One of the hardest things you’ll ever deal with is not the one or two bad days, the kids that drive you crazy or the frustrating feeling that comes when you’re trying to plan your school schedule for a month and come up with nothing.
It’s not trying to explain what you do to your family and friends when you work at home and they think you are “playing all day”. Although that one can be a doozy.
No, the hardest thing you’ll ever deal with is comparison.
You are not alone in this comparison thing!
Before I really get going I just gotta say this. You are not alone in comparing yourself to others or even yourself!
I can almost guarantee you every single mom has at one point or another felt anywhere from “not good enough” to “not doing enough”-all because we compare. EVEN though we know it is a bad idea.
Comparison comes in many forms and many faces.
Comparison also looks different for each person, circumstance or even time of the day.
Maybe the neighbor’s kids are rocking out the newest clothes and your kiddos always dress like hobos. By choice, but still!
Maybe your car is currently in “repair mode”, always in the shop, but you park beside workmates brand new rides.
Maybe you are struggling to figure out how to pay your unexpected tax bill while the person next you gets “another” awesome tax break. Really?
It’s hard to cope with. You wonder why everything seems to work out for them but not you. What are they doing right or more importantly what are you doing wrong?
It happens.The problem with comparison is it robs our joy. Let it go and be you! Click To Tweet
Expectations versus reality.
I don’t know about you but I had an idea of how this working and homeschool jig would look. I’ll be honest, I had some high expectations.
That is why when I look at what other homeschooling days, I question why our homeschool doesn’t look like that? Instead, it looks like this!
I look around – at my kitchen table, my living room, or even my bedroom with the unmade bed and feel disappointed that I don’t have clean, neat and organized spaces like other people.
Do you ever feel like that? Like reality is not what you had planned.
Do you even, at times, compare the little struggles we may encounter along our way to those people who just seem to know it all and have it all together?
The problem with comparison is that it affects us each in entirely different ways.
Some people can compare what went wrong and what totally rocked and see what they can do better the next time around. No sweat! They just learn from it and move on.
While other people compare the exact same two things and feel discouraged or distressed, unable to see any light in the future.
Which one are you?
I find this time of year I start becoming very aware what I am doing and how well I’m doing it compared to everyone else. As I wrap up one school week and prepare for the next I see many areas where I just didn’t hit the goals I set out to reach.
I see struggles, failures, places where no matter what I did I just couldn’t seem to get there.
As I sit down to plan for the next month, the next goal or next challenge I find myself having an inner battle of struggle.
The comparison battle. Them vs. Me. Or even Me vs. Me.
Maybe you do too?
I know from experience that regardless of what path you’re on or how long you’ve been on it, with much hard work and a lot of patience you will see success.
It takes time. It takes an effort. It takes “keeping on” when you really want to quit.
Stop comparing. All the comparing.
If you are a bit like me someone who gets discouraged by comparing yourself to others then we need to find a way to overcome that and stop comparing.
One thing that has helped me is to look back and see exactly how far we have come.
For example, one goal I had for this past year was to inject fun into our homeschool without stressing my kids out. They don’t like it when I venture from the plan. We talked and planned a whole month of “break” in the winter. (You can read about how our learning break went right here)
Getting ready to fill out the end of school reports I started panicking. That learning break wasn’t in the plan at the beginning and which in turn put us 4 weeks “behind” my plan!
At first, I lamented, “So-and-So never seems to be behind and they take all kinds of breaks.” Comparing robbed me of my joy! I couldn’t see the good results we experienced. Not at first.
Stopping and seeing how much the children really learned during this “break” made a huge difference for me. But I had to work at it.
They learned about:
- Paper Mache Masks (You can read about that here)
- The Beginner’s Guide To Atoms And The Periodic Table
- Unit Study of Thomas Edison
- Science Expeditions
- Egg Shell Geode Crystals
After reflecting back, I chalked it up as a win, not a loss! Then let it go.
The second one is to realize that everyone has their good days and bad days.
Those “perfect working moms” who look like they got it all together…well maybe they just hide it better than we do. They aren’t perfect and neither are you.
Learn to be okay with that.
If you feel yourself starting to compare. Pause. Realize what you are doing and change your focus.
Speaking of which, the third way of stopping comparison is to focusing on your own strengths.
Even comparing yourself to your former self can be damaging. Instead of seeing all the things you do wrong, focus on what you do right.
Celebrate your strengths, feel good about them, and work on using them to your advantage.
Those are just 3 ways to help you stop comparing yourself to others and just be you!
The three things are:
- Look back at what you have accomplished
- Be okay with who you are, imperfections and all
- Focus on your strengths
So take a moment to celebrate a win you’ve had this week, this month or even this year!
Make a list of all the awesome things you’ve accomplished big or small and keep it handy when the comparison bug bites.
Remember: it’s not about how well you’re doing compared to someone else or what you used to be/do.
It’s about focusing on what matters most to you and taking the time to enjoy your unique journey along the way.