When my kids were growing up I was always worrying about being a good parent. I remember when one of them had a terrible meltdown in the supermarket and I nearly burst into tears because another parent walked by with this look on their face as if to say, “It’s about time you got your kid under control!”
If constant comparisons leave you feeling like you’re coming up short as a parent, you’re not alone. Comparing yourself to other moms or dads is a sure way to reduce your confidence, motivation, and self-esteem. It’s also a way to make you feel like you’re not enough.
Part of my personality likes to get things right and when others would compare my expertise as a parent it sure made me feel inadequate. Over time this changed though. When I became more self-aware by attending some personal development programs I started to love myself for who I was. I also knew that I loved my kids unconditionally and was doing the best I could at the time.
Thomas Mussweiler, a professor of organizational behavior, describes comparing ourselves to others this way: “It’s one of the most basic ways we develop an understanding of who we are, what we’re good at, and what we’re not so good at.” You see, our brains are wired for connection and belonging, but if we constantly compare ourselves to other parents, we’re putting our happiness, and confidence as a parent at risk.
So, how do you shift a, “I compare myself to other parents” mindset? Well first you have to realize that you are doing it to begin with. Becoming more self aware of what you are thinking and the beliefs you have about yourself and parenting will help to shift this mindset. To follow your “change your journey map” you have to know where you’re starting from first. Right?
Practicing gratitude really helped me when I started to notice my, “I compare myself to other parents” mindset kicking in. My understanding of gratitude is having an attitude of appreciation under any circumstance. It involves being thankful, but it is also more than that. Gratitude means expressing thankfulness and being appreciative of life every day even when nothing exciting happens. Each day, think of three things you’re thankful for. Make it a daily habit to visualize what’s good in your life.
When we focus on other parents and how they parent, we lose time that we could be investing in ourselves and our children. Think about growing green grass. We don’t focus on the green grass that other parents grow, we do it by focusing on ours – by feeding and watering it and caring for your own.
Some personality styles will compare themselves to others as they are always looking for perfectionism, so I’ll say again, it’s so important to know what your beliefs, fears and mindsets are that are driving your behavioral style. Interested in finding out what your DISC style is – so you can follow your “change your journey map” for knowing where you’re starting from first? Here’s a link to one of my online assessments with a report and guide that’s on sale to get you started: DISCovering Me Assessment
For those parents that would like to join my parenting Facebook group you can go here Parent with Teens, Tween and Anything In between. I would love to hear your comments and please share with others if you have found this post helpful. Together we can create a kinder and more peaceful world.