The Competitiveness of Motherhood

When you dreamed of being a mom, did you imagine yourself sitting around going “my kid already does that” or “your kid only counts to 10? mine counts to 30. in spanish” or even “why isn’t my kid walking? every other kids is walking?”. I doubt it. You thought you live in a blissful bubble of just you and baby where you were charmed by every thing they did and didn’t believe in calendar milestones. But then the cold hard world interfered and you find yourself naturally doing what you never imagined. Comparing your child, your mothering skills to everyone elses. Sometimes you come out ahead. Many times you do not. And we all have to deal with that and learn to support each other.

A fabulous blogger names Alice Bradley of Finslippy, wrote a great article for Redbook magazine on the subject. Check it out.

Motherhood Shouldn’t Be a Competitive Sport

One friend taught her kid Spanish in utero. Another hasn’t missed a field trip, well, ever. Alice Bradley comments on the competitive sport of motherhood.

By Alice Bradley
While my son, Henry, can be awfully good company for a kid on the cusp of 8, by the time we’ve reached the tail end of summer — those sluggish days after camp has ended but the heat and humidity have decided to stick around for a few more weeks — I am more than ready for him to return to school. Because when he’s at school, he’s not here, begging to play a fifth hour of video games because he’s too bored to do anything else and it’s too hot to go outside. Bring on the regimented learning!

Then the school year starts, and it all comes back to me: the social pressure, the feelings of inadequacy, the urge to excel. Not for him — for me.

Here is what will occur on the first day of school: An impeccably dressed, perfectly coiffed mom will sidle up to me at the classroom drop-off. As we watch our children get settled in, she’ll detail her family’s summer-long, life-changing trip to the Brazilian rain forest.

“So fun,” I’ll nod. As if I know exactly what a summer-long adventure like that would entail.Who hasn’t been to the Brazilian rain forest?

“And what were you guys up to?” she’ll ask.

“Oh, we had a quiet summer,” I will murmur, hoping she’ll believe that my husband, Scott, and I stayed on home turf only because we’d already traversed the globe during all thoseother summers.

The other mom will gasp, “You mean to say you — you stayed here?” as all the parents and children turn to stare. At which point Henry will look up from his crayons and cry out, “Oh, mother, why must we be poor?” and Ms. Rain Forest will place a manicured hand on my shoulder as her eyes fill with tears.

It’s not only the wealthy parents I compare us with. I’ll pit my mothering skills against the mom with five children who has long playdates at her place, where she bakes banana bread and composes a theme song for each kid on her acoustic guitar. Or the dad who skateboards to school with his kids, takes them rock climbing twice a week, and coaches soccer on weekends. Or the parent who works from home and attends every field trip and organizes the school fund-raisers. Meanwhile, I consider it a good day when I remember to tell Henry to wipe the waffle crumbs from his cheeks after breakfast. I have different priorities, I tell myself. I could do those things if I wanted to!

You could say that when it comes to parenting — and most everything else — I’m cursed with both a competitive streak and terminal laziness. I deeply want to excel, but I’d rather not work at it. I’d prefer that my natural skills and charm catapult me to the top. That competitive mind-set kicked into high gear when I got pregnant. I compared myself with every pregnant woman I could find. I found it difficult, however, to figure out if I was ahead. How do you measure pregnancy success? Degree of rosy glow? Lowest number of stretch marks? To the extent that I could quantify my superiority, I found that instead of winning, I seemed to not even be placing. I spied a beaming pregnant woman in the bookstore, and she didn’t have any lunch-related stains on her shirt. While taking a waddling stroll, I spotted a woman with what appeared to be a third trimester belly, and she was jogging. Jogging!

Read the entire article by clicking HERE.

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