Ladies, we need to talk.
I’m a pretty go-with-the-flow kind of person, especially when it comes to motherhood. I know there are many different ways to tackle the same thing, and am quite pro “do what works for you.” There’s something far too many moms (and women, really) are doing though that makes me cringe.
We one-up each other.
We don’t all one-up each other in the same manner, so we’re going to talk about the two kinds of one-uppers – the Classic “I must keep up” One-Upper and the Martyr One-Upper.
The Classic One-Upper
We compare our lives as apples for apples, when really they’re apples and oranges. We become obsessed with trying to have the same awesome life they do, whether the “they” are legit friends or just the random woman you follow on Pinterest or Instagram.
Awesome family vacations, a babymoon, a new car, a bigger house, a lake house – shoot I’ll even throw in a knack for decorating said house. We spend so much time comparing, wishing, and self-criticizing for things we can’t really control.
Who cares if you live in a home that’s a third of the size of most of your friends’ homes, or you take half as many vacations as others? You are doing life the way that works for your family! We don’t all have the same budgets to work with, or experience the same level of financial margin, so stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Pinning all kinds of awesome, allegedly easy, home decor ideas, and then watching a talented friend pull those off in her own home? Don’t sweat it! So what if your house looks like a bunch of messy boys live in it? That’s your life right now – embrace that! Personally, I plan to hold my “no glitter!” ground – the stuff is a nightmare to clean up, and I’m too lazy for that. If I really get the urge to decorate, I’ll just hire my talented friend to do it for me!
We are exhausting ourselves with trying to keep up with the latest things seen on Pinterest, our friends’ social media profiles, or overheard at the last playdate or moms night out. We see them doing these amazing crafts with their kids, or cooking gourmet meals, or seemingly expertly juggling life, fitness, work, business, family, etc all without dropping a ball.
We have this competitive drive inside of us, even if we don’t care to admit it, and we simultaneously beat ourselves up over alleged shortcomings and try to plot something bigger and better. Why?! Ladies, life is hard enough without us making it harder than necessary.
The Martyr One-Upper
On the flip side of that kind of one-upping, is one I find especially ugly. We one-up our friends’ bad days and struggles, so that it’s obvious to them that our life is just as hard or harder than theirs. We try to become martyrs.
We need to be abundantly careful to not compare when a friend is venting about a hard day. Why we would want to make it sound like our own life is rough, while a friend is trying to get things off her chest, is beyond me, but it happens. Please don’t take your friend’s moment of pain, stress and struggle, and turn it into something about you. Focus on just listening, and when she’s ready, feel free to throw her a humorous story of some misfortune in your own life; not as a way to compare, but as a way to make her laugh.
“I feel like I shouldn’t complain in front of you, because you had triplets, and I’m only dealing with one baby at a time!”
True story. I’ve heard that line more times than I can count, and it breaks my heart! I immediately follow that statement with a “no, please complain away! Our lives are different, but can both be hard.”
My friends should always feel like they can vent to me about their sleepless nights, insane toddler, the challenges of potting training, transitioning from a crib to a bed, or sassy elementary aged kids. Always. Just because I had three babies at once does not mean my life was infinitely harder than yours, it just means it was different.
We should never, ever feel like we can’t talk to our friends about a hard day or challenge we’re facing. Ever. When we’re focused on trying to become the martyr, we’re closing the door on that chance for a friend to just cry on our shoulder.
Step back from the social media for a minute, look around you and take stock in your life, not the best parts of someone else’s life. You’re apples, and she’s oranges. No amount of one-upping, whether Classic or Martyr, is going to bring you contentment in your own life.
Whether you’re having an awesome day or a terrible day, all that matters at the end of that day, is that you did what was best for you and your family. Stop one-upping, and rest in the knowledge that you are enough. Smile more, rejoice more, sympathize more, complain and compare less. You are enough – through the highs and lows of life, you are enough.