Do you ever wonder why we as women compare ourselves to other women so much? Men never seem to do that. Or if they do question their insecurities and compare themselves to other men, they never seem to voice those concerns or even dwell on the outcome of that comparison.
I've never heard a man ask if that other guy's jeans look better than his. And I've certainly never heard a man ask if he was a better father than his neighbor. Or friend. Or even a random dude at the grocery store.
Before I actually was a mom, it was so easy for me to judge other moms out there. I would venture to say I'm probably not the only one who has watched another mom's disciplinary tactics or listened to them voice their struggles and though to myself, "Ha! I will NEVER have that problem because my ways are so much better!" All I know is that I want to make the absolute best decisions for Charlotte, and I want to be the absolute best mom I can possibly be. I'm sure I will make mistakes because mistakes are inevitable in life. Thank the good Lord, we all make them.
I'm trying very hard not to compare myself to other moms these days. In the beginning, it really broke my heart that I wasn't able to breastfeed. If other moms were able to do it, I should have been able to as well. I was literally pissed off that for some reason so many other women had managed to conquer this feat, some even quite successfully. While my baby was just starving to death, there were other moms who bore their leaky boob pads proudly. It killed me! And I saw the look of disdain in some eyes when I shamefully admitted I was using formula to nourish my child. It was hard to overcome that feeling of inadequacy, especially in the beginning when I felt inadequate at everything!
As I strolled my Target onesie-clad baby and adorable little neighborhood girls wearing their adorable smocked bishop dresses just to play in the yard...I must admit I was originally more than a little intimidated. I would compare sweet Charlotte to their children and myself to the moms....and just feel like I fell totally short of the mom I expected myself to be. I threw my own little pity party on more than one occasion.
Facebook and blogs can also be a warzone for women, even if it is unintended sometimes. Some of the responses or comments I read are just so hateful and harsh it blows my mind! It almost makes you afraid to be honest about the things you want to discuss. It's rough looking at other peoples' photos and seeing extravagant birthday parties or crafty home decor. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge those people at all. I'm happy that they can manage to do all of those things, but there is some jealousy there, too, if I'm being totally honest. It's hard not to fall short every once in a while when you are trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Sometimes I find myself on the good side of my comparisons. I would think to myself "I'm never going to pawn my kid off on a babysitter every single weekend like so-and-so" or "I will spend much more time reading to my child rather than plopping them in front of the TV every evening." No, I'm not proud of it. Pride and insecurity are scary things to face, especially in the midst of the biggest unknown (new parenthood, duh) of my life thus far.
I've compared mine and H's relationship to other marriages. And let me tell you-that is pretty much always a recipe for disaster. There is always going to be someone else's situation that looks better from the outside looking in. It might look easier or more effortless, more loving or more romantic. But then again, you never get to see the stains on the carpet when you're on the outside looking in.
I really feel like this is a terrible habit of the female gender. I hate that so many of us feel like we have to tear other women down to build ourselves up. And I hate that we compare ourselves and our lifestyles to each other on so many different occasions when the simple truth is this: We are all different. Gloriously different. We have different kids, different parenting styles, different marriage relationships, different friendships. We like different foods and kinds of underwear; we even watch different televisions shows and like different kinds of music. It doesn't make me wrong and you right, it just makes us interesting and unique.
Now that I am in charge of the growth, develop, and general outcome of another human being, I'm trying really hard not to judge others so harshly. I've learned that maybe a more laid-back, less judgemental mom is the best kind of mom to be. And I've learned that sometimes the best intentions don't work out the way we planned or expected, and I would hate to know that someone is basing their opinion of me as a mother (or woman) on one simple mistake or bad decision. In the end, it doesn't really matter if Charlotte is wearing a smocked dress on a random Tuesday (although she did yesterday, yay for me!) or even if she doesn't have socks on when the baby next door is dressed like an eskimo when it's still 80 degrees outside. My baby might be smarter than yours, or she might not be potty trained before yours. But I'm going to try my best to reserve judgement and remember that all kids will reach their own milestones in their own time. To quote "Jersey Shore"... "I'm gonna do me. You do you"
I'm fairly certain it will make for a better life in the end.
However, let me worn you in advance....if you have stuffed animals in the back windshield of your car---then yes, I will probably still judge you.
But just a little.