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The Mommy Club

Why it's easy to envy other mothers

No matter how happy you are with the decisions you've made about choices like letting your baby cry it out versus rocking him to sleep, or working versus staying at home, it's easy to compare yourself to others. Jenna Goeb, mom of Eva, 10 months, knows that she's been on both sides of the comparisons.

"I breastfed Eva until she was eight months old, and other moms in the group would tell me how jealous they were that I could do it and they couldn't," says Jenna. "But breastfeeding was really hard for me  -- I felt like I could never get a break from Eva. Sometimes I'd be so envious of moms who bottle-fed. They had such freedom."

For Michele, feelings of envy creep up when she talks to working moms. "I'm jealous of moms who can spend their days with adults, earning a living, and be home at night with their kids," she says. "I miss the corporate world."

"Me, too," says Keri. "I had Jake when I was thirty-four, so I'd been in the workforce for years. And although I knew I wanted to stay at home once I had a baby, it was  -- and still is  -- a shock to my system to be alone all day, every day."

But it's that time at home that some working moms  -- even those with flexible, family-friendly schedules  -- wish they had. Holly, a teacher, knows she has better hours than most, but she struggled with the idea of going back to work. "I'm concerned about missing milestones and not being there when Lydia needs her mommy," she says.

The group's consensus: Cut yourself some slack for the comparisons. "It's easy to size yourself up against other moms because even when things are great, you'll always have some concern or frustration," says Karen Gonzalez, mom of Benjamin, 9 months. "Some weeks I compare myself to a mom whose baby isn't as fussy as Benjamin, and other weeks to a working mom who always seems so put together," she says. "But you quickly realize that every woman is dealing with something." And as hard as it can be, it's important to remember that the mom you're stacking yourself up against might be just as envious of you.

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