I am in the middle of my daughter’s elementary years, so I am seeing a whole new side of the mommy wars than I did when they were little tots. Yes, the mom comparisons start early – even when babies are in the womb! But I’ve found they ramp up in the elementary years.
Where you once worried about your choices about working or breastfeeding, now you deal with comparison syndrome. As your kids get older, they become more aware of how other families are different from yours. They see and hear about how different moms celebrate the holidays and birthdays.
And, if you aren’t careful, you can get caught up in the comparison game and become competitive, falling into the trap of believing your kid needs “just as much” or “more than” little Jenny.
But something wonderful also happens during the elementary years. Your kids are older, so you have more years of being a mom under your belt. You are not flailing quite as much. And, as the kids get older, so do you. You know yourself better, which means you have all you need to nip the comparisons in the bud.
Stop Comparing and Start Embracing
First things first, you need to stop comparing yourself to the other moms and start embracing your own strengths. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If you get caught in the comparison trap, you will be miserable. Why? Well, there will always be someone who can do something a little bit better, has a little more money, looks a little younger, etc.
Every Mom is Good at Something
Instead, recognize your own strengths. Every mom is good at something. You may struggle with packing elaborate bento boxes, but you may tell amazing bedtime stories. Rather than waste time comparing yourself against another mom’s strengths, find what you do well, and embrace it. This will look different for every mom!
Her Thing May Not Be Your Thing
Now, you can recognize every mom has her own strength, but you can still struggle and feel like you need to do what she does, or you may think she is silly for being “extra.” Stop. Don’t begrudge her gifts, and don’t try to make her thing your thing. For example, some moms are birthday party moms. They love planning their kids' extravagant parties. You hate it. Don’t begrudge them for doing what they love (and doing it well), and don’t force yourself to do it. Instead, remember these words by Amy Poehler: “Good for her. Not for me.”
You Do You
Instead, you do you. Find what you do well as a mom and go all in. For instance, you may not be the mom who is the fashionista with kids always decked out in the latest and cutest styles, but you may be an excellent gift giver and know how to find the perfect gift for your child. The point is to recognize your strengths and go all in.
No One Mothers Like You
Lastly, remember that no two mothers parent the same way. We are all unique moms with different gifts. Only you know what works best for you and your kids. Your home functions according to your own rhythms, so don’t try to dance to someone else’s beats.