What if I told you there was one simple thing you could do that would allow you to be more present with your children and happier than you’ve ever been?
It isn’t a diet or a juice fast, it doesn’t require you to commit to an hour a day with a life coach or take up the latest exercise trend. You can do it in bed before you fall asleep or in the morning during your shower. And you can definitely do it while scrolling through your social media feeds!
It is this:
God, it is so simple, isn’t it? But I challenge you to get a sheet of paper and draw a mark every time you find that a ‘comparing thought’ pops into your mind. You’ll be astounded.
Our minds are very often runaway trains, charging down a track fuelled with opinions and judgements on everything. “ I should play with my child more, I shouldn’t let her have so much screen time, if I had a different job we’d be able to afford a holiday this year.”
When you unpack those thoughts though, you start to realise how many of them come from a place of comparison:
“I should play with my child more. Amy plays with her son all the time and she’s never bored by it, why can’t I be as good a mum?”
“I shouldn’t let her have so much screen time. Maybe that is why her friends are reading already and she isn’t.”
“I can’t believe that Kate and Jeff are going overseas again this year! If I had a better job we’d be able to afford to do the same.”
I don’t know about you, but beating myself with the rod of what I should be doing has never achieved anything but to create a knot in my stomach. There are days when I feel like the knot never relaxes and I am sure I am a substandard mother, a very ordinary business owner and a fairly bad wife.
And all that time that I spend with that knot in my stomach is time that could be spent enjoying my children, actually noticing what is happening in my life and celebrating my own wins- however big or small. Recently, I’ve started to realise that all these comparisons are actually stopping me from being fully present in my own life.
So my resolution is to make 2016 the year I banish comparisons. And I want to invite you to come on this journey with me.
Next time you bump into your friend who is hand stewing organic baby food for her 6 month old, STOP. And when the mum at your son’s school mentions that her child is counting to 100 unassisted, STOP. And that mum in your yoga class who looks like she never, ever had a baby? STOP!
If you genuinely want to hand stew baby food but your skills or time don’t permit, let your thoughts reflect that regret but don’t make the next leap. Don’t compare yourself or your mothering skills to your friend who does have the time and possesses that particular skill.
Because you know what?
You are unique. You are doing it your way. And your way is pretty good.
And you don’t need me to tell you that, because years ago, your mother already did.
She was right.