The Comparison hangover – When you are up all night, looking through social media and comparing yourself to others.
The hangover, is when you wake up saying 1. Why did I stay up so late? & 2. I need to really work on becoming more like… or am I a good mother like becky? I don’t take my kids on fun vacations, I don’t do this, I don’t say that, we don’t have those nice things. The “I don’t”, or “we need” statements is the drink you are indulging during the comparison binging. For me the indulgent drink I choose at night is, body comparison. Why did I have to be the one who gained all this weight and didn’t lose much of it. Why does she get to look normal, days after having a baby?
Oh how fun is it to be a woman! Not only do we get to endure “aunt flow” coming into town every month but we also get to push actual humans out of our bodies… Yes, a blessing and beautiful process. Beautiful, being the birth of the child because when I look in the mirror now I don’t see very much beautiful anymore. I see a stomach that is so uncomfortably big and love handles that are stretched to their max. You could tell me allll day how amazing my body is for what it has done but the comparison game to other new moms or even to my old self (pre children) doesn’t compare. I think the hardest part for me is the comparison to my old body. My confidence used to be driven by my physical appearance. Some people gain confidence from wearing fake eyes lashes, or having tan skin… I love both of those but I used to feel so unstoppable when my body was in tip top shape. It made me feel so proud of myself. I worked hard for that body and also it was physical proof I cared for myself. Little did I know that, that was so far from the truth.
After I had my first kiddo I was at a loss for who I was. I was not able to embrace the blessing of being a mother because I was constantly loathing myself for how I looked. I would avoid the mirror and taking full body pics of myself. I would feel that I would have to tell everyone I encountered that this is a temporary version of myself because I used to be 100 pounds lighter and I just had a baby. Like they would see me at a larger physic and think she can’t be trusted… I don’t know where this thought process came from.
How to combat this? Well… there is not a “one size fits all” resolution. Comparisons, are part of life and part of being human, its actually sinful nature. It’s not always bad to compare when its vital for statistics or self reflection. The problem with the scale that you are comparing on, which is typically invalid or not balanced accordingly. Can I really compare my new self to my old self when so many factors have changed? Is it a fair comparison to the beautiful, new, skinny mom on facebook to myself? The answer is NO, she may have worked harder for it, by eating healthier and working out during her pregnancy. Her genetics are different than mine. Coming up with excuses as to why I don’t look like her is useless, we make & made different choices. So unless I want to sit down & have a geneticist compare our DNA/bring in a nutrition coach to review our eating habits, there is no way the comparison would be accurate. I choose to look at my own decisions during self-reflection. Instead of, analyzing myself on how I ate or worked out before I had kids, I look at how I can improve my health today. Ideally asking; what can I do better tomorrow? Making the variable simple and relatable is key.
The way my body looks does not reflect the way I care for my family. It does reflect however, that I struggle with taking care of myself & my body. This season of toddlerhood is tough, the constant on-the-move, ups and downs of emotions, eating what ever is left over from their plates, overindulging in sweets to escape from stress for one second, holding a child while I fix dinner, or cleaning up after meal time is hard. I give so much of my sanity and energy to them, I am spent by the end of the day. The need for more sleep is high and therefore hard to find the motivation to wake up any earlier to work out. Additionally, like I have mentioned I am not a morning person. I know this sounds like a ball of excuses but I’m just sharing the struggle.
The size of the mother does not represent the love, dedication, worth/value she is to her family. The Bible says we are beautifully and wonderfully made. (Psalms 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” ) God knew we would struggle with doubt and comparison. Thankfully he has given us his word for comfort. I choose to look at the beauty today. I choose to reflect instead of compare. Let’s lift each other up instead of competing or comparing ourselves. Motherhood and being a woman is hard enough. Let’s end the comparison hangover!