The new mommy wars: I’m busier than you.

So, I caught myself doing this thing the other day. It was kind of a crappy thing to do. As much as I like to think of myself as a non-judgemental and loving person, I got a little Judgey McJudgeyPants…on someone I don’t even know.

Here’s the deal. I was reading a blog of an artist/mom. She was talking about how sometimes she sends her daughter off to school, then sits in her bed in her pajamas and quietly waits for inspiration to strike her. Sometimes she sits in her bed for hours.

My immediate reaction to this was **sarcastic scoff** “I want THAT life.”

Sitting in for hours in my pajamas waiting for inspiration to strike is not something I often (or ever) do. It’s not something that would even occur to me. My reaction was one part jealousy and two parts self-importance.

Have you noticed that we seem to take pride in our busyness? Like it’s a competition almost? I will admit that listening to a mom friend with one or two kids venting about something in her life sometimes make me think “She thinks SHE’S busy? I have three!” You see and hear it all the time between moms who work out of the home and moms who are home all day with little ones. Moms who have total support from their spouse and those who don’t. What maybe should be a legitimate “I’m overwhelmed and I need help” can quickly turn into “You wouldn’t understand, your life is easier than mine”.

(Tell me you do this too and it’s not just me who has these moments of weakness and JudgeyPants-ness.)

Why do we do this? Do we want a medal? What good does this do for anyone? It’s like I want some sort of validation that my life is harder than someone else’s. I want to prop myself up by pointing out that YOU have it easier in my estimation?

OMG, can we just not?

So back to the artist blogger who hangs out in her jammies…I had to stop and question myself. Why the sarcastic “I want that life”?
Here’s the thing….if I actually do want that life, why am I not living that life?
It’s a reasonable question.  If I actually want that, what is preventing me from having that life?
If I do want that life…..why am I saying it in a snarky way and not in an admiring way? Because I think I can’t have it? Because I think I don’t deserve it?  Because I think if it’s not my life, it shouldn’t be anyone’s life?
If I DON’T want that life…..why do I feel the need to comment at all?
I’m making two incorrect assumptions here:
1. That person’s life is “easier”than mine.
2. I can’t change my own life.
Maybe the snark comes from feeling #2 so strongly that I resent the person in #1.
Here are the humbling lessons that I learned:
1. First of all, just stop assuming you know what other people’s lives are like. You don’t. So just stop.
2. Insecurity is the culprit. Somewhere we want validation so we put someone else down, even in the briefest thought. Just for a second, we think we are above that person just to make ourselves feel better. Middle school “mean girls” all over again – even if it’s just for a second in your head.
3. Jealousy and comparison can drag you down and fill you with negative feelings.  Not pleasant.  It can also reveal what you admire in others and, if you choose to use it this way, can put you on a path to what you really desire.
4. I am in control of my own life. If I want to change something, I am not helpless, I can change it.
What do you think? Do you ever find yourself in the comparison trap? Comment below.

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