Am I Doing Enough with my Family?

I’ve fallen victim to keeping up with the Joneses. 

This spring, I had the pleasure of becoming Facebook friends with a whole slew of awesome new moms. Until now, I had been pretty okay with the fact that, as a working mom, my weekends are often spent sitting around in yoga pants relaxing or trying to catch up on the seemingly endless housework. I’d never really compared myself to other moms or my family to other families until this summer. Now that I have this virtual community that resides in my actual community, I have started to question myself. And it’s not a fun feeling.

Social media has shown me pictures of family adventures to local parks and stories of camping trips with other families and friends. Heck, many of these moms even make cleaning, grocery shopping, and struggling with the often mundane tasks of mom life look great.

I’ve convinced myself that I’m a failure.

Not just this summer, but all the summers past. Why didn’t I take my kids to the park more often or the zoo or the fun festivals or have regularly scheduled game nights or take them camping with friends or have people over for a bonfie or (insert whatever fun activity I never gave my kids the opportunity of doing)?  I’m sad to say, I fell into this sort of self-guilt depression that is completely new to me and I don’t like it one bit.

I’ve had to reflect on what is causing these feelings. I’ve read articles of other moms feeling this way and heard conversations from other friends who have often felt this way. I’ve read books and watched television shows with the theme of moms trying to keep up with others. But never really felt this struggle on my own. I guess this is the curse of social media. Of course I know that all of these others I’m comparing myself to don’t live these lives of sunshine and roses. I’m sure they struggle with stuff, too. And I know that what is shared in the interwebs is usually the best of the best. Perhaps it was easier to handle when my network wasn’t so close to home, I’m not sure.

Here is what my reflection has taught me: I am raising two happy, healthy, well-rounded kids. We’ve given them lots of experiences, though some may not be as extravagant or as frequent as what I see on my Facebook or Instagram feed. I’ve learned that it is not a contest. Not everything is a fit for every family. My kids are not missing out if they don’t do these things, and there are plenty things we do as a family that they will remember for a lifetime.

So to the moms out there who have felt the way I’ve felt this summer, here is my advice: We simply can’t compare ourselves to others. It will tear us apart. Jealously is vicious and unproductive. What we can do is learn from each other. Cheer each other on and be happy that these families are enjoying their time together in their own unique ways even if it’s not the way we do things. Don’t judge them and most importantly, stop judging ourselves. We are awesome moms and we live our lives in the best way we can. That is the most important thing of all.

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