Let’s put an end to parent comparison

September 8, 2018

Krystal Irwin, Douglas County Family contributor.

I’m seeing the tide rise up stronger as school-year life and decisions are beginning to take over again for us parents.

The talk is starting about up again about schooling choices, vaccination decisions, faith, parenting styles, bedtimes, ClickList shopping at Fred Meyers, sports and extracurricular activities, and the list goes on.

We want to do our absolute very best for our babies, and want their greatest success, health and joy — and with that, we start making all these stressful decisions.

But instead of looking within to what we really believe (and up, if you’re a prayerful person), we look out and around and start comparing and contrasting. We often use everyone else and their family decisions as our measuring stick, as to what we should be doing in our own home.

When eyes rove and hearts start comparing, the insecurity starts to peak. Often it starts to drip out in not-so-lovely ways. That’s when the shame game starts to take over.

If you’re a parent, chances are high that another parent has given you their opinion, whether you wanted it or not. Most likely, you have felt shamed for the way you choose to parent.

Sometimes the comments are direct and pack a punch. Other times, they ooze with a passive-aggressive flair. Either way, we can start questioning our choices and quickly start dividing teams. Perhaps we also live in fear of what others believe about us.

Walk well, live loved and confidently, knowing that your children have no one else that knows them as well and loves them as dearly as you ever could. God gave them wonderful you. Don’t render yourself incapable and ineffective, in light of comparing to and in fear of others.

What if we flipped the switch on the shame game that’s taking us off the same team? What if when I saw a decision you were making, whether in real life or the social media world, that I didn’t agree with for my own family — I either kept to myself and quietly walked away or even praised you for making a decision that best fit your tribe?

What if we gave ourselves a pat on the back every once in a while knowing there are some areas we are really rocking in this parenting world? Can you imagine it? Parents — moms — calling out the good we see and uplifting each other. With encouragement from others, don’t you think our confidence as parents would soar and we wouldn’t have the need to compare?

I do think there is a proper time and place where we do need to speak into one another’s lives about genuine concerns. I just believe that you had better have earned the trust and right to be heard, and have it coming from a heart of deep love. I also believe we should walk with the humility that can receive these critiques as well.

What it comes down to is to be confident in what you decide to do for your family and kids. Drop the “mom-parisons.” We say in our home, “Never compare. Someone always loses.” And often, it’s the one doing the comparing.

You do you. And let me do me. And we will all go for the #parentingwin on the same team.

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