The Mom Comparison Trap is a thing.
Moms have heightened perception/ intuition/ senses. I blame this directly on keeping kids alive- we have to know they are okay, regardless of how old they are, and we are attuned to them. This is a superpower that comes to us because we chose the mom card.
But, as with all superpowers, sometimes you fly a little sideways before figuring it all out.
One way we fly sideways with our “I just know it” heightened sense of everything is in the mom comparison trap. We look at every other mom and “just know” that she is better than us in some way. Wherever we look, there’s another woman who trumps us.
However, there has never been a woman in the history of motherhood who has said to another mom upon first meeting, “I cannot be your friend because I am better than you in, at least, childcare.” Conversely, none of us has ever heard, “I cannot be your friend because you are better than me. in making buffalo chicken dip.” If you have ever been traumatized by either scenario, feel free to share in the comments below.
These are just thoughts that happen in our heads. So, the mom comparison trap happens in our head. (Disclaimer: we ALL know SOMEONE who we FEEL looks down on us and everyone else. These women do exist. But if you ever approach and talk to them, over half the time, they relax and within 10 minutes are telling you how they hate walking the dog/getting up for the kids/making dinner. This is a spiritual truth.)
Actually, what I’ve discovered is that most women are GRATEFUL we recognize our imperfections. Soooometimes I wonder if it’s because they don’t have those imperfections and for a minute they’re one up on us, but within a split second, mostly I have heard, “I do have a great routine for the house, but holy cow. Dealing with the kids is killing me.” And a few mutual tips later a beautiful friendship is in the works.
One time a friend I greatly admired, (okay, I wish I was her – often because she homeschooled her twins, had an impeccable house, and her husband adored her) said the unthinkable, “I don’t like to cook.” In a slight moment of denial and pride, I thought of my 5 binders of recipes to offer her so she can stay on the pedestal. But there was no going back. She said the NEXT unthinkable confession that permanently removed her from the pedestal I had her on, “I do not want to cook. Ever.” So, after a discussion of how eating at home saves money, and debating how many nights could you have pizza before it’s a problem, we came up with a plan.
We would each make a huge batch of food and SHARE IT with each other. Only, we did better than that. We made a DOUBLE BATCH for each other. TWO family meals to freeze or use that WE DIDN’T cook. And since we were really smart cookies, we made OURSELVES a double batch of food. Want help with the math? Four meals total for each of us. We did it once a month for 3 months and then summer break came and you know, we got off track.
The thing about the comparison trap is that it prevents us from finding each other and helping each other. For all the ways we use our superpower of “I just know”, let’s let it be in the ways that really matter: I just know we could be great friends. I just know I can help her in some way. I just know she can be an answer to a need I have. Because when we use THAT superpower, the mom comparison trap disappears into thin air.
Vikki Spencer, The Mom Whisperer, Mom Coach