The Comparison Trap: How to Harness Your Unique Mama Power and Ditch Feeling Not Good Enough

motherhood postpartum postpartum anxiety postpartum depression Dec 01, 2023
new mom postpartum mom

Motherhood is a journey like no other, a profound experience that weaves together love, joy, challenges, and personal growth. Yet, in this age of constant connectivity and social media, it's easy for moms to fall into the trap of comparison, which can cast a shadow on this beautiful, and challenging journey. As a therapist who has walked alongside countless moms, the comparison trap is something I have experienced both personally, and in my work with mamas.

This comparison can show up in some very direct and also subtle ways. And if you struggle with comparison I want you to know that you are not alone! I see this often in moms that care so deeply about being good moms. And the fact that you worry or think about being a good mom is a really good sign that you already are.

 Let’s take a sec and look at how comparison can show up in mom life. For example, sometimes we look at how that Insta mom creates the most perfect homemade baby food and think, “man I don’t do that. Is that what good moms do?!” Or we admire that crafty mom and think “I’m not crafty, maybe I should be crafty cause that would make me a better mom.” Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how much we are comparing ourselves to other moms on social media, our friends, relatives, our own mothers. etc. It is so important to be aware of this comparison that is happening because it has a profound negative effect on you as a mom and human. Take a minute to really think about who you compare yourself to in motherhood and what kinds of thoughts and feelings this brings up for you. Pretty negative I'm guessing? Now let’s explore why comparison can be harmful and how we can replace it with self-compassion and understanding, shall we?

The Myth of the "Perfect" Mother

In today's digital age, images of seemingly perfect motherhood flood our social media feeds. We are bombarded with snapshots of meticulously arranged baby nurseries, smiling children, and gourmet meals prepared with organic ingredients. However, it's crucial to remember that these images often represent curated moments, not the entire reality of motherhood. The "perfect" mother is an unattainable myth, and attempting to measure up to this ideal only leads to self-doubt and inadequacy.

 Your Journey, Your Pace

 Every mother's journey is unique, just as every child is unique. Comparing your journey to that of someone else is like comparing apples to oranges – it's simply not a fair comparison. Your circumstances, resources, challenges, and strengths are distinct from those of any other mom. Embrace your individuality and honor your own pace. Your journey is valid and meaningful, regardless of how it looks compared to someone else's.

 The Danger of Self-Judgment

 Comparison often leads to harsh self-judgment. When you constantly measure yourself against others, you risk internalizing a critical voice that diminishes your self-worth. Remember that your inner dialogue matters. Would you speak to a friend the way you speak to yourself? Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer to others.

 Fostering a Supportive Community

 Instead of viewing other moms as competition, consider them as allies in this shared journey. By creating a supportive community, you can exchange experiences, advice, and empathetic listening. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and validate your feelings. Remember, the stories we share are often the unfiltered ones – the ones that remind us we're all in this together, navigating the ups and downs of motherhood.

 Cultivating Self-Compassion

 Self-compassion is a powerful antidote to the harmful effects of comparison. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would extend to a close friend. When you make a mistake or face a challenge, remind yourself that these are opportunities for growth, not reflections of your worth as a mom. Practice self-care, set realistic expectations, and acknowledge your efforts. See all the good that you do, versus the mistakes you make. 

 Celebrating Milestones, Big and Small

 Motherhood is a journey of countless milestones, both big and small. Celebrate each of them, recognizing that your achievements are significant regardless of how they compare to others'. Whether it's your child's first steps, a moment of personal self-discovery, or simply making it through a hard, sh*tty day – each step forward is worth acknowledging and celebrating.

In a world filled with comparisons and unattainable standards, it's important to remind yourself that your journey as a mom is uniquely yours. Embrace the imperfections, challenges, and moments of pure joy that make your experience special. Let go of the harmful habit of comparison and replace it with self-compassion, understanding, and a genuine appreciation for your individual path. Remember, you are a remarkable mama, and your journey deserves to be cherished, respected, and celebrated on its own terms.

 With love,

Alex (therapist, mama of 2, and recovering perfectionist)

PS If you are looking for more support in ditching the comparison and owning your own journey in motherhood, schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with me or Sasha here to see if therapy or supportive coaching is right for you. You got this mama and we are with you! 

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