We live in a world of comparisons. Sometimes we spend our days wishing away what we have in hopes to have something more. Comparison can eat us alive if we aren’t careful! Comparison prevents us from seeing the joy around us.
Life UnEdited #31
Comparison is an Evil Thing
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I have a love-hate relationship with my Instagram feed. I love it because I get to see pictures of everyone’s happenings and the newest trends hitting the market, but at the same time, I hate it! It seems like every time I look at it I begin to think oh those shoes are so cute. Oh, that jacket is to die for. Look at those cute well-behaved kids… Then I go down the path of thinking, I am not that cute… It would never look good on me. Why does it appear their family is so perfect all the time when my kids have days where they fight constantly?
This comparison on Instagram then travels into real life when I start comparing my hair to the ladies at the grocery store. Or the fact that her kids are sitting in the cart and mine are flailing in my arms trying to run through the store. But then it gets worse and I start comparing my kids to each other or other kids. All this leads me to feel inadequate and that I have nothing to offer to society because I am not cute and trendy, my kids are far from perfect, and I don’t really have the humor my husband has! So, here I sit feeling worthless because EVERYONE is better than me…
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Comparison is an Evil Thing
Comparison is our own worst enemy. It allows us to take our lives (that we love) and make us feel horrible about them and ourselves! Why do we do this to ourselves? Comparison is an evil thing. Would you agree?
I am going to tell you a little secret
I was married for 9 years to my first husband. 6 years ago our marriage ended in divorce. When we were married we really did look like the perfect family. We had four kids, all boys. Each Sunday we attended church. We all looked nice. As we walked in we would all smile and be happy. To the world, we were the perfect little family. At least that’s what people would tell us. That’s what the world saw. It’s what I wanted the world to see.
But, that’s not how we were. Our oldest son was special needs. He has no diagnosis. He wears diapers, doesn’t talk, and for many years required us to feed him. The two oldest kids were my stepkids. People didn’t see the struggles we had with their mom. People didn’t see or hear the false allegations that were thrown our way. I hid the fact that it was hard to be a “single mom” to these four boys while my husband worked out of town many days out of the week.
What people saw was exactly what we wanted them to see, a perfectly happy family.
Why do I tell you this?
I tell you this because we are our own worst enemies when it comes to comparing. We all have probably been around long enough to know that Instagram is fun to look at, but not really reality. Sure, I can post a super cute picture of my kiddos and you might think. “Wow, how is he so clean?” or “Oh, do you see her house? How is it that perfect with 4 kids?”
But what you don’t see is my kids screaming right before as I brush their hair, change their clothes, and make them sit or stand perfectly still. What you don’t see are the sad pictures or the eye rolls or the picture that makes you cringe. AND you really don’t see the big pile of CRAP I had to push out of the way so you couldn’t see that. You don’t see me editing the dirt out of fingernails, yes, I swear to you I have done it. And applying filters for the perfect cohesive look for my IG feed! All, for what? So someone will like my picture and compare them to their unedited life? Ugh! Why? Why do we do this to ourselves?
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It’s time to be real with each other
Okay, mamas let’s be real with one another. No one has a perfect life. We all struggle. No one’s house looks like the home decor picture we all pinned on Pinterest. And here’s the thing when we buy all the stuff to make that perfect “Fall Mantle” it probably won’t look like the one in the picture. Shocker I know! Why do you ask? Because it is their job to make that mantle look great. They spend hours and hours setting it up. Then they find the perfect lighting to highlight everything and then they take 50 billion pictures to find “the one” for us to go, “I am going to do that!” Only to be disappointed (and start comparing) when it doesn’t look like theirs.
Here’s the thing. Life is hard. Our lives as moms are hard! We all struggle. I know I write posts about my kids staying in bed which work, most of the time. But there are still nights I am greeted with a 3 year old coming down to snuggle. And no I don’t drag her back upstairs every day because I am lazy!
We all have imperfections. I am sure there are things you wish were different in your life. I share a lot of things with you, even some of my struggles, but there are just some things that are too personal that should not be shared for the internet to see. Trust me I wish I could share more with you at times, (because I know moms struggle with the same thing) but I don’t to protect the ones I love the most. So, here’s the thing. My life is not perfect. I struggle just like you. I struggle with insecurities, self-doubt, mom guilt, loneliness, and feelings of inadequacies every single day.
I know on Instagram my life is sunshine and roses, but that’s the thing! Everything looks great with a filter on it! Even the messy crazy life looks great!
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Have you heard the quote, “Comparison is a Thief of Joy”? It is! Theodore Roosevelt said that “Comparison is the thief of Joy.” How is comparing ourselves to someone else taking away the joy in our homes? When we compare what we see as our worst to what we see as someone’s best, we miss the joy in our lives. We can find joy in the chaos in our homes. The dirty clothes and toys are strewn around are more than what we see, they are evidence that children are in our home. The messy fingerprints on our front window are more than a messy window, they are evidence that our children are excited to see their daddy come home from work and that they are curious about the world around them. Don’t let comparing take away the joy in your life…your wonderful, chaotic, joy-filled life.
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So with that, let’s stop comparing
So now that you know that my life is not sunshine and roses and filters on Instagram do wonders, let’s stop comparing and start living again! If your kid is doing something cute, snap a picture! Who cares if there is laundry in the background! Enjoy the time playing with your kids rather than wishing away the days because you think your life is not perfect. Because let’s be real! No one’s life is perfect.
So next time you are scrolling through Instagram and see something that makes you go, “Oh! Why can’t I…” Just stop. Stop comparing. Because behind that camera lens is a life just like yours.
I am not perfect, no one is… and do we really want to be perfect? Because honestly, all our imperfections make us perfect in our own imperfect way!
Want more real raw life? Check out Life UnEdited!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!