Compared to You or Me? | Life Love and Hiccups: Compared to You or Me?
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Thursday 6 March 2014

Compared to You or Me?

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Anyone who has ever suffered from a lack of a confidence will relate to this, which is probably pretty much most of us at some stage or another - I'm talking about comparisons. You know comparing yourself to someone else and then feeling like crap.

God knows I am so good at this and find myself comparing to someone or other on most days.

For example...

Wow her kids are quietly walking beside her whilst she does her shopping, meanwhile mine are still back in the fruit and veg section having a punch up. She must be a better parent than me cause clearly I suck at this.

Oh really? Her kids have perfect rubbish free school lunches with cute little containers that match the lunchbox and healthy snacks? Well mine have a jam sandwich wrapped in baking paper today, with a pack of chips and some fruit chucked into a ratty old lunchbox that is covered in skulls and crossbones. Her children will grow up to be productive members of society whilst obviously I'm just hanging over here raising little Antichrists.

I don't just save my comparisons for the parenting arena. Nope I'm guilty of comparing in so many different parts of my life.

He wrote his book and had it published all within a year WHILST running a successful business and siring 12 kids (the 12 kids might be a slight exaggeration). I have a notebook full scribbled notes and 6 months later I still can't decide on the name, occupation and sexual preference of a completely miscellaneous character who dies in chapter 1. Therefore he will win a Pulitzer prize and I'll end up using my notes for fire fodder when we are bankrupt and can't afford to pay the gas bill.

Melodramatic enough? Oh wait I can do better...

She always looks so pristine and stylish wherever she goes, even with all of her kids in tow. Where as here I am, lucky to make it out the door without coffee spilt down my top and Vegemite smeared on my pants. Clearly she is going to live a life of wealth and wonder and I'm gonna spend my retirement on park benches fighting the birds for crumbs.

You may laugh but these are only slightly embellished real life comparisons I've made along the line.

I'm pretty sure if you ever went to Mother's group or Playgroup when your kids were babes, that you would of come across the mum who's child was walking at 3 months, asking, sorry begging for artichokes and spinach for lunch at 6 months and was granted an academic scholarship into Uni by One.

I had one of those Mum's in my group and I couldn't help but feel defeated as I compared their Mensa candidate to my own sweet child who was busy licking the old chewing gum on the chair leg and proudly pulling out a handful of poo from his nappy.

I'm almost ashamed to admit this but - once I was so disillusioned by the fact that my friend's baby who was a week younger than my son, was rolling over for tummy time and yet mine was all "yeah thanks but I'm fine just lying here and sucking on my hands and feet". So I went home after a coffee with her determined to teach my baby to roll over. I put him on the bed and kept rolling him back and forth hoping he'd get the gist of it, but instead both he and I got the shock of our lives when I accidentally rolled him too hard and he rolled right off the bed.

I very nearly turned myself into DOCs that day.

Throughout my adult life I admit that I have looked on and wondered -Why did she get the job? How come she's so successful? How did they learn to be such good parents? How does she know how to make Coq au vin from scratch? And the constant comparison of myself to others does nothing but undermine my confidence.

So I'm thinking if comparison is this tough to manage as an adult, imagine how tough it is on our kids?

I hear it frequently from my own boys.

Why is my brother better at skateboarding than than me? How come he gets better marks? Has more friends? Goes to more parties?.... What's wrong with me? Why aren't I good at anything?

Once again comparison reaches in and rips my heart out, chucks it on the floor and stomps all over it.

I came across this picture yesterday when I was googling how to build a tee pee.. I have no idea how I got so sidetracked that I came upon this, but I'm glad I did because it pretty much gave me the answers I needed to deal with the comparison issue.

All kids are gifted, in fact all grown ups are too. Sometimes it takes longer for some of us to unwrap the gift and sometimes we don't even know we have it until we stumble upon it by accident.

But aren't the best gifts always the unexpected ones?

To my sons I will now say - "Yeah yeah so he might be really good at doing kick flips and Ollie's but you can shoot that spitball further than anyone I know. And yep he might kick more goals than you, but his soccer boots don't match his new hair do and you look so much better in the uniform than him.... I'm kidding I'm Kidding!!

I will however encourage my boys to stop comparing themselves to others and instead start identifying the things that they can do that make them the awesome individual that they are.

And as for myself, well yeah OK that mum at school might be some sort of legendary lunchbox ninja but I make a pretty awesome Jam sandwich.

Oh and to the lovely lady who is always so immaculately dressed and coiffed - well yes you look nice, very nice actually. But if we were to ever be stranded on a deserted island together, I could live off my food stained clothes and probably survive for at least a couple of days longer than you.... bet you're wishing you had Vegemite on your pants now huh huh??!!

The moral of the story - because yes this is an epic tale and therefore needs some kind of point or virtous moral - Is that it's time to stop looking at what everyone else is doing or achieving and focus more on how awesome we actually are ourselves.

Do you find yourself comparing?
What are you awesome at?