We sat around the table after storytime was over. The conversation began with one simple question. Followed by another. Somewhere along the way, the tone of the discussion changed.
The conversation began to shift further away from helpful and informative, into a space of bragging and comparison.
Having been in similar situations before, I sat there listening, trying to filter through what was being shared for something valuable that I might want to incorporate into my own parenting style. But the young mother across from me looked increasingly defeated.
I stayed around after the conversation ended in an attempt to talk with her alone.
She told me that she didn’t think she could ever get it right, and struggles to feel like she’s enough when these types of conversations happen.
I assured her that she only needed to focus on doing her personal best as a mother, and that it’s okay to remove herself from conversations that make her think otherwise.
Far too often, we remain present in conversations that make us question our own effort and worth. And because there’s no real measuring stick for the impact we’re having on the lives of our children, focusing on what matters most to you and your family is your best option.
If you also struggle with how to handle comparative parenting conversations, here are a few reminders to help you get through them.
- Remember who you are
You and your children are unique individuals, and come together to make an equally unique collective. So when you find what works for you, go with it, without any guilt.
- Understand what you’re really looking for when you join the conversation
Are you looking for reassurance? Do you want to build relationships with other moms? Do you actually want product or parenting advice?
Getting clear on your own intentions will help you decide if the conversation is right for you, or when it’s time to leave.
- Give yourself some grace
Know that you’re currently doing your best and resist the urge to compare yourself with anyone. Remain open to options that will enhance your parenting style and relationship with your children, while allowing all other suggestions to pass you by. This will support your willingness to learn and grow and minimize feelings of defeat.
- Build your confidence muscles
Becoming comfortable and confident with the decisions you make for you and your children will help you navigate most of your parenting conversations with greater ease. Because a constant fear of being judged for your parenting choices will leave you feeling anxious and exhausted.
Simply start by viewing who you are, and how you parent, as a gift that you and your children get to experience together. Use external dialogue, and perspectives, to enhance your parenting relationship, and learn to let go of everything else.
Have you ever dealt with comparative parenting conversations? How’d you handle it? Let us know in the comments.