There's A Reason Why Mom Jealousy Is So Exhausting, And It's All Because Of Your Brain

woman jealous phone

Mom jealously is real, and it's exhausting. Let's face it, as mothers we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other. Thanks to social media and the massive amount of online resources and blogs about mothering and motherhood, there is an endless list of resources to compare how other people are parenting for us to compare ourselves to.

While it's completely natural to look at your friends or even complete strangers online and feel a pang of jealously over their tiny post baby body, adorable Instagram worthy baby, and their brand new top of the line stroller, it does take a toll. But the good news is that while it can be exhausting, it's also pretty normal to feel jealous of others.

Carol Barkes has an MBA in Conflict Management and Negotiation and is pursuing a PhD in peak performance psychology with an emphasis in Neuroscience and Conflict Management and she spoke to Romper about why we feel so envious of our friends and even strangers, despite being happy with our own lives.

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"Envy is a vital part of our evolutionary DNA. It is an adaptive response to limited resources shared by your group," Barkes told the website. "When we look at what others have, we notice what we could have that would increase our chances for survival."

woman jealous phone
Credit: iStock / SIphotography

Which means it's basically our brain telling us that it's okay to want what others have, because it then makes us work harder to get the same things, which, while exhausting, is encouraging. And while you may not want to be jealous of your best friend or family member, Barkes says it's completely normal to be envious of those you're closest to.

"We feel more envy toward those in our social circle, geographical location, or who are like us in other attributes then we do toward celebrities or other outliers," she explained. "We pay more attention to our own in groups, people of the same sex, social status, ability, looks, etc. than we do people like Bill Gates who seem far out of our realm of comparison."

Being envious of your friends and family members can be hard, but thankfully it's also completely normal. Being jealous of all the new clothes your friend is able to buy is common, as is coveting their new car or bigger home.  According to Psychology Today, most people will envy a friend at some point in their lives. Basically envy encourages competition and for you to work harder for the things you want in life.

They suggest the more content you are in your own lives, the less envious you will be of your friends and their lives. If you find yourself constantly wishing you had what your friends have, it may be time to speak to a mental health professional to get to the root of the problem.

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