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Comparison is the thief of joy: my back-to-school triggers

Comparison is the thief of joy: my back-to-school triggers

Comparison is the thief of Joy, -Theodore Roosevelt

One of my favorite quotes has come into play for me big time. Here we go…

Back-to-school season is in full swing. I don’t know about you but towards the end of the summer I was counting down the days for school to start and now that we’re all settled in it’s so nice to have somewhat of a routine again. I can feel fall in the air and I love this time of year.

My boys started at a new school this year, one they’ll hopefully be at for the next 6 years until Middle School. So with any new school comes new territory, new community, new routines, new friends for the boys and hopefully for us too! My husband and I have always looked forward to this aspect of the boys finally being in school!

However I noticed something kind of creep up for me these first two weeks during drop-off and pick-up. I was starting to feel uncomfortable during these times and even finding myself not looking forward to them at all.

What was wrong with me?

I caught myself observing all the other moms dropping their kids off…and comparing myself to them.

Look how cute she is…

Look how thin she is…

Oh look at her, she must work out seven days a week…

Wow, she’s got it ALL together…

And, as triggers usually do, I started to feel bad about myself.

motherhoodI could be cuter…

I should be thinner…

Maybe I should work out more…

Maybe if I had my act together more I could do/be such and such…

and so on and so on…

And it started to eat away at me.

As I was discussing this with my own coach, she pointed out that this vulnerability in what I was sharing with her was beautiful.


How could something I’m certainly not proud of feeling be beautiful?

Because it makes me real.

It reminds me that I am just like you, and you are just like me.

When triggers come up for us,  (And they will! Even if it’s stuff you’ve worked really hard on! That’s why they’re called triggers! ) whether it’s comparing yourself to other moms (or dads) on the playground or wherever it shows up in your life, you can choose to let them eat away at you, or you can choose to treat them as sort of a divine assignment.

What does that mean?

You say, OK Life (God/Universe/Spirit, etc.)… this is coming up for me, what can I learn from it and how can I use it to evolve and grow as opposed to sink into self-deprecation and unhappiness?

So what did I do?

A few things:

  • I acknowledged that this is 100% my EGO in control here, not my true self, and I forgave myself for having these thoughts as well as for judging them!
  • I spent a few minutes loving on myself, reminding myself of several great and admirable aspects about ME.  (Often a challenge, but we ALL can and should be doing it every damn day! )
  • I sent loving thoughts to these women! These fellow Mamas! Heaven only knows what they are thinking, feeling or going through as well! If I can think of them with LOVE (even if I’ve never spoken to them), then my heart immediately softens, the whole situation seems waaaay less serious and I realize, hey we’re all in this together, just doing our best to get through drop-off, motherhood, LIFE!

Comparison truly is the thief of Joy. It’s human nature indeed, but it does NOT have to rule the show for you.

So let me hear from you…

What are your triggers?

Do you see comparison ‘stealing your joy’ in any areas of your life?

Do this help soften your heart towards yourself and others a little bit? I sure hope so.

Because you are in fact beautiful and perfect and exactly where you need to be in your life right this very minute.

Katie is a Nurse Practitioner, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Mind/Body Health Coach and blogger at Green Plate Kate. A Denver native and mom of twin boys she is passionate about helping women attain what she considers the trifecta: feeling Spiritual, Sexy and Sane in order to life their BEST life possible! Find her on Facebook:

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. Can I just say amen to this? I struggle so much comparing myself to others and this was a good reminder to be more grateful and happy fo rothers.

  2. Love, love, love.

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