By: Roshanda Pratt
Here is the scenario: You are at the park for a play date with other moms with children. Your child does something spectacular at least in your eyes. You applaud them. Within seconds another mom starts telling you how her child does so well at school and plans to skip a grade next school year. The next mom chimes in to say her child is excelling in reading and already plays the piano. For the next 2 to 5 minutes the conversation is a see-saw of child accolades, comparing who really has the “better” child. Honestly, mama’s how many of you can say you have been in a conversation like this before? Mom Envy. It is real, destructive, stressful and unfair.
Not too long ago, I was talking to a mom who was bragging heavily about her kids. I mean HEAVILY. These children were the next Albert Einstein, Picasso, Michael Jordan all rolled into one. I listened as this mom went on and on about how “great” their child is doing in just about everything! I found myself wanting to say, “Hey, my kid is special too, see, let me tell you!” When I did get a chance to speak, I started rattling off a list of my children’s “accomplishments.” She then added more “accomplishments” of her own. After a while, I felt like we were playing a game of tic-tac-toe and neither one of us was winning.
I left questioning my abilities as a mother, my children’s education, their lack of extra circular activities (even though my children are 6, 4 and 23 months) and social skills. Was I failing? Do they need to do more so they can “compete.” Then the harsh reality hit, could I be the problem? Maybe for you that is not a problem. Maybe your “Mom Envy” consists of being jealous of a mom who seems well put together, organized, patient, etc. Here is the truth about “Mom Envy.” It is unfair and damaging. At the core, it says “I am not good enough, my children are not good enough, God made a mistake.” I decided I would not compare myself or my children to anyone else.
Psalm 139:14 NIV reads, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
My confidence in my parenting has to rest on the fact that I am being the mom God has created for MY children. I had to resolve being comfortable in my mommie “skin.” Everyone’s family dynamic is different, I had to decide to respect my situation without trying to make “my children or my parenting” like anyone else. Now, I am not saying you should not have “mommie mentors.” There are older women or moms who have been in the motherhood world longer than you. These kind of relationships are an asset to your parenting. This is a good thing.
However, what is not good is not enjoying your present because you are comparing it to others. I am drawing a line in the sand that the next time mom envy tries to rear its head, I will instead applaud my follow mom on her accomplishments, I will celebrate with her instead of pondering my “lack” of self-worth in my heart. I will NOT be baited into comparison. Let’s start a Mommie-lution, let’s ban together to love ourselves and rejoice with our fellow mom’s instead of feeling inadequate. And if you need to make some legitimate changes in your mothering, you will do so under the guise of pressure to live life through someone else. So, who is with me? I would love to hear what you think.
Your friend in the journey of Motherhood,