A few months after my daughter was born, I began struggling with some insecurities. My son, my firstborn, totally changed the way I lived my life; it was no longer about just my husband and I. After I had my daughter, I had to balance caring for two kids under 3, making sure their needs were met, and household duties were taken care of, not to mention being a present wife and friend. (Please hear my heart. I’m not complaining or saying “woe is me”. Being a mom at every stage and number of children has it’s joys and challenges. There are other moms, or even people in general, that have lots of things on their plate. This is just my life experience.😘) I was relearning to ride the bicycle of parenting a newborn. Feedings. Changing. What ages do “milestones” happen again? In short, the early days were a fuzzy blur.
In my sleeplessness nursing in the night, I would scroll through Instagram to stay awake. There’s one Instagram account that I’ve followed for a while. She is a mother of 3 that is a public speaker, about my age, and stays at home with her 3 children. Her youngest child is a few months older than my daughter. She would often post pictures of how her kids went on play dates or just out and about in life.
This is where my insecurities start bubbling up. The biggest shock for me having two young kids is the amount of time it takes to get out of the house. Before my daughter was born, my two year old son and I would visit libraries and parks frequently. All I needed was a diaper and wipes, usually stashed in my car, a snack (also in the car) and we were off. Then we’d come home for a nap and leave again. It was pretty painless. After my daughter was born, the following usually happened. Make and eat breakfast. I’d get my son dressed and make sure he went to the bathroom. Feed my daughter. Change the inevitable poop explosion that would happen. Change her clothes. Take my son to the bathroom again because at this point 30 to 45 minutes had gone by and we were in the midst of potty training 😵. I was lucky to get out of the house in an hour. The early days were a circus and the ringleader -me- was exhausted.
As I looked through the IG – Instagram, stay with me 😏 – of my fellow mama. I was filled with self doubt. She has 3 kids, they are closer in age than mine, and she can take them anywhere. I have 2 kids and I’m lucky to get ready to go somewhere in an hour if at all. What am I doing wrong?
Then one day she posted something that surprised me. She thanked her nanny for her service because the nanny was moving away. Wait?! WHAT!!! SHE HAD A NANNY! (No judgment on nannies. If I could afford a little extra help, I probably would have one and a maid too. 😉) I was so disappointed with myself. Not because I was jealous – well I was a little jealous but that’s not why I was discouraged. It was because I’d wasted so much time wondering if I was doing something wrong and comparing my family and our skills to those of someone else.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, EVER, especially on social media. I’ve heard several times from various sources that Instagram is the “highlight reel” of someone’s life not the full story. So enjoy their highlights but live your life! Comparison will steal your joy. If you look at someone else’s job, friend circle, kids, weight, husband (Girl, not their husband!!! 🚫) it will steal the pleasure of your everyday life.
The principle of contentment really applies to anyone at any stage of life. Whether or not you have children, are married, have been in the workforce for 30 years, retired or just starting out in the real world, measuring your life against another will always cause you to come up short and kill the life you could be fully living.
“We never seem to measure up or have enough in comparison to someone else, so I made it a point to enjoy MY journey and MY process.” – Melissa Fredricks, Journey to Self Love