Until four months ago, when I gave birth to my second daughter and switched jobs, I lived a life devoid of mom-petition. Why? I worked full time and did exactly zero things where I met other moms with children my age. Also, friends I have with children weren’t a part of the regular routine.
Now that I do things with both my kids that involve seeing and being with other children and their mothers more frequently, I have two minds about the competition between moms out there.
The first is that my inner dialogue is a bigger enemy than other mothers. Or other people. The voice in my head is much louder in fearing my child isn’t performing to 110% than the actual volume of noise/mess/commotion my child (or children) is actually making. Example: I just took my older daughter to dance. She refused to dance. All the OTHER little girls were dancing. I was like, “Wow these moms must think I’m such a loser. And that my daughter is not developing appropriately.”
Truth: At the end of class they were like, “Bring her back! New things are scary.” Which, quite frankly, is what I would say to another mom.
The second is that the current parenting atmosphere of experts, philosophies, and methodologies is putting moms on the defensive and making everyone put up their guard-or should I say, building a fortress.
Example: I had a mom look stricken when she realized I heard her say she would give her son a time-out. Another apologized to me when she told my daughter to be careful jumping off something high. Both these moms said they were afraid of “offending” me. Truth: I could care less about how someone else disciplines their child, (not including tactics that are abusive and illegal-but that goes beyond mom-petition to human rights) and my kid should be told to be careful when jumping off something high.
Am I on the outside here? Are other people that into what other people say and do and think about their children and their parenting? Have other moms endured attacks that make them put their guard up so high?
Or-and this is what I think-are we, as moms, so insecure that we judge others to feel more at peace with our own skills?
I’ll put it right out there-I fail to be my ideal mom-self multiple times a day, everyday. And my children act like…children. They have good days and bad days, and strengths and weaknesses.
You know, just like everyone else.