Ten years ago, when I welcomed my first child into the world, I strived to learn about motherhood through all of the obvious tomes. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” “A Mother’s Guide to Nursing.”
But today, now sporting three children, my first inclination is to turn to online communities for support and guidance.
Which activities should we join?
Where should we vacation?
Am I pushing too hard, or not hard enough?
It’s all too easy to be a social voyeur and play the comparison game to see if we are measuring up as a family – to see if I am measuring up as a mom.
On any given day, I can scroll through the social platform of my choosing and see plans for fabulous Pinterest-worthy birthday parties, moms volunteering yet again in the classroom, and pictures of fabulous holiday adventures.
Some of these women are my friends, others mere acquaintances or social-lite connections.
Generally, I am happy for them. They inspire and glow. We cheer one another on with witty online banter.
But there are days when a quick social scan leaves me feeling lousy.
Why am I not doing more?
Are we failing to make enough memories?
Am I doing everything I can to be a fabulous, loving mother?
In a world with endless opportunities to find more, more, more information, I can spend hours down an Internet rabbit hole seeking insights on how to do this or that as a parent. In many instances, I find wonderful tips and ideas. I am learning and growing and helping my kids. But, I need to check myself every so often as well. Surfing social and comparing my journey, or my family’s journey, to another is not especially healthy.
I don’t need to post every moment or experience to keep up with the social Jones’, nor do I need to berate myself if the journey I am creating for my family is different.
We are unique, we are healthy, we are happy.
We make mistakes, we miss certain moments, we evolve.
There is certainly much to learn about motherhood and parenthood on the Internet, in our respective social communities and from the many family and friends we follow and “like.” But as I continue to grow as a mom, I must constantly remind myself not to use these forums as a yardstick. That’s no way to live, and I need to master this life lesson soon – for my own sanity, and so I can teach my kids to do the same.
Do you fall into the social compare game? How do you pull yourself out?