I love Beyoncé. While not a card-carrying member of the Hive, I admire her grit, her grace, her integrity, her groundbreaking vision in her craft.
Recently, she exploded the Internets (again) when she and her husband, Jay-Z, dropped a surprise album last weekend, Everything is Love. It’s another example of her brilliant content creation that raises and redefines the bar — every time. And she is doing it everywhere — filming a stunning, stark video with piercing juxtaposition in Paris’ Louvre; making history on stage at Coachella; being a mother to 3 tiny humans at home (one of whom still requires her to hold the juice boxes because, #teammotherhood).
Some moms just seem to do it all. And do it all well.
They’re just a few reasons that make Bey look superhuman… or, at least, like the shape-shifting supermom who seems to be, indeed, “doing it all.” It can leave the rest of us thinking “okay, I’ve cleaned up the kitchen twice, got my son to preschool on time-ish, finished the Amazon Pantry order, and put on my workout clothes. Meanwhile, Beyoncé is out there creating a new universe. Again.”
And, of course, it doesn’t have to be about her. It could be about Dutchess Kate, or any queen that you like; any Insta-perfect person, any always-seems-to-have-it-totally-together-at-the-playground mom that comes to mind.
You see them and think “Why am I such a hot mess? And what am I missing?”
Or maybe it’s…
- Her life is so perfect.
- I need to get my sh*t together.
- How. does. she. do. it?
- I mean, is she wearing… lipstick?
- Well if I had this/that/the other, I could do that, too.
- I bet she doesn’t have to deal with ________ like I do.
I get it. I feel it, too, sometimes. It’s normal. But when taken too far, it’s a self-care trap — and you do not have to fall into it.
You do not have to live with thoughts that decrease your self-worth. You do not have to go there. And if you do, you can come back to center.
Compare-and-despair syndrome is real. Perfect mothers are not.
We’re part of a fortunate club that, unfortunately, is too-often filled with judgment and unsolicited advice. And images of angelic, perfectly-manicured supermoms with perfectly-sleeping kids who happily eat all the veggies and never get their white capsule wardrobe dirty.
But you can cut compare-and-despair off. You can stop the spiral. It’s a choice. It’s a skill. Practicing it can save you hours (days! years!!) of self-loathing. And the truth is this: no matter how much you think you know about someone, you don’t know everything. Beyoncé is also just one of many celebrity mamas — Serena Williams, Chrissy Tiegen, and others — to come out vocally about how hard motherhood is. Even with personal chefs and nannies and all the resources.
Instead of compare-and-despair, try more self-care. And start seeing the moments of your life that you miss when you’re busy watching everyone else.
Notice your next painful thought about your self. Hear, and hold, it. Drop the judgment — any judgment! — about it. Ask “What would Beyoncé do?” Kidding. Unless it helps, then, okay. Do your thing. Then ask “Does that thought make me expand or contract?” (You could also ask if it feels good or bad, if it helps or hurts, makes you go high or low, helps you feel free or trapped, you get the picture.) Choose expansion. Choose good. Choose help. Choose high. Choose free. Rinse and repeat, every time you have another relevant, painful thought.
If it’s hard to do this on your own, you can rely on one constant reminder: your children. They don’t care about any other mother. You are the best in their world, no contest.
Everything IS love.