Saturday, April 17, 2010

mommy frenemies

Do you ever feel like you're in competition with your mommy friends?

I don't ask this question because of any specific trigger, I just ask because it is so interesting to watch other moms at the playground. It's inevitable that the woman next to you will try to throw in how early her child walked, or how many sight words they know, or how they can paint like Picasso. I wonder why we as women and mothers feel the need to make our children the "best." When is how they really are good enough?

The conversation doesn't just center around kids though...how much your husband helps at home, how much weight you lost, where you live....we feel the need to qualify our own attributes to each other. It's like a mini-mom pecking order where everyone's got to be on top.

I frequently tell people the boys have special needs, or aren't potty trained at 3 years, 2 months. They appear horrified. I'm not sure why. Is it because they'd have to admit the things their own children didn't do "first" or is it because they don't know what to make of someone who doesn't need to be at the top.

Don't get me wrong, I am not immune. Sometimes I want to say something so fabulous about my children that it quiets all the other moms. I am proud of my kids and I like to talk about them as much as the next person. But why must we as women and mothers feel like we're in constant competition with each other? Stay at home versus working moms. Formula versus breastfed. Life is hard enough managing the day to day without the added stress.

It's time we as women stop competing and start supporting.

14 comments:

ThePreemie Experiment said...

I still will never forget the first time I encountered "competition" in the preemie world... to the tune of... "well my preemie was earlier than yours!" Seriously people? Is that an award you really want?

Fortunately I've always had the children that act up so loudly that no one wants their child to be in competition with mine. LOL

Great post!

Allison said...

Ugh. Yes. I've gotten into the "I have it harder than you do" "competition" (if that's what you want to call it) with some ladies on a message board I'm a part of. They're all SAHMs. All I wanted was to vent about having to work and they got all outspoken about how hard they have it. I wasn't saying that it isn't hard to be a SAHM--please just recognize that it is hard being a working mom, too. Being a mom is difficult enough without having to compete.

I hope people don't feel like I'm trying to compete when I talk about what E is doing. She got mobile pretty early and it's just a fact of our life--not ever trying to brag about it or anything. I always try to watch myself b/c there's no need to try to make the mommy next to you feel bad about what their kid is or isn't doing...that's just not productive. We should all be proud of who our kids are, no matter what that means.

The Lesters said...

I think it is not just a woman thing either. I think men also do this to some degree, usually over different stuff. I guess it is human to want to be the best.

I'll admit I have been guilty of doing this very thing sometimes. I'm learning to stop and think before I speak.

The Parsons Family said...

So very true! And I just finished reading an article to this EXACT point ....kinda interesting

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/wayoflife/04/13/mommy.mafia.jen.klein/index.html?iref=allsearch

Jenn Murray said...

It is truly sad, I get sucked in too. The lack of speech in my 2 year olds makes me insecure, why can't I just enjoy my beautiful children? Thanks for the thoughts.

Cate said...

In the past I felt like I was in a competition but now that I'm a little older and a little wiser I know my son is awesome, speech or no speech, running or no running. He's in a league of his own.

Amy said...

I'm not a mom but I think these women just transfer their personal insecurities into their children. Having the best children makes their own insecurities seem less maybe? I can see how that can be very frustrating though!

Sarah Dee said...

Great post, great thoughts. I try so hard not be a friendemie. But, it's so hard not to judge MY OWN child. Maybe it's because he is so perfect to me that I don't like it when something tells me he isn't.

I think that people are horrified because they met someone who doesn't have to be on top.

I should just stop rambleing on this and we should get together in person. :)

Esther and Brian said...

So very true, thanks for posting this. I find that Moms even "compete" with how much they kids weigh! I swear this is a huge topic...my twin boys are very skinny and are average height at the moment (o percentile weight, 50th height)- we've never ever been on the charts for weight! So many people think that they are younger and are so surprised that they are walking so well (duh, they are 19 months old!). And they love to tell me how big their kiddo is, as if I cannot see the difference myself. Oh well...crazy crazy...:)

PS: I refrain myself, but when they tell me how little my boys are, I just want to tell them "maybe, but they are bilingual- is your chubby kid speak/understand two languages???". OK, I'm being mean.

tbonegrl said...

Stacy, I have encountered other special needs or preemie moms who are competitive too. They of all people should "get it!" I am amazed and perplexed!

tbonegrl said...
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Linda said...

Absolutely yes. Amelia is still on the bottle and Sal isn't talking very well yet. I wax and wane between feeling bummed out that my kids are 'behind' and knowing that in the scheme of things they won't be 6 years old and not talking or drinking from a cup. I HATE moms that brag about how smart or advanced their kids are. And I get mad at myself for buying into feeling one way or the other about it instead of just loving my kids and not worrying about all the other stuff that will eventually fall into place.

cmcdonnell.1 said...

I agree with Amy- I think that people do transfer their insecurities over and brag about their accomplishments, and its usually through children. We know that fact hits home with some people who are close to both of us who are competitive in that sense. Taking pride (with a little humility) in your child for something that you've both overcome/accomplished is one thing. Being insecure is another.


Love you-

Colleen.

Lindsay said...

I love this post! AMEN SISTA! Why can't we just be honest and relate to one another as women and mothers?!