I waste a lot of my mental time and energy comparing myself to other moms. This frequently happens at the YMCA, but it can be just about anywhere I go. I will come out of a class or in from a run looking like my face has been replaced by a giant beet and I inherited my hair from Grandma Medusa and I will see a tall, thin, graceful mom herding her children toward the car. She is slightly sweaty, but really, on her it looks good.
A lot of the super-fit moms are in the running club. This is why the running club intimidates me. They say things like, “I’m going to do 8 miles on Thursday.” Then they jog off in their coordinating visors and running skirts. They also bond and chat while they run. I am capable of making one noise while running and it is a sound that, if you heard it coming from your dog, you would go ahead and have the poor thing put down.
I will later see these same moms at PTA and church and the grocery store and I will feel bad that they have long, flowing hair while I am still growing mine out from the decision I made two years ago to have 1-inch-long hair with pink and purple highlights. I’m not sure what I was thinking.
They dress well. They use “accessories.” They seem to remember to put on makeup when they leave the house. Even the running club moms. I talked with one mom today who had on eyeliner under her visor. How did she get that to stay on? My actual skin was melting off of my face because it is August and this is Georgia. Turns out her kid sits across the table from my kid in the first grade so I am going to have to continue to feel inadequate in her presence.
I’m trying to overcome this problem. I recognize that my constant comparing myself to others affects no one but myself. I realize that it dings my self esteem and belittles my efforts at health, fitness, and my general sense of well-being. So I’m going to try. My first step is to actually get to know the people who intimidate me the most.
When my beautiful, size-zero friend Jill had a baby and still had to deal with the fact that her clothes didn’t fit right afterwards, it made me realize that skinny girls feel the same way I do. We are all just trying to figure out how to function as moms and wives and co-workers and volunteers and feel good about ourselves at the same time. I will try to remember this again later today when I am faced with an amazon mother of 3 and her perfectly toned legs. Really. I’m trying.