It’s that time of year when schools are breaking up, people are taking time out from work, maybe even organising a summer holiday. It’s a time when it’s REALLY easy to get caught up in the comparison trap.

Whether it’s social media or chats with friends and family, we are particularly conscious of what people are doing or where they’re going. We start piling the pressure on ourselves. We start seeing all the ‘fun’ things they’re preparing for their loved one’s summer holidays, and it can make us look at ourselves and think about what we’re NOT doing.

Social Media

At the risk of repeating myself – just because they’ve plastered a range of fun activities over their social media doesn’t mean they’re actually doing them all or even have any intention of doing them all.

Yes, there will be those that cram in as much as they can. Maybe they are in a position to do so. Maybe it’s the only time of year they get a chance to do things with their family. Maybe they prioritise these things over other stuff, those things that are more important to you.

We never really know what’s going for others.

A summer holiday abroad can be a wonderful experience; however, it can also be hugely stressful. We never know what is really going on for others. Perhaps the only way to get the family together is to go away? Perhaps they’ve saved for years for their dream holiday? It’s not for us to judge or compare – looking at their posts and comparing our lives to theirs doesn’t help anyone.

If you’re a working parent, this time of year can be exceptionally challenging. But remember, you can only do what you can do! Comparing yourself to other friends is not helpful, you know what works for you and your family. Shut out the noise around you and concentrate on you and your loved ones.

Things to avoid the comparison trap
  1. Cut down or – shock, horror – take a break from avoid social media. Summer is a good time to have a holiday from social media.
  2. When having conversations about summer plans, keep it vague. Talk to friends and family about some of the things you might fancy doing rather than over committing and then feeling like you’ve failed.
  3. Remind yourself that there will be many who will be just trying to survive the summer holiday. They’ll be juggling work, holiday clubs, childcare issues and children being out of their normal routine. It’s not always easy.
  4. Focus on what you and your family need. Don’t be distracted by others plans. Set some goals for the holidays e.g. “We want to have X number of day trips” or “We want to have a weekend away” or even “We want to spend time with friends and family”
Don’t be fooled.

Things are not always as they seem. This summer when the photos of happy, smiling children (or adults come to that) eating ice-creams or sipping cocktails, surrounded by blue sea and twinkling sea start flooding in – just remember this… They probably spent ages setting up the shot having dealt with a wasp sting and a screaming child. The rain has literally just stopped after two days of constant downpours. The cocktail is the only one they can afford, and the sea is so cold they’re just looking at it rather than swimming in it!


Whatever you do this summer, do it for you and avoid the comparison trap!