We all know at least one of those mothers. You know who I’m talking about. The moms who somehow complete all of their daily tasks with beautifully groomed hair and perfect makeup (not a stain or messy ponytail in sight). They’re always on time for everything. They bring delicious homemade brownies to the bake sale. And they’re usually perfectly nice which makes it all more infuriating.
Meanwhile, my version of being a so-called “housewife” looks more like this:
What I’ve come to realize is, however, is that for all their seeming “perfection, these “Stepford Wives” are still just people. And just because I don’t see them lose their cool in the carpool lane or scrubbing paint off their walls, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. In fact, given their role as “mothers,” it’s pretty much guaranteed that their lives are no where near as glamorous as they seem and I can never know the daily struggles they face.
(Unless they’re robots.)
But you’re no robot, which means you’ll never live up to your own (or society’s) utterly unrealistic expectations placed on you. Many of us have this unhealthy but often practiced habit of comparing themselves to other women. We have a tendency to compare ourselves to others not only physically, but also when it comes to our abilities as wives and mothers as well. The fact is, though, we all have talents that lie in different areas. Some mothers work in a corporate environment, while for other moms the management of their home is a full-time job in itself. Some women like to pamper themselves with manicures and others find playing tennis more relaxing.
In these cases, there is no better or worse: there is only different.
Anyway, here are some important steps you can take to stop comparing yourself to other mothers and to accept yourself as the wonderful, flawed mom you are.
Admit your parenting mistakes
Be willing to admit to your parenting mistakes. We’ve all made them. It can be mortifying or even painful to think back to the moment in time where the mistake was made. You realize in hindsight that there were better options. Dwelling on regrets, however, is not conducive to healthy thinking or progress. Your goal should be to acknowledge your failures but to learn from them and move forward.
If you have more than one child, it’s pretty likely that when it comes to raising your little ones you handled things differently the second time around than you did with your firstborn. If anyone asked, you’d have an entire list of things you would do differently. You would have chosen to breastfeed longer or if you could go back you would have ensured that your child was involved in more activities. Or maybe you are always late to soccer practice because you can’t seem to get out of the house in time. Maybe, you imagined things going so smoothly but your finances didn’t allow for it. Whatever the reason, acknowledge the choices you’ve made.
It is never too late to correct or build on mistakes or to change bad habits. You can’t change the past but you can learn from it.
You can learn a lot from your child. Pay attention to your child’s behavior and the way they interact with their peers. Are they having fun and connecting with others? Do you recognize some of your own bad habits showing up when you observe your child? If you’ve been openly expressing your anger and maybe even a few choice words in your child’s presence, don’t be surprised if they begin to mimic this behavior. If you run into this problem, address it right away.
If it will make you feel more confident, try setting aside ten more minutes in the morning to put on a little makeup. I’m not saying to change your priorities, but recognize the little habits that make you feel good about yourself and devote more time to them. Whether you spend that time pampering yourself or reading or exercising or watching trashy TV, reward yourself and watch your attitude improve.
I’m not saying that you need to be perfect and become a “Stepford Wife” because, to be honest, that sounds miserable. But recognize the areas of your life that can change and accept the wonderfully chaotic aspects of life that keep parenting entertaining.
The bottom line
We all have things we want to change about ourselves and it is hard to stop comparing ourselves to other moms. But by being the best mom you can be, recognizing areas of improvement, accepting our shortcomings, and realizing that NO ONE has it all together, we can be much happier people.
Peace, love, and health,
Image Source: Happy Housewife