The Person in the Mirror, NOT the Person on Social Media
Recently, I was working with a mompreneur on her business plan. Her business has been around for a couple of years, and she wanted to lay out better, comprehensive career goals. She confessed to me that she wasn’t sure where to start. Soon after that, she reconnected with an old friend from high school on social media, and just by doing that, she had been thrown for a loop. A mom to two small babies, she was amazed to see her old high school friend running a very successful working mommy blog with three angelic children prominently featured. Her friend appeared to have everything she wanted, but she had not taken the same path to get there. This lovely mom-preneur felt unsure of herself and unsure of how to set goals for her own business. After all, her journey didn’t look the same as that nicely polished blog.
You know the kind of blog, I’m sure. Everything is picture-perfect. The kids are always dressed in their best, looking clean, happy, and like they jumped straight out of a catalog. Every room in the house is spotless, decorated and arranged as though people don’t actually live in it. No one fights or cries or screams. No one is sleep deprived. Work, kids, family, and personal time are all perfectly balanced.
The mom-preneur I was chatting with expressed her dismay. Her life looked nothing like those photos! She actually read through her friend’s blog from start to finish in just a few, frantic hours. In the blog, this particular mom never encountered any troubles or problems. Her kids were always well-behaved, everything at work went according to plan and her family split tasks with her equally to give her free time.
Again, all of that was nothing like this mom-preneur’s life. She told me how horrible seeing all that made her feel. She felt like a failure. Her two small kids are loved and cared for, but both of them are under the age of three so there are tantrums, yelling, and more often than not they are running around the house, shedding their clothes — there are no “picture-perfect moments” there. She works more than the average 9-5 daily, and things do not always go according to plan. She has a wonderful, loving spouse, but he too has a job leaving them both trying to juggle schedules. Basically, nothing is perfect. So, how did her friend seem to have it all together?
I reminded her that she should not compare herself to others — especially on social media! We had a long heart-to-heart about how it can seem so easy to see those quick snap shots and feel inadequate, but we don’t actually know what’s going on in the entire picture of someone’s life; it’s easy to tell the internet everything is going great when in reality nothing is. In this conversation, I realized that I needed to share this quick reminder along with some tips on how to measure your own progress based on what you do, and not what others are doing.
Take a moment to think about the times you’ve been hard on yourself. Maybe you didn’t get that promotion at work, or you had a fight with your partner. Maybe you’re struggling to lose weight, or you feel like you’re not doing enough for your kids. Whatever it is, we’ve all been there. And when we’re in those moments, it’s easy to compare ourselves to others and think that we’re falling short. But the truth is, we are all on our own journey. And comparing ourselves to others only leads to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. So instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on being compassionate with yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, and remember that everyone is doing the best they can.
It’s easy to get caught up in what we don’t have, but if we take a moment to list out everything in our lives we are grateful for, we can begin to change our perspective. I am grateful for my health, my family, my friends, my job, and my home. I am also grateful for the air I breathe and the food I eat. When we focus on what we are grateful for, we begin to see how much we actually have.
Set Realistic Expectations
You’re not going to be able to do it all. You’re not going to be able to have a perfect house, a perfect body, a perfect job, and perfect kids. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have days (or weeks) where you feel like you’re failing. And that’s okay! Because you’re human. And so is everyone else. So cut yourself some slack and give yourself a break. We all need it. It’s important to set realistic expectations and then appreciate what we’ve done rather than focusing on what we haven’t done yet. There will always be someone doing better than us or someone who has more money or a nicer car or whatever it may be. It doesn’t matter because they are just telling their story; yours might look different but that doesn’t mean either one of them is wrong. No one can compare with your story so don’t compare yourself to anyone else — take care of you and your family as best as you can by setting realistic expectations for yourself which includes being happy for other people too!
Mindfulness Leads to Progress
Moms are under a lot of pressure these days. With social media, we are constantly bombarded with images and messages about how we should be living our lives. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we’re falling short. But here’s the thing: we are each on our own journey. And comparing ourselves to others only leads to feelings of inadequacy and discouragement. So instead of comparing, let’s focus on being mindful of our own progress. When we take the time to notice how far we’ve come, it’s empowering and motivating. So the next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else on social media, remember: you are not them and they are not you.