Dear Other Mom,
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and your posts about how amazing your child is made me gag. I thought to myself, Ugh I don’t care about how much your kid can do at such a young age. Get OVER it. The whole world doesn’t need to know. Thanks a lot for ruining my day as I sat there and thought about everything my kid is NOT doing.
I’m sorry. That’s the unfiltered and unchecked version of my initial response. What I meant to say was this: It’s not you, it’s me. It’s not you. It’s ME.
You see, I’ve let myself get all in a tizzy by comparing my child to yours, my parenting to yours. I’m all proud of my baby girl when she puts her shoes on the right foot, but when I see yours is talking so much more, all that pride goes out the window and in five seconds she’s gone from the brightest in my book to needing serious intervention.
That’s unfair to you, me and my kid. It’s so easy to get caught up in the Comparison Game, you know? Everyone posting on FB and Twitter and Pinterest all their perfect children and perfect Christmas cards and amazing DIY projects (that look NOTHING like the Pinterest originals, BTW), and I get into the pity-party funk. I think to myself, Why can’t I do that? And Why can’t my baby do that yet? Is something wrong with her? C’mon, girl, start talkin’! and maybe I've even thought, You’re not even that smart of a person, how is your kid ahead of the curve? Now I’ve ruined my day, put unfair expectations on my toddler, and thought negative things about you that were wholly unnecessary.
I know I'm not alone. Getting nervous when our kids can’t do everything the Other Moms’ kids can do, wishing our hair looked that perfect after “the kind of day” she’s had, wondering why we didn’t think of doing our Christmas card THAT way. All because we’re looking at the exact picture someone wanted us to see, not remembering that they took fourteen other shots that more resembled real life with their blur marks and closed eyes.
So how about we make a deal. You post whatever you want, and I won’t judge you for it. I’ll chill out and remember it’s not your fault that I’m bothered by you wanting to share the joy your kid brings into your life. I’ll remember that it’s my heart that needs the change. It’s my heart that needs to remember that everybody is different. It’s my heart that needs to focus on how proud I am of my daughter, all that she is and all that she does, and that her development is not hampered by whether or not I gave her the right amount of protein today.
So I’ll just sit here in my corner of the internet and stop sending virtual nastygrams your way. I promise to Like, or even Love, the super-sweet photos you post of your kids. And if I’m feeling real fancy, I’ll even comment on it. Point is: I'll suck up feeling offended, change my heart and live my life like Life Before Facebook when we all thought our kid was the next Einstein.
An Other Mom
**I blame this blog post on Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong,” a book that makes you look at what stories you're telling yourself in order to justify behavior. I strongly believe this book should be Required Life Reading for anyone age 15 and older who can read English or the several other languages into which it has been translated.**