Mompetition: The one-up rivalry that moms play making their child seem better, smarter, and/ or more advanced than yours. May involve two or more moms and any number of children, even full-grown. (According to the Urban dictionary online).
So let me let you in on a secret, Motherhood is HARD so why are we in competition with each other when we all have one thing in common that can bring us together?
I feel like this unspoken competition is really prevalent with stay at home mom vs. working moms. Here is another secret, both stay and home moms and working moms work very hard and are struggling. I have been at stay at home mom (kind of) when the babies were first born as my company pays for 6 months off so I stayed home for those six months although technically I was still employed and getting paid. For the other 2.5 years, I have been a working mom. I can tell you that being a working mom is hard from my own experience and a lot of companies are not friendly or empathetic to a working mom. I have to admit, I used to be one of those people that thought moms used their kids as excuses to leave early, take extra time off or not work as hard as others. After having kids I realized the truth, we still are hard working but are kids are and will always be the most important thing in our life and if that means leaving early to get them from daycare sick, that is what it means. What a lot of people don’t see or hear about is the long hours that we put in at night or in the wee hours of the morning to make up for that work. I don’t think everybody has my work ethic and it has not changed but the way I do work is different especially if my kids are sick and need me. This means in order to keep up with my career, I have to put in the hours after the kids go to bed and honestly this is exhausting. My day starts at 5AM and ends at about 9PM when I can barely function anymore. There are days that I want to stay up and watch TV or read but that is usually not top on my priority list after days of utter fatigue. I also know stay at home moms and they work hard too, they spend all day attending to children and that is not easy day after day after day. The only thing that at stay at home mom has that I don’t is time at home to get “home” stuff done which I also have to do early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends. Sometimes I wish I had more time at home to tend to these things so I could actually sleep in or enjoy a good book at night.
This happens everyday in our society and I just find it so frustrating. We have this one really huge thing in common with each and every mother and instead of uniting and helping each other, we compete. My kids started soccer this last week and of course practice is at 5PM on a weekday on the other side of town so I get off work early (boss is pissed off), get home and try to wrangle to 3 year olds sans nap into cleats, shin guards and uniforms and drive as fast as I can to the park. I show up about 5 minutes late to be greeted by a group of about 5 other moms, assuming from their wardrobe and multiple infants I am assuming they are stay at home moms. You should have seen the glares, I tried to introduce myself with no response and heard a couple of rude remarks that I ignored. Do these women know what being kind is or assuming positive intent? They don’t know that the night before I was up all night with a kid that did not feel well, had had a breakdown at work over a stressful project and got into a fight with my boss about leaving early just to mention a few things. I am sure they are all fighting their own battles but the difference is that I don’t make rude remarks under my breath to make them feel worse than they already do. I was 5 minutes late, get over it, this is not the world cup. My kids just turned 3, yours are 5 so yes mine are a little crazier on the field, again…GET OVER IT. What I really don’t understand is they were the parent a year or two ago that had the youngest players on the team so why cant they realize that and just be nice???
On top of the working mom vs. stay at home mom battle there are also so many other unspoken ones. I cannot tell you how many times moms told me how their child was potty trained at 12 months (bullshit), reading at 3 (again bullshit) and so on. I don’t know if these moms thinks that it impresses people to brag about their children but I think it makes them look like ass holes. I mean I brag about my kids, I am proud of certain achievements and milestones but when I tell you that I am proud that my kids are potty trained at 3 years old I don’t need to hear about your magic potty pooping 6 month old, just say congratulations and MOVE ON. I don’t know maybe I am more secure in my parenting or maybe I just don’t care what people think, probably a combination of both.
I would really like to see us stop shaming moms that do things differently and accept and maybe even learn something from it. Another example, I don’t let me kids eat a lot of sugar. With all of the debate over sugar right now you would think I would not get ridiculed but I can tell you that almost on a daily basis I am told “let them be kids, give them sugar.” Um, no that is my parenting choice and I would appreciate if you would respect it just like I respect the choice that you give your kids sugar by the truckloads. I don’t agree with it, but they are not my kids so I don’t have any right whatsoever to express opinions about their health.
Can you imagine a world where we came together as moms and supported each others decisions and respected and celebrated the differences we have? Wow, what a difference the world would be for us moms and kids.
I can hope that one day, people realize that motherhood is not a competition but a part of life that is challenging and we could all use a little support from people who understand. So next time you want to tell somebody how to parent or overshadow their children’s accomplishments think:
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?
Is it helpful?
If the answer is no then don’t say it. Instead why don’t you offer to help a mom you see struggling, lend a kind word, give them some positive reinforcement. If we all made small steps, we could build a tribe of moms who support each other and maybe, just maybe make motherhood a little easier.
XOXO- not going to compete twin mom