Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mummy Jealousy

We mother's have a lot in common to bond over and support each other through. Like sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, or losing a huge amount of hair a couple months after birth. I'd like to think that most of the time our lives have parallels and things that make us say - "Hey, I understand that about you because I've gone through it too." 


But then there's this jealousy issue amongst mothers, of comparing each other. It just takes up so much energy. It's useless and empty, and usually so petty. It makes us feel negative about ourselves and the other mum involved. It changes our attitude toward them, and we will probably treat them differently because of the filter we now see them through.

I'm not talking about just playfully and casually saying to my friend *Lynnette how jealous I am that her husband cooks dinner for her the family all the time. Because deep down it doesn't really affect me one way or the other. I'm talking about the stuff that makes you so jealous that your own heart hurts. I know the reality is that Lynnette is a hardworking mum with 3 boys to look after. She has part time work on the side, and God knows what else. Since telling Lynnette about this post she has informed me that her husband in fact slept through last night while she was up with one of their sick kids.

My friend Vicki* told me about how a friend who constantly competed with her. Down to admitting she tried to get pregnant after Vicki had announced she was. That jealousy ended their friendship. But Vicki has her own jealousy issues. She confided in me that she gets jealous when she hears other mums complaining about their own mother's interfering in their parenting. She lost her mum 6 weeks before she fell pregnant with her first, and will never know what it's like to have her mum involved in her life as a grandparent.


My friend Lynnette* has had two miscarriages, and lost her 7 month pregnancy in a car accident. She struggled with jealousy when she had to go back to her mother's group and listen to the women complain about being pregnant. It was all too much to hear them wishing their pregnancy were over already. But she acknowledges now that she was in a pretty bad place ( and who wouldn't be), not necessarily that those women were wrong in their every-day pregnancy complaints, (although we can agree they certainly should have had some tact).

Do we have more grace for a mum who's jealousy stems from losses like these? Sure, we do. This isn't petty. But it still doesn't take away from the fact that the other women's mothers are a pain in their ass, or that pregnancy does have it's fair share of shitty issues to contend with.

Admittedly, I have had pangs of jealousy when I've heard other women telling me how they get a break because their mum helped them out with their newborn. I don't feel animosity towards them at all. I have wondered if my own post natal depression may have been prevented by having my mum come over and help me out with my baby. (She's only come over once in 13 years). But that's definitely all about my own pain and hurt, and probably some childhood abandonment issues too. Check yourself, Jess. I do.

I've struggled with friends comparing their weight to mine. I just don't understand it. Bodies are so personal and individual. Their weight issues have zero to do with me. I have my own to worry about. Am I right, bitches? That's the kind of mummy jealousy I have very little time for.

So is that it? Do we have jealousy because we think we really know what someone's life is like behind closed doors. Because the reality seems to be we don't.
  • The mum who looks like she has it all together could be suffering from OCD and anxiety. She spends all day worrying about being enough for her husband. She spends all day making everything perfect because she's afraid of messing up.
  • The mum who just got the brand new BMW SUV? Well, she could be more terrible at managing her finances and has just gotten herself into even bigger debt than she had before.
  • The mum who has breastfeeding nailed and looks like she's slept every night since the baby was born could be ...well, she might just be nailing motherhood. That's just her luck. Can't help you there. 
We need to really try hard to bring the focus back to what's going on inside us. What makes you wish you had some other mum's life, or money, or handbag. Isn't the first step to dealing with jealousy identifying it in our own lives?

Then the second step must be to try and stop comparing ourselves to other mums. But that's easier said than done. Right?! Why don't we make an effort today to flip it and reverse it? Next time you feel that jealous pang try and think something positive about that other mother. Nothing is being gained in our own lives by carrying around all this mummy jealousy.

Why not be a mother lover? 

*names have been changed to protect my lovely mummy friends

32 comments:

  1. There is an element of competition among some mums that I just don't get. Whenever I sense anyone trying to compete with me over things like that- honestly, I find myself withdrawing from the friendship. I just don't have the energy or desire to "win" at the mummy wars. I'd rather friendships where we support one another instead.

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  2. I've become aware of someone that feels I'm in competition with them. It couldn't be more further from the truth but I'm not sure how to approach them or their actions. It's been doing my head in since it was pointed out and almost feel like they are trying to second guess my every blogging move to the point of sabotage which seems rather dramatic and almost like I'm back in high school but the blog is my business/career now so I'm going to remain professional and distance myself and hope they move on quickly.

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  3. I am so super lucky in that I have a wonderful group of friends where this kind of competition or jealousy isn't an issue. There are still days when I compare myself to other Mums, but for the most part I just try to run my own race and do the best that I can. It's a little harder in this social media age sometimes, only because it's so easy for people to curate their lives and show only the perfect parts, and I guess it's why I'm drawn to bloggers who like to keep it real and don't sugar coat everything. Those are my kind of people!.
    I think I'll always have the odd moment or two when I feel jealous of those Mums who seem to have it all together, but that says way more than it does about me, and I always try to give myself a swift mental uppercut when I catch it happening!
    Great post lovely xx

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  4. I think there's just much negativity around, period. Maybe one of the down sides of social media is that we know too much about each others lives. It pays to go all turtle-like and be insular sometimes. Of course the flip side of that is the possibility of great support ftom other mamas, and there's a lot of that about too, I have found it invaluable, and can't imagine how lonely and isolated I would have felt without it. Great piece :)
    Dani @ sand has no home

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  5. Jealousy is a really hard one and I think if we are all honest we've felt it. Lately I've been struggling to know how to deal with a friend who's been trying to conceive again for over two years and in the meantime I've conceived easily and had a second child. I hate to throw it in her face but I know as a friend she wants to know how we're getting on. It's so hard and there's no way I'd begrudge if she cut me off from envy or grief. But she is such a good friend.

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  6. They always say that comparison is a killer ( of happiness, optimism, creativity etc etc) and jealousy is just another way of saying you're comparing yourself to someone else. Nothing good ever comes out of it!

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  7. I don't think we will ever stop comparing ourselves, its just natural to do that I think, but when it turns into jealousy something has gone wrong. I don't think there is a need to be jealous of anyone else, and if we are I think it is more on ourselves than anyone else. And like you said, we never know the full story behind other people anyway.

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  8. I used to always get jealous of people falling pregnant because it took me so many years to fall pregnant. It then affected my pregnancy as I didn't post about it as much as I wanted to for fear of hurting other people {in a way I felt like I wasn't allowed to be pregnant}. I also get the jealousy about others having mums in their lives to help. My mum just doesn't seem to care. She was meant to look after bub for me last week when I had surgery and cancelled 2hrs before I was due to leave for the hospital! Anyway enough about me. I honestly don't know how we can stop being jealous of others, especially when social media seems to fuel the fire.

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  9. Natalie @ Our Parallel ConnectMay 19, 2015 at 8:13 PM

    OMG what is with that video.. funny and awkward at the same time.. lol

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  10. I had a friend who lost a friend when she got pregnant. It was a total 'accident' but her friend said she did it to spite her. She was a nice girl, but so insecure.
    Great post Jess. Let's just give each other a break.

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  11. They say comparison is the thief of joy. As I've had more children and been around other mums I have learned not to judge or compare. It doesn't do me any good.

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  12. I must be arrogant as all fuck but I don't get jealous of other mums. It's not like I think I'm the shit or anything, but I can't remember ever looking at another mum and wishing I had what she had. Actually, I lie. I look at Zoe Foster and wish I had Hamish Blake. LOL.

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  13. So true Jess. Over time, and three kids later, I have learned to judge less and not get jealous of other mums. You never know what kind of battles others are facing behind the scenes.

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  14. @Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect Yeah, it really has nothing to do with my topic haha. I just love it. It's the sequel to Dick in a Box. I'm a big fan of all the Lonely Island videos. So funny.

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  15. Mel, that's how I started off this post too, would you believe. I thought "I just don't get mummy jealousy, not one bit." I wrote that in my opener. But after hours of writing and editing, and speaking to my friends I quickly saw that I'd had moments of it too. I still do not understand some of the jealousy I've come up against though. What I'm saying is that you should really look a little deeper into yourself. HAHAHA! Just kidding. I fallow Zoe on instagram and I freaking love her. You would be a perfect sister wife to her, and a lovely additional wife to Hamish. You know that, right.

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  16. So true. It's definitely a thief in any capacity @The Plumbette

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  17. Reading this made me realise that I don't invest in feeling jealous. That's one less emotion to have to deal with and I would prefer to make my life less complicated. Everyone has their lucky little things but they also have their challenges and rarely are they noted when people feel jealous about another's good parts.

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  18. Robyna@theMummyandtheMinxMay 22, 2015 at 1:47 PM

    I get a bit jealous of those mothers who seem to be able to keep a beautifully tidy home whilst looking after their kids. But that's more about me wanting something without actually putting in the effort :)

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  19. Definitely. Nothing good comes from comparison or judgement. Every situation is different and all we can do is deal with what we've got. x

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  20. I know it's so hard with social media. We are so bombarded by the fantastic and great photos of people's lives on social media. Who wants to post the ugly? @Toni But I guess it starts with ourselves doing the opposite of what we feel or catching ourselves being jealous and asking what the deeper issue is.
    Sucks to hear about your mum. Hope your surgery went well. That's so stressful as it is, let alone trying to find a babysitter at the last second.
    The pregnancy one is a big issue now that we have FB. My close friend in Canada barely posts new baby pictures for fear of offending someone, but I miss out on seeing her baby grow up as a result. That makes me sad.

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  21. Yeah, there's always a deeper story. Thanks @Malinda

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  22. Comparison is a joy killer. It's great to hear what all these bloggers think about it because I know it can run deep in the blogging community too. @Michelle@myslowlivingadventure

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  23. Emily, that is such a tough one. I think it's one lot's of us face with friends or family. Pregnancy or conception is one of the biggest things women use against each other, I've found. Most of the time women don't even realise they are letting it get in the way. It does separate close friends. I feel for you too.

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  24. @Dani Netherclift Yeah, we know too much about each other. But on the flip side sometimes I wonder how real the version is that we see? In the end we still need each other, like you said, we get support from other mamas too!

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  25. @Kylie Purtell, A Study in Cont SAME!!! I love the real, honest bloggers! It's so much easy to relate to them than the ones with staged photographs ...lounging around on perfect doona clouds with their perfectly groomed kids. haha. I do love a perfectly staged photo though, but a balance is nice too, just to keep it real.

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  26. @Mystery Case Way to be the bigger person. I've experienced cruelty by other women and not known it was from jealousy until my husband pointed it out. I just kept saying I don't know how they can be so mean, but as soon as he made that point everything clicked. I saw it all from that light, and it made me feel sorry for the women. It's hard for me to conceive someone could be jealous of little ol'me.

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  27. @HandbagMafia Oh my gosh, me too! I totally withdraw. It makes me sick to my stomach because I get really sad. I don't want a friend to see me any differently, and having them look at me through a jealous filter just changes the relationship! YUCK!

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  28. @EssentiallyJess That's soooo horrible. Wish it was the first time I'd heard a story like that. Too bad there are many of these stories. Lot's of jealousy stems from insecurity, doesn't it ...

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  29. Isn't it amazing when someone opens up to you and just blows your mind! Like you would never have known they struggled at all until they told you. It's like a relationship a-ha moment.

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  30. @Vicki @ Knocked Up & Abroad You sound like an easy person to be friend's with. It's definitely less complicated when jealousy doesn't creep in. Amen to that!

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  31. I know what you mean. Where do they find the time right? One day they will confess their OCD or that they have a cleaner to you and you will understand why it's so clean. haha! Maybe their kids don't play with toys as much because of the fear of making a mess? Who knows. All we can do is focus on our homes and making sure things are clean or as happy as they need to be for our families, right :) @Robyna@theMummyandtheMinx

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