A couple of weeks ago, I was at my PEPS meeting and one of the other moms was talking about how she can’t put her son down anymore and expect to find him in the same place when she gets back. I responded with, “Totally, Anouk usually moves like 5 or 8 feet.”
What?? She doesn’t move at all. She can’t even roll over yet. Why did I just say that? I tried to back track. I had just completely lied, and for what?
As a new parent I am getting completely caught up in the Joneses. What other babies’ do, I want Anouk to do. When they talk about how much their baby sleeps, I talk about Anouk’s sleep (which is superb, by the way). When they talk about their toys, I go out and buy the same ones. And when they talk about things that Anouk doesn’t do yet, it seems that I have resorted to lying.
My husband and I were talking about it the other night and I was baffled by it. I really don’t understand why I lie to make my daughter look good.
It’s not really about her looking good, though, it’s about me looking good. If Anouk is doing something well, that is a reflection on me. And if Anouk isn’t doing something well, that is also a reflection on me, right? Not exactly. My husband pointed out a place in one of our parenting books, which says, “Parenting is not a race.”
I think that needs to be my new mantra.
The fact of the matter is that I have been comparing and racing my whole life. Way before I even became a parent, I was racing. Racing to be the top of the class. Racing to be popular. Racing to be skinny. Racing for the guy. Racing to compete. Racing to keep up with the Joneses.
No wonder I am tired…too much racing.
I wrote a blog post a while back titled, “Comparison is the Thief of Happiness.” Here it is again.
I can’t say that comparing is always wrong, though. Sometimes our comparisons spur us to grow, which is a good thing. We need to push ourselves to do new things, to stretch to new heights. Sometimes comparison helps us do that. More importantly, sometimes comparison allows us to see where there may be a real problem that needs to be handled by an expert.
We are in trouble, though, when we compare so that we can prove that we are better and someone else is worse. When comparison leaves us feeling jealous and resentful. When we compare and then forget our values (like “don’t lie”). When we compare and judge negatively. When we compare and it disconnects us from others. When we compare because we are in an imaginary race against the Joneses.
This reflection has led to two new commitments to myself:
1) Admit when I am racing.
2) Stop racing.