I’ve had the words ‘love one another’ up on our light box and it got me thinking about a few things.
Firstly comparison. It’s something I struggle with and I don’t think I’m alone.
It’s prevalent in the mummy world; it feels like there is a constant comparison battle going on.
It’s natural that we ask each other what we’re all doing with our children – firstly to check to see if we are doing it right, maybe to get confirmation if we are, or advice if we’re not. We compare if we’re bottle feeding or breast feeding, baby wearing or baby pushing, spoon feeding or baby-leading, co-sleeping or independent sleeping, if our kids are amazing sleepers or up all nighters, eating everything or being extremely fussy, biting/ screaming/pushing or never putting a foot wrong. You get the idea.
And I actually don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. However, when we start feeling judged or start doubting our choices, or start feeling like we wish our kids were better at *fill in the blank space* and putting pressure on them to change, then maybe that’s when comparing isn’t helpful. Or on the other hand, maybe we feel self-righteous when we compare and then conclude that we are doing this parenting thing better than the next person. Are we really loving one another when we choose to compare?
The second thing I’ve noticed is that we tend to try and work out who has it harder. (My husband and I do this too with the ‘who is more tired’ battle! Although he admits that there’s no real argument to be had there 😉)
I’ve often heard people say something like, ‘one child is so much easier than two’. And yes it’s true, when you’ve graduated to the ‘mum of two’ status (or I imagine, three +) you do look at mums with one and think ‘ you have no idea’.
But maybe we shouldn’t say it out loud. When I only had Sienna, mums used to say that to me. Sienna had full on colic and IT WAS NOT EASY. Obviously two is harder than one – hello, it’s double the child! But saying it undermines the fact that one is still very hard and a big jump from having no children! We also have no idea how challenging that mum of one might be finding parenthood. Are we really loving one another when we make assumptions or unhelpful comments?
And likewise, if you’re struggling with something particular (so for me that would be my kids not sleeping well – have I mentioned that?!), I’ve found it best not to ask other mums how their kids are doing in that area.
It makes the situation feel even worse than it did before, so it’s best just not to inquire…and resist googling it too!
So here’s my thought for the day. A challenge to myself.
Let’s be mums who encourage and support each other at what ever stage we’re at, what ever challenges we’re facing, without comparing who has it harder. And let’s be mums who are sensitive and think before we speak.
Let’s be mums that are gracious and non-judgmental. When our kid gets pushed by another kid, maybe we could squeeze out a forgiving smile and a knowing nod to that mum, because they might be having a really challenging day and a bit of grace would be a welcome break.
And let’s be confident in the choices we’re making, ensuring that they are chosen because they fit with our family values, done in love for the benefit of our unique and individual children (and maybe our own sanity!).
Let’s be kind and love one another – because we’re all in this together.*
*now try not to have the high school musical song in your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.