On Motherhood and Comparison


I’ve been thinking a lot about mothering in the age of social media. There are benefits to having a vast pool of practical advice and opinion available at the quick stroke of the keyboard.

Even though there are helpful elements, I often feel that too much information can be debilitating, especially when it leads to comparison. When my mother was raising my brothers and I in the 80s and 90s she didn’t have sleep-training websites or smart phone apps. She relied on instinct and her pediatrician. She also didn’t worry about creating a Pinterest worthy home.

While researching feeding and sleep schedules, I started to feel pressure. Pressure to magically have Phoenix assimilate into our lives without a fuss. And of course the pressure for him to sleep through the night. What happens when our babies don’t adhere to a certain philosophy? Have we failed? What happens when we don’t meet societal expectations?

My mom nursed me into toddlerhood and I didn’t sleep through the night, in my own bed, until I was five. Eventually, I grew to be a self-sufficient child that had no problems being away from my parents. Maybe moms have aways discussed their babies sleep patterns amongst themselves, but I don’t believe it is the same as we do today.

It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the comparison game. I am reminding myself daily that it’ll be okay. I can read every baby/parenting philosophy book and forum, but ultimately Phoenix is a unique individual. So if you need a reminder…

It’s okay if your baby…

Is not sleeping through the night.

Only lays in their crib when you’re taking a photo.

Sleeps better when held, snuggled in a wrap or a swing.

Nurses to sleep at night.

It’s also okay if you…

Aren’t in your dream job.

Are currently single or feel conflicted in your relationship.  

Lack direction. 

Don’t have the perfect capsule wardrobe. 

Instead of wasting time comparing, I’m going to continue to snuggle Phoenix and look for joy in all aspects of life.

18 thoughts on “On Motherhood and Comparison”

  1. Oh my gosh, so far Mason has only had one good nights sleep in his bassinet. Otherwise I’ve been sleeping with Mason on my chest. He gets so fussy otherwise. But during the day he’s ok sleeping in the bassinet. It’s frustrating but then I have to remind myself he’s only 2 weeks old!
    xo, Laura

    1. We’ve resorted to the rock n’ play, co-sleeping or baby-wearing. I’m realizing Phoenix is a little more high needs and just doesn’t like sleeping flat on his back. They’re only this small for so long though…eventually he’ll want his own space and I’ll miss it!

  2. Love this! I’m not even pregnant and I’m already worried about getting caught up in the comparison game. I try really hard not to in other aspects of my life, but social media has made it really hard to ignore the ways and accomplishments of others. You just have to try your best to “do you” and everything will work out fine!

  3. Well said, my friend! I was just talking about this with a group of mom-friends last night. We are the first generation with SO much pressure on us to get our babies to meet these milestones, but really, they will get there in their own time. Thanks for your thoughtful reflections on this!

    1. I don’t think I thought about it in regards to us being “first generation” but you are so right. It’s helpful to hear how other’s deal with certain issues but every kid/family is different.

  4. Amen! I remember when I was pregnant I read all about sleep and feeding schedules thinking I would just jump right into one and Leighton would just go right along with it. Ha! You are so right- we all turned out alright being raised pre-Internet (and we slept on our tummies!).

  5. Love this! It’s so true! As a nanny, I get to enter into these conversations without having much pressure since I am not the parent, but I absolutely know that if I were the parent, I would be so worried about what other’s thought. Not good.

  6. The thing to remember about social media is that it is so highly edited–which we’ve all heard. But take it one step further. What is it they AREN’T saying? The confusing mess they can’t articulate or speak about with confidence.

  7. Absolutely yes. Jack still doesn’t sleep through the night and I don’t see that changing any time soon. As for comparison, I struggle(d?) so much with this when it came to breastfeeding. He had a lot of issues and it just. didn’t. work. I was so naive and had no idea that was even a possibility, and stopping after only a few months was so frustrating in and of itself. But seeing moms on instagram talk about nursing and share stories just broke my heart and made me feel like a bad mom. BUT I’M NOT. So good to just stop and remember that whatever kind of baby you have, whatever they’re doing or not going, it’s okay.

    1. You are not a bad mom! Breastfeeding is hard work even when it comes “naturally” I really despise the whole breast is best philosophy because it downplays adoptive parents right from the start.

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