Unfair Comparisons

Unfair Comparisons

This mom thing is hard. I know it’s hard for everybody – I know because they all tell me just how challenging it is. Most moms I’ve talked to have commented on how the first kid is the hardest. Awesome.

I know it’s common (because all the other moms say so), but I have really been struggling with not being able to do what I used to be able to do. I know it’s normal and I feel glad that I’m falling under the category of ‘normal,’ but I have been wondering lately if the stressors I feel really are the ‘normal’ kind. I mean, I don’t mean to say that my troubles are worse than someone else’s, I never would say that because I know you don’t have to look like me to feel like me. Am I making sense? I just mean that I walked for 22 years before I was paralyzed and I know everyone has challenges no matter what they look like.

But what I am trying to say is that I just haven’t really been feeling connected to other moms when I’m discussing challenges. When I say it’s hard, they all tell me they know. When I say it’s time-consuming, they all tell me they know. Etc. But the way they say ‘I know’ just leaves me feeling like they maybe don’t.

Then I figured out what it is.

Every mom has a pre-baby and post-baby self. She could do this and that before her little bundle of joy was born and now she can’t. I understand. Other moms understand. And once they get used to the post-baby self, they happily carry on with their lives.

But where I have figured out I am different than other moms is that there are three of me instead of just two. I have a pre-baby self (rolling Meg) and a post-baby self (Baby Meg), just like other moms. But I also have a pre-pre-baby self (walking Meg). There was – once upon a time – a fully-able version of me. I mean, I lived into adulthood (22-year olds are adults, right?) in a normal walking, dancing, skipping, jumping, can-get-stuff-from-the-top-of-the-fridge self.

walking rolling baby Meg

And Baby Meg doesn’t compare herself to Rolling Meg. Nope, I had been feeling so challenged – extra challenged, much more than what other moms were describing – and down on myself because I had kept comparing my new self – Baby Meg – with Walking Meg. I was skipping out on Rolling Meg entirely. “Oh, if only I could walk I could just quickly get in the car and…”

Graph

Graph2

But that totally wasn’t fair. Not at all. And ‘fair’ isn’t a word I use lightly. I needed to cowboy up (ha ha, I love that expression) and at LEAST be like other normal moms and compare my post-baby me, Baby Meg, to my pre-baby me (Rolling meg). And leave pre-pre-baby Meg (Walking Meg) me out of it. She was awesome, I’ll admit 🙂 but so is the post-baby me.

I guess all the versions of me are awesome. And not in a weird, ‘I’m so awesome’ way, but really, there are different things about me I’ve discovered in every version of me. And I’ve learned to love them all. I think there’s things about each one of us that we can only discover through change – be it welcome or not. And I love a good self-discovery 🙂

And I suppose we all need to be careful not to compare different versions of ourselves to each other because whichever one we are at the moment is a good one…even if they don’t score very high on whatever graph we might create…:)

13 comments

  1. Marsha Boam

    Very well said. You have so much insight and I am so thankful that you share it! I enjoy knowing you through the different sites and listening to you speak. My life is better because of you. Love you! Marsha Boam

  2. Jill B

    Intetesting perspective. It’s hard not to think about how different life was before a life changing event (loss of a child, divorce, loss of use of limbs, etc). We have to accept our new normal.

  3. Steph

    Ah Meg. I could never do what you do. Seriously. I have so much respect for you and I know I don’t totally understand, but I can kind of relate. You are seriously so awesome.

  4. Susan Baird

    When my first child was born I cried for nearly 3 months. I had a difficult delivery and a very difficult recovery. I wondered if I could be a good mom. It was painful to move for quite some time. Before motherhood I was free to do what I wanted to do. I was only responsible for myself….and of course, the love of my life…….but he’s pretty good at taking care of himself. All of a sudden I was responsible for another human being. It was scary. Every 3 minutes I would check on her to make sure she was breathing. Worrying so much about her was exhausting. She’s nearly 15 now and I have had 3 more children. It’s still exhausting but I wouldn’t change motherhood for anything. I am so grateful for all the challenges, the ups and the downs and the most rewarding experiences that motherhood has brought to my life. Meg, your daughter is so blessed to have you as a mother. And I know the Lord is giving you all the strength you need to deal with the daily challenges of being a mommy. It shows in your testimony.

  5. Tatyana kakosso

    You are TRULY an inspiration!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your testimony. It has def strengthen my own!

  6. Angelia Westerman

    Meg I think that is what I have learned the most from you on. Is that yes your challenges make it so much harder but you go through it happy and make the very best from your circumstances, and the Lord has blessed you in them. Thank you for your example of enduring to the end when it is truly as difficult as it is for you.

  7. Rona Terburg

    The reason this post is so spot-on-awesome is that we, as women, like to always compare our weaknesses (yep, we all have ’em) to every other woman’s strengths. No matter where WE’RE at, there is always some other woman cuter, skinnier, more ‘crafty’, more clean-freakish, more WHATEVER than we are. There always WILL be. When we compare our weaknesses, shortcomings, or just plain HUMAN-NESS to what we perceive as perfection, we are just setting ourselves up for sadness, depression, guilt, and worst of all, living with a lack of gratitude. We need to cast off the urge to compare ourselves to anyone, do it with humility and gratefulness, refuse to be critical, especially of ourselves, and just be happy in the NOW. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Many years ago, we had a series of speakers come to our (ward) for weekly pep-talks. One week the professionals spoke of depression in women, especially from doing in-house comparisons to other women. (I had thought I was the only one who did that). One woman stood up to comment and I will never forget what she said: “If I still lived in California, I wouldn’t feel at ALL guilty for not doing these ‘Utah things’, i.e. canning, quilting, cooking every meal from scratch, serving in the PTA, being the BEST Room Mother EV-ER, sewing everything my kids wear, or having a spotless home, etc.” Right then & there I decided to give myself a break and let go of the need to compare. I was LIBERATED!!! We are all uniquely what we have the right to be: UNIQUE!!!

  8. Angela

    Meg, you are doing amazing things! Even though having a first child is difficult for everyone is it going to way more difficult for you. I understand why you can’t relate to them. Keep doing your best and loving your sweet little girl. Before you know it she will be the best helper you could ask for (well maybe in another 2 or 3 years) .

  9. Sara

    I’m glad you mention this, I forget to apply the same tolerance to myself as I can more easily size-up for others ~ that is, Plato’s words, “be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a great battle.”
    Coming from several chronicles of different illnesses, I have different parts of my life that are unique to that particular season of health, opportunity, transition, mobility. I’m currently in another transition and it’s pretty scary, (ahem)~ daunting; it’s nothing like any other. For me, attitude is pretty important to know how to move (literally!)
    Popping on audio recordings of General Conference has literally delivered God-sent answers to the solutions I’m needing to apply pronto: Elder Dube’s talk on “Look Ahead and Believe” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/look-ahead-and-believe?lang=eng
    I’m glad you’re writing/sharing and trying your courage in different ways to find a fit~ it’s encouraging to me especially when things are uncomfortable and unknown.
    ~You can do it! 🙂

  10. Nancy Jensen

    I just recently found your site and I want to offer you my support and admiration. I really appreciate this message. I have a number of versions of me and I didn’t realize that I’ve been comparing my current me to former me’s. I have semi-healthy pre-marriage pre-baby me, married & 1st baby me, married & 2nd baby who was born with many heart, lung and GI defects – me. Suddenly I was living at the hospital and doctor’s offices, watching my new baby turn blue, going through procedure after procedure, 5 heart surgeries, suffer 2 strokes, learning to do PT, OT and Speech therapies, and then was told that she would not survive her heart defects and her final heart surgery while I was pregnant with baby # 4 (baby #3 was 2 yrs old, heart-baby was 7 years old and baby #1 was 9).

    For 22 years I was the mom of numerous children while caring for one very ill, developmentally delayed, Special needs, wheelchair bound, oxygen needing little girl who never progressed beyond the level of a 7 year old. For 22 years I was nurse, OT, PT & Speech therapist, CHD (congenital heart defects) specialist, advocate, insurance specialist, medical equipment specialist, boogy-man chaser and the sun, moon and stars to a very emotional, beautiful, perfect, innocent, happy, loving, giving little girl. On 10-4-10 my role was forever changed as she took her last breath to go to a pain-free, boogy-man free, medical procedure-free, anxiety-free world. A world where I won’t be going for quite awhile.

    This much older, post-CHD child me has a number of chronic illnesses which began not long after CHD-baby was born and has progressed throughout the years of child-bearing, oxygen lifting, motorized wheelchair maneuvering, growing child lifting years. This older sickly me is having to find new ways to be helpful to others and realizing that I’ll never be the young healthy pre-CHD child me has been hard. I’ve changed for the better in soooooooooooooo many ways and I’m thankful for each moment I had with my beautiful daughter but now that I have time to focus on the things I couldn’t do during the years I was caring for her, I don’t have the health capable of supporting these desires. Thank you for the reminder that I shouldn’t compare my struggles not only to my former me’s but to others as well. <3

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