The Thief of Joy

The Thief of Joy
My Recent Column from Gloucestershire Live
I need to start  by fessing up to the title of this column being plagiarised from the Unmumsy Mum, Sarah Turner who I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of week’s back at an event in Rugby. But as soon as I heard it I was completely taken by the accuracy of the statement and how relevant a mantra it is for many mums.
If I look closely at the times during my motherhood journey when I’ve felt the lowest or struggled the most I can clearly now see that I was measuring myself against my friends, my family, the person I thought I should be. That comparison that I was forever making was, more often than not, unrealistic. That woman that I thought had everything… better hair, clearer skin, a nicer car, a cleaner house, bilingual children who ate organic hummus was probably really busy comparing herself to others too. Maybe she was even comparing herself to me and thinking that she was failing in some aspect of her ‘performance’ as a woman.
The thing is we are all doing our very best. Some of us paddling furiously under water like a swan whilst gliding along elegantly across the surface. Some of us paddling furiously and finding the current a bit hard to manage up top too. But we’re all trying.
If you’re one of the mums managing to glide look around your pond and go see where the splashes are and see if you can lend a hand. Reassuring your friends that they are doing a great job can make a huge difference to them. Tell them to just spend a moment checking out whether their children are happy, healthy and safe and if they are then they are doing a brilliant job. Everything else is just background noise and should be relevant only when you have the time, headspace and energy to let it be heard.
If your happiness is being negatively affected by your need to compare here’s a few top tips for getting back on top again.
1. Get out and spend some real time with real friends face to face. Laugh, chat, smile and cry if you need to but good friends will be the ones that lift your spirits. Remember they are friends with you because you’re you, not because you’re shorter, thinner, fatter, spottier, less organised or a better/worse mother than someone you all know. You are what makes you unique.
2. Have a social media detox and/or cleanse. Follow beautiful accounts that inspire you or show you images that make your heart soar or make you smile. If you are following an account that makes you feel bad about yourself – just click the unfollow button. It’s as simple as that.
3. Grab a notebook and write a list of the reasons your family love you. Don’t stop until you literally can’t think of another reason. The fact that you make a banging beans on toast is a reason – write it down.  Your freckly right ear is a reason. Write it down.
In summary, don’t compare, as comparison is the thief of joy and which mother doesn’t want a bit of joy in their lives.
CMHQ x
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