Parenting can feel like an international sporting competition sometimes. It's international because you're comparing yourself against the "competition" of parents across the entire world. It can feel like you're sporting your parenting skills and your child's accomplishments against every other parents' as well.
There's a saying that comparison is the theft of joy. On the one hand, that is true. You could honestly be doing your best, but once you compare yourself to another parent who's seemingly doing "better,” you'll immediately feel like your best is suddenly not good enough. Given our individual circumstances, sometimes our best is just what we can do at the moment. Curated Instagrams of perfect parents certainly don’t help.
It's also unfair to compare ourselves to other parents because we were all raised differently. The expectations culturally, within families, and other societal constructs, including races, religions, socioeconomic statuses, and so forth, change our parenting, too. On top of it all, we sometimes primarily serve those expectations instead of our own.
Yes, comparing undoubtedly sucks, but it's hard for us not to do it anyway at the end of the day.
My partner brought up an interesting point about comparison. He said without it, we may not fully know what to improve upon.
He does make a good point. We all have blind spots. Other people serve as our mirrors to show us what to do and what not to do. It's a double-edged sword.
You or someone you know has probably said something along the lines of: "I won't do what my parents did because it traumatized me" or "my parents did it this way, and I'm going to do it, too because it made me a better person.” Comparing to our parents' style of raising us is the first likeness and differentiation we make.
If we have no standards in which to meet outside of ourselves, we can unconsciously stray and do something that may not be beneficial for our child(ren). Prevention is far easier than correction.
It's a fine line between comparison stealing your hard-earned parenting glory and owning up to not doing your best when you can.
Parenting is not an Olympic event. It doesn’t serve us as parents to do it and to have it done to us unnecessarily.
Comparison will always be there, but responding more than reacting will always yield better long term joy for you and your child.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.