Am I the only one who thinks every other mother is doing it better? Ella – Fort Meyers, FL
Trying to be or thinking you have to be a perfect mom is a VERY common feeling. The moms on our panel have faced the same issue. Read below for tips on how to deal with trying to measure up to other moms.
No–you’re not the only one. It’s normal to admire when other moms seem to have it all ‘together’. Not even Mother Theresa does everything ‘right’, so don’t hold yourself up to a standard that is an impossible feat. It takes too much energy to worry about what other mothers are doing and if you measure up to their accomplishments. In retrospect, they could be thinking the same about you. Know your limitations and don’t worry about things that are out of your control. Set a good example for your children by just doing what you can and explaining to them that sometimes you aren’t able to do everything. Marjorie – 30 something
You’re with the majority on that one! That said it’s my honest belief that every other mother (or parent) is doing it differently, not necessarily better. While it’s easy to look around and see that ‘so and so’ is a better cook, or ‘so and so’ juggles their career and quality time well, it’s what we don’t see that levels the playing field. For every area you may think you are falling short compared to others, I guarantee that you are a gold standard for others in areas you may not realize! My heartfelt advice is to look at other mothers and parents only to see what you may learn from them (best practices, if you will), and apply if it makes sense for your family.
Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap – it’s not fair to you and not fair to them. No one is perfect, even if they seem like that on the outside. To quote Oprah, that’s one thing I know for sure. 🙂 Amy B. – 40 something
I would rephrase that and say, most mothers think every other mother – but she – is doing it “right”. That comes from a good place, from the fact that you want to do well by your family. But it is a fact that standards are incredibly high. The more I look around, the more I notice that mothers only do a few things on the list “right”. I happen to get into cooking things for scratch, and like to make Halloween costumes myself. But please don’t take a close look inside my fridge or under my furniture, and please, please don’t count the weeds in my garden. You are a mother and allowed to be human. Perhaps take advantage of the skills your friends have and ask for their advice on something that stumps you. You will probably put them at ease, and they will respond in kind. Amy C. – 40 something
Not only are you not alone, but most likely there are many mothers that look at you and think you are doing everything “right.” The secret is that it’s not really about other mothers, it’s about you. Women, who look like they have it all together, are dealing with challenges that you may not know about. So, the remedy here is to focus on you. Take a moment and write down 10 things you do well as a mother. Take the time to acknowledge yourself for every item on that list.
Then, identify one thing you would like to enhance in your mothering. Just as you would with any other skill, create a list of strategies for getting better at that one thing. Maybe you want to be more patient? Implement a strategy that calls on you to count to 3 before responding to your children and husband?
Remember that many mothers feel this way and that you are not alone. And then, start appreciating your gifts. Jamee Tenzer – 50 something
Heck yes, because it is easier to be hard on ourselves versus giving ourselves praise and “atta girl’s”. Isn’t it like, when asked to write your good points and your bad points, it is always easier to see what needs improvement not what you are doing right? Give yourself permission to praise yourself. No one gives you a manual on how to be a good parent and you can only do the best you can with what you have at the moment.
Also give yourself permission to say “I’m sorry, I made a mistake” to your children. You don’t always have to be right and you are allowed to make mistakes. The trick is letting your kids know that. Helene – 60 something
Where is the “mommy meter” that measures parental success? There isn’t one. Perhaps you could limit your energy worrying about the correctness of your parenting and get busy learning about your unique qualities as a mother and your children’s’ unique qualities as your offspring. What is “right” for one family is not “right” for another. If someone is criticizing your parenting, consider what they are saying and learn from it, or toss it out with the trash. If one of your children experiences failure, remember it is their failure, not necessarily yours as a parent, and move on. Learn to erase self-doubt and replace it with self-confidence through experience and talking with the wisdom of those who have gone before you. Remove “right” from your vocabulary whenever it is judgmental or use it only when your turn indicator is on in your car. Your life will flow much more smoothly and you will close the door on comparing yourself to others. Marge – 70 Something