I have had the same problem my whole life and it is the root of all of my insecurities. Comparing. I, for as long as I can remember, compare myself and my situations to everyone else. Everything from my body, my relationships, my experiences and now my mothering journey. I spend more time comparing myself to others that I sometimes fail to see my own journey for how unique and beautiful it is to me. I’m realising it more so I’m able to stop myself spiraling into an envy depression but it’s something I still have a lot of work to do on.
I’m not a jealous person, I feel like it’s more to do with my low self confidence and self worth. Like fuel for the inadequacy fire I battle against too often as I generally feel like I’m not good enough in regards to most things. I know, how sad, boo hoo, my life is so hard blah blah sob sob. I’m also not an ungrateful person, well not intentionally, and I know I’m extremely lucky to have the life I do. But I just can’t help but feel like everyone else around me has a better grip on things than I do, like they just know how to do life and I’m over here struggling to keep my shit together. It may seem from the outside that I’m getting on with things just fine but in reality I’m stumbling through everyday; life, motherhood, wifehood, existence in general. I know I’m not ‘failing’ but I do feel like I should be doing a better job of things.
I am a confessed Instagram addict, I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook and I never understood Twitter. Since starting my blog I have discovered so many gorgeous bloggers and mothers on IG that I’m in awe of. The beautiful pictures and amazing inspiring words they share are what gives me hope that even though Chloe has just thrown her third bitch fit for the day and it’s only 10am that we all have these moments but they will pass and it will all be worth it. I’m aware that Instagram is a highlight reel and a lot of the pictures people post on social media are of the beautiful moments, I mean who wants to see pictures of an unfolding catastrophic tantrum over being told ‘NO’ for trying to poke the cats bum-hole as it resembles a belly button (yeah, this happened – poor Smudge). But the beautiful white squares I scroll through at least a few times a day have me wondering if I’m just failing at this mum life. All those happy babies, beautifully put together mummies and gorgeous monochrome and pastel scandi-chic nurseries and playrooms gets me a little envious. I manage to get Chloe looking cute as shit some days and even capture her rare but heartwarming smile on camera but as for me, well let’s just say thank baby Jesus for the Valencia filter. My Insta feed doesn’t feature yours truly a lot, 1. because I’ve been sporting the ‘I woke up like this’ messy hair for the last 14 months and it just doesn’t photograph well and 2. my child is a limelight hog and doesn’t like sharing the frame. Apart from not having a photographic gene in my body, I am usually fighting just to get Chloe to sit still for a picture or capture her without an ugly cry face which is her most frequented expression.
It’s no secret that I have a lot of insecurities about my body, I’ve shared a blog about it previously. Pre baby I was never really 100% happy with what I saw in the mirror but I was strong and fit and convinced myself that I would stay healthy during pregnancy and after birth. I think I gave up on the gym at 6 months preggers and although I went on the occasional walk I used the cold weather as an excuse to curl up on the couch and eat cookies off my bulging baby bump instead. Now 15 months post partum I see other mums with their bubs that are around Chloe’s age or younger and all the Insta fit mamas and just feel like I really dropped the ball on my health, granted I know they have worked hard for it and I just haven’t (apparently purchasing the Kayla Itsines app doesn’t automatically give you a hot bod – mind-blowing I know). I stare longingly (and possibly a bit creepily) at those gorgeous mamas in their active wear, stunning mum buns and rocking bounced back bods and just feel extremely inferior. I live in active wear but 9 times out of 10 the most activity I manage a day is running after Chloe and unintentional squats bending down to pick up all the garbage she has pulled out of the rubbish bins. And let’s be honest, jeans are about as comfortable as the thought of the first pap smear after childbirth so yoga pants for the win. Although I don’t think I have the right to compare myself to all the MILF’s as I have been quite lazy in the whole ‘post partum bounce back’ race so I really need to use it as motivation for my lacking determination to be healthier and happier with my body, this might take a while still but I will get there!
Luckily I haven’t yet experienced the whole “Oh Chloe isn’t crawling yet, gee – little Timmy was crawling months ago” or “She’s not saying much, how many words does she use? She should be saying at least 10 by now”. But I think like any first time mum I see other babies do things that Chloe hasn’t mastered yet and I worry a little. Why isn’t she doing that? Should I be spending more time teaching her that? Is she not reaching her milestones? I’m even comparing my child to other kids, where does it end?! Or at least I was, I like to think I’ve relaxed up a bit now that she’s surpassed 12 months and I’ve manage to keep her alive – I must be doing something right, right? But every baby is different and might develop at different rates. Chloe was the last in my mothers group to crawl and cut a tooth but she was the first to walk (#proudmum). These babes really do have a mind of their own and I’m putting unfair pressure on Chloe and myself as a mother by trying to compare her to other children her age. I feel she’s a lot more unsettled than other children but even that isn’t a fair comparison. I’m sure the lady that had to restrain her screaming son from pushing Chloe off a coin car ride at Hilary’s the other day would beg to differ, she probably feels she has a pretty close winner to the worlds most unruly toddler on her hands too.
As I said, I know that some times the ugly, frustrating and hectic moments aren’t captured and I myself have posted many a cute picture gushing about how #blessed I am whilst behind the shot Chloe is mid meltdown over me not giving her my phone after bribing her into laughing and smiling for the camera. I am a pretty honest person, too honest at times perhaps (sorry not sorry), and I share a lot of my feelings but I also hold a lot in. Mainly so society doesn’t think I’m bat shit crazy but also because I don’t want people to think I’m ungrateful for the life I’ve been blessed with. I know how lucky I am to have my beautiful family, my health (apart from the sanity I’ve lost during the first year of mummyhood – I’m not expecting to get that back any time soon) and a roof over my head. A lot of people don’t have that and I need to stop comparing myself and my life to others. This is my journey and it’s not going to be as easy or pretty or even as hard as someone else’s. This is my story and only I can live it, everyday won’t be perfect but it will be beautiful in its own way.