Moms, if you could name the sinister voice inside your head that is constantly comparing yourself to other moms, who would it be?
Cruella de Vil?
Or the Wicked Witch of the West?
My sister-in-law Wendy named hers Bellatrix (an evil witch in the Harry Potter series). Of course Bellatrix and her crew of dark thought-provokers don’t stop with comparing yourself to others, they create havoc in our mind and insecurities in our hearts that drag us down. Their specialty, though, is toxic comparison. As Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Never has a statement been more true.
I don’t know why we women, in particular, seem to suffer most from this. Bellatrix applies her evil sliding scale of comparing yourself to every woman that crosses our field of vision. And it’s anybody’s guess if the judgement will confirm our self worth or substantiate our most vicious self-criticism:
“She’s pretty” leads to “I’m fat”,
“Look at how well she plays with her kids” leads to “I am the worst mom ever…I’d rather eat my own nails than play Power Rangers. Truth”
“Ugh, she is SO physically fit.” becomes “She probably ignores her kids to do HIIT workouts all day. I love my kids more than my abs.”
“She has a beautiful house” makes its way down the ever-slippery Bellatrix slope to “Why can’t I keep my house clean??? I just know the producers of ‘Hoarders’ are going to be contacting me soon!”
“I’m Caught In a Trap. I Can’t Walk Out…”
The worst part of Bellatrix’s game is that it doesn’t stop at self-hatred (as if that’s not bad enough!). Bellatrix then leads us into thinking about all the ways the “perfect” mom we’re comparing ourselves to is secretly the WORST human being to ever live. It’s a destructive self preservation effort on the part of our self-esteem to think of ways that we don’t fail…in comparison. It goes something like this:
Help Has Arrived!
So how do we fight the Bellatrix voice and not get caught in the comparison trap?!? We visited this week with Sara Payne about 3 steps moms can take to avoid the comparison trap. Sara is a mom of four, a wife, a podcaster, and a life coach. She talked with us about why women struggle so much with comparison. It all boils down to women not understanding our real value.
We are constantly searching for value, and when we see someone succeeding
we feel like we are LESS.
It is as if we believe success is like a pie and there are only so many pieces to go around. If someone else gets a slice there may not be any left for us.
1.Define what success means to you.
What does success look like in motherhood to you personally, given your current circumstances? How can you best measure that success?
It’s good to remember that no mother can do it all. What things do you want to do best?
2. Watch your thoughts.
We all catch ourselves falling into comparison from time to time, whether it’s at a local playgroup, in the PTA, or while scrolling through our instagram feed.
Remember that comparing yourself is completely normal, but totally unnecessary! When we can each get our personal strengths clear in our brains, and believe in our own individual value as a parent, resisting the urge to compare comes so much more naturally.
3. Celebrate others’ successes and look to them as allies, not enemies.
We are all in this together, mamas! Another person’s successes does not mean that we are failing. Genuinely celebrating the success of other moms feels so much better than comparing ourselves to them (especially because we tend to compare our weaknesses to the strengths of others, which isn’t fair to us—-or them).
Sara goes into great detail with many real life experiences in our discussion, so be sure to listen in to hear all that she had to say!
Deep Thoughts By Camille
Comparing ourselves to others is a trap. We all do it. We all know where it’s leading. Yet, we just can’t seem to stop. I am hopeful that with the information Sara shared with us I can amend MY thoughts for the better. Making changes is no easy task, and in an instant gratification world it’s really hard to not have instant results when we set our minds to something. This is one reason why reflection is so valuable. As I look back I can see that I am slowly getting better at distinguishing truth from error, and banishing Bellatrix from my thoughts…kind of. I certainly believe that this ability is worth the effort because of the peace and happiness it brings. Until we all have this down pat, let’s learn some sort of defensive charm to cast at our own Bellatrix the next time she comes around!
Your friend in the mess,
Mom Squad Challenge
When you notice yourself comparing yourself to others, turn it around and ask yourself “How can I learn from them?”.
To learn more about Sara Payne
Sara a trained life coach (through Brooke Castillo’s Life Coach School) with simple and powerful tools that help moms create their own best lives.
Her passion is helping moms take their lives from good to great. Hence the name of her website, www.brightsidemamas.com
Visit her other website http://www.sarahpayne.com to book a coaching session or to find her podcast “Life on Call”.
To access the link to the free “What do I Value as a Mother?” printable, click here