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Every mother has experienced it at least once in her life: nagging questions, desire, longing and coveting of her neighbor's, well, everything. Maybe it's a new car, a husband who loves to clean the
house, a friend who has better sex or cooler in-laws.
You're a mom, but you're
still a person, and envy, as ugly as it can be, rears its head in even the most
stable of parental friendships.
So what's going on here. Deep down, are we really awful people?
The answer seems to be "no." In a Yoga Journal article, Pamela Bond writes, "Feelings of envy usually point to an aspect of yourself or a goal that is yet
The small things matter, and they add up to gratitude that can be very big.
Did your best mom friend just reveal she is getting a house in the
mountains or taking the summer to travel in Europe? Is this something you
have always wanted to do but sacrificed that money for kids' back-to-school clothes or birthday party gifts?
You may feel guilty, or practice loads of self-loathing, when confronting these feelings, as if your life has been wasted in the wrong
job, on the wrong parenting choices or even with the wrong partner. It can make you angry
and, even though you don't want to, your anger almost always finds its way
back to the one you are envying.
This inevitable strain jeopardizes even the
strongest bonds. Identifying desire and acknowledging envy is a
start. But how do you turn it around? It helps to know what it is you are
really jealous about and to see how that might lack in your every day. Then, you have to start
working on it.
In the meantime, there is another quick fix.
We've all been there, we've all been jealous and petty and juvenile. You thought you'd outgrow it.
Bond recommends "cultivating generosity." I love
this idea of transforming negative feelings through gratitude. Many out there
are probably saying, "Huh?" In the heat of the moment, when you are hearing
about your neighbors' 10-day trip to the Caribbean (while your kids had fever and
croup for two weeks), the last thing you may feel like saying, "Well
thank goodness the kids got better."
But it's exactly what you should be doing (Ahem, note to self).
Bond's piece, the exact opposite of envy is—you guessed it—gratitude. Take a closer look at the small things—the sun, an extra-long nap that gave you much
needed time to relax, your partner's promotion at work or your son's
achievement at school. The small things matter, and they add up to gratitude
that can be very big.
We've all been there, we've all been jealous and petty and
juvenile. You thought you'd outgrow it. Even though it doesn't happen
often, when it does you start to really think about who you are and who you
want to be "when you grow up."