Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Nowhere is this MORE applicable than in the early years of parenting.
Just don’t look
The internet is full of performative parenting. Blog after blog, site after site. Do it this way, do it that way, drink all the wine, drink none of the wine. Your head’s in a spin trying to keep up with these mothering reality stars when it’s taking all you’ve got to stop from collapsing in tears.
Here’s the thing, though. None of them are you. None of those children are YOUR child. Your experience is completely new and completely individual. Comparing yourself to the milestones and (heavily filtered) achievements of others is a self-esteem death wish.
You cannot do it all
You just can’t. You may have been able to do it all in your previous, non-baby life but now your world has completely shifted on its axis. You can’t do all of the things – so accept it and stop tying yourself into knots.
Pick your battles. Is it more important to you to snatch a nap quickly while the baby sleeps or to frenetically clean your kitchen? If a tidy kitchen will make you HAPPY, then do it. If it’ll stress you out and your heart belongs to the couch, do that instead. A key piece of advice for keeping your sanity in the early years of parenting is to JUST DO YOU, lady.
Pick and choose
Speaking of picking your battles, you’re going to get ALL MANNER of advice flung at you.
A cool thing to do is to tune it out, just slightly. Everyone giving you advice is (usually) doing it from a place of kindness but, at the same time, they’re trying to reassure THEMSELVES that what THEY DID was the right thing to do.
Let them prattle on about mixed feeding or cloth diapers or tummy time – just put a broom in their hand while they do it. They can best apply that helpful energy to actually BEING helpful.
The early years of parenting – it’s a battleground
Accept that things are not the same and that the early years of parenting are hard. Really hard. However you do things, however you get through, as long as you stay true to your core values then you’re doing the right thing.
And stay away from parenting blogs! (Except this one, obviously!)
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