By Claire McEnery 
Welcome to The Summer Survival Series 
Welcome back to the Summer Survival Series. This week I am talking about comparison. 
We have all been an expert at comparing ourselves to someone else at some point; our friends, other Mum's, our own Mum's, that lady in the street whose children are looking perfect and even the lady we follow on social media but don't know anything about.  
Ladies, this needs to stop!  
As Mums, we have a habit of comparing all the time, right from day one; your friend breast fed but you're using a bottle, your niece walked at nine months but your son didn't walk until fifteen months, the lady down the road with three children has taken them out every day and you're struggling to get out of the door with one. The comparison is real but it shouldn't be!  
The only person you should ever measure yourself against is YOU! We cannot begin to accurately measure our parenting skills, our happiness, our success or anything else against anybody else, it is impossible.  
Lets first consider the lady you're watching from down the road. You have seen her pile her kids into the car every day this week, all looking perfectly clean and beautifully dressed. They're off to the farm today, yesterday was soft play and the day before was a picnic in the park with friends. She's living the dream right? Is she though? You're watching this lady from afar, you have no idea what her reasons are for getting out of the house every single day. It could be because she is filled with Mum guilt and feels like she absolutely has to do this. it could be that she is struggling with depression and knows that she is better when she is busy. She could be on annual leave and this is the only week she can do something with her children. Or she may just be a very active lady who lives for the holidays and is having the time of her life. It could also be a million other reasons but you get the gist. What I'm saying is, we cannot compare our whole selves to one surface part of someone else.  
You may be thinking, I only compare to people I know and I know that they're living the dream. Honey, you do not know that.  
You may be watching a friend on their instagram stories, you may not have had a conversation with them in person recently. You see their smiles in their stories, their child free night out, their breakfast in bed on a Sunday and the fact their healthy eating is going perfectly. Can you see their inner emotions? Can you see the argument that led to that breakfast in bed? Can you see the heartache from a tradegy that they're not willing to share publically?  
Social media is a highlight reel. We are all guilty of posting our best bits and leaving out the not so great bits. We all use a door to take a photo of our children because the rest of the room is not photo worthy. We all prime our children for a photo sometimes. Some of us are improving at showing a little bit of reality in our feeds and there are some amazing real life bloggers and influencers out there. However, social media is still a highlight reel so don't you forget that.  
So, what does this comparison do? You are allowing someone else to control your feelings and actions. They don't even know that they hold that power but the power is strong. You are allowing yourself to take your own opportunity for happiness, for a calm day, for a feeling of content and you're throwing it away by focussing on someone else. You are wasting time in your own life by over analysing yourself against someone else. If you are regularly doing this, you need to look at you.  
It is not easy to focus purely on yourself, your own family and your own happiness. If you're not currently doing this it will take practise and a change in habits. 
This week, I would simply like you to look out for the times when you're comparing yourself rather than focussing on you. Make a note of these instances if it helps. Next week, I'll be looking at how we can feel more confident with ourselves. The more you recognise about yourself, the more can be confident in your own actions. 
Do you need more help with this? Book a call with me. 
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