to stay sane and choose not to let my mind start the she must be a better mom because she does/doesn’t let her kids … And so I’ll try. But we moms are making it hard on each other.
So instead, let’s start thinking about who we are as moms—not compared to anyone else.
I’ll start. I’ll try to put everything in perspective for myself now: I am a mom to two beautiful, fierce little girls. My amazing body was granted the privilege of carrying these babes. Okay that’s pretty cool just like that. I could stop there. And whether it was a home birth or a premature birth, a grueling labor or a hiccup of a labor, a trusted midwife or the next available OB/GYN--the end is just as wonderful and magical. That part where you get to meet that little stranger and call him or her your very own. That baby made it’s way into the world and God chose you for that baby. The end. We mothers experience that mystery revealed no matter the means of our babe’s entry. And we all have a different birth story about it; and each is precious and valued. Let’s not destroy the beauty of those stories by reading an article with new science that confirmed the importance of something that we didn’t do in the act of labor, but another mama did. Nope, not gonna do it. I’m not going to compare and loose the luster and sparkle in the memory of my daughters’ births.
Okay, so about our post-partum bodes. If you haven’t heard it before, hear it now: all bodies are different and every mother’s body will look differently after having a baby. Sure, maybe they were blessed with the genetics that allowed them to lose the weight easily. But hey, if you’re like me, you’ll have that softness and those marks, and that pudge long-after baby is a baby. So don’t even go there. Because once that starts, phew, your joy is robbed! Robbed I tell ya!
So let’s go on…you’ve got these amazing human beings who look up to you and call you mama whether it be while throwing a temper tantrum in a train station or while saying, “I love you up to the moon and back and then to Wisconsin and back, mama.”
Hug them, love them, feed them, care for them, read to them and pray with them. Hold them and just be mama--a mama who doesn’t compare herself to another mama. Your joy…[Ahem!] MY joy is not in another hopeless pin on pinterest some other mom was able to complete. My joy is not in the ability (or lack thereof) to run a half marathon. My joy is not in the organic foods my family consumes. And these are good things if I can give myself permission not to compare myself with the other mama who does or doesn’t do these things.
So I’ll try to stay out of these battles and remember that to compare myself to another mom will steal my joy away. And let’s face it: a joyful mom is the best type of mom to have.