Why do we compare ourselves to others?

Humans are naturally creatures of comparison, but girls and women are especially vulnerable. Women are often implicitly trained to look to others for permission and to make sure they’re doing it right. And that urge only gets stronger when women become mothers.

As parents, we also compare ourselves to others because we want to do what’s best for our kids, so we search for areas we might be “falling short” in order to improve.

How can we reduce making comparison?

Comparing ourselves may feel like a reflex. But we don’t have to let it dictate our lives. These few tips can help.

Temper your triggers

What situations or actions typically spark your comparison making? For example, for most moms, social media is a huge issue.

Intellectually, we know that these images are highly curated and only tiny moments in time. But that doesn’t stop us from feeling awful when we see a mom hiking with her four kids, homemade lunches in tow — while our kids are staring at screens, snacking on leftover frozen pizza.

It’s important to limit how often you scroll through social media, uninstalling social media apps from your phone, and unfollowing anyone who makes you feel bad.

Join a supportive community

The more honest and open we are [about the realities of parenting], the more honest and open it allows others to be.

Of course, finding an authentic community can be hard.

You can start with one mom you feel really comfortable with and asking her about moms who are transparent about their experiences.

“For those moms who struggle with mental health issues, creating a support circle with other moms who are experiencing similar mental health challenges is essential.

Create mind-shifting mantras

When you start to compare yourself, repeat a mantra that resonates with you, such as “I am enough” or “Honor my way”.

You can also list a meaningful mantra or your positive traits on sticky notes and place them around your house. These visual reminders can instantly shift your perspective.

Focus on connection

The next time you’re worried about feeding your kids a gourmet meal or entertaining them with Pinterest crafts, remind yourself that kids remember how we make them feel and there are lots of ways — our own good enough ways — to make them feel seen, heard, understood, and loved.

For instance, some families games, while others connect over dance parties in the kitchen.

Be extra kind to yourself

As parents, when you are experiencing an especially bad day,  practice some self-compassion.

Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward oneself when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.


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