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How to Keep Jealousy from Ruining Your Friendships
Oh, how easy it is to let jealousy ruin a good friendship. The bottom line is that we need friends, we need other mamas who are in the trenches with us to support us and cheer us on, but it’s so easy to let jealousy and comparison come between us. So when you start feeling a little jealous of your friends, here are a few things to remember.
- You’re Doing Your Best
When you start to feel jealousy rearing its ugly head, remind yourself over and over that you’re both doing your best. You’re doing your best. Your friend is doing her best. You’re all doing your best. But everyone’s best is going to look different. Your friend’s best may include delivering homemade bread to her elderly neighbors and carefully crafting beautiful Halloween costumes for her children. You may have days where your best simply means keeping your children alive. But you have to remember that your friend isn’t doing her best for the sake of making you look bad. She’s simply doing her best. You’re simply doing your best. If your best doesn’t look like hers, that’s okay. Ultimately, your own children will know that you’re doing your best and love you unconditionally because of that, and that’s really all that matters.
- Every Family is Different
Constantly remind yourself that every child is different, every mom is different, and every family is different. What’s best for your friend’s family isn’t necessarily going to be best for your own family. If you find yourself feeling jealous that your BFF’s mom lives in town and helps her out on a weekly basis while your mom is a five hour drive away, remind yourself that your family is different from hers. Your friend may not be able to function without her mom’s help while your mom might make life more difficult for you if she lived nearby. Your friend might have a mini star baseball player on her hands while your family can’t afford to put your son on every local team and send him to tons of baseball camps. Whatever is causing some jealously, remember that your family functions differently and has different needs from the family of your friend. Your lives don’t have to look the same for you to be a good mom and for you to be able to enjoy your friend’s company and camaraderie.
- The Grass Isn’t Always Greener
If you find yourself envying your friend, try to remind yourself that no one’s situation is ever as great as it looks. Every single mom you know has areas where she struggles no matter how great things seem. The friend who always has babies who are fantastic sleepers may also have a husband who isn’t very involved or helpful. The friend with the amazingly supportive husband may also struggle with crippling self-esteem issues. The friend who has such well-behaved kids may also have trouble controlling her temper. The mom who has time to do tons of crafting and baking may totally ignore her children at home. Even the moms who seem so perfect have areas of their lives that aren’t perfect, so instead of being jealous of what your friends seem to have, choose to be thankful for the good things that you have. If you had to spend a day mowing and watering her grass, you may find that you like your grass much better!
- Focus On What You Have in Common
One of the best ways to kill jealousy in your friendships is to focus on the areas where you have things in common. You may be jealous that one friend has a better marriage than yours, but instead of thinking about that, focus on the fact that you both have boys who are equally wild and rambunctious. Maybe the friend who seems to have it all together has the same mother-in-law issues that you have. Maybe your skinny friend who just loses those pregnancy pounds so effortlessly also has a baby who fights sleep as much as yours does. Instead of letting yourself dwell on your friend’s unique blessings, make an effort to dwell on the things that you have in common, the areas where you both struggle, the areas where you’re equally blessed. Remember the reasons why you were drawn to each other in the first place, remember that you’re on the same team, remind yourself how much you really do like her. You’ll find it much harder to be jealous of her if you’re constantly reminding yourself how much you have in common.
Motherhood is tough. Maintaining good friendships is tough. But motherhood is so much easier to navigate when you have good friends to help you through. So instead of letting jealousy and comparison ruin a perfectly good friendship, make the conscious effort to cling to the good things, forgive the bad things, and send jealousy packing when she starts to creep up. You’ll be glad that you held tight to your friends instead of letting a little bit of greener grass separate you!