Tuesday, January 10, 2012


if you are a mother, you know what Mompetition is. it's the competition that each of us were unwillingly entered in when we gave birth. from the moment you announced your pregnancy it started. we gain and lose points daily for our parenting skills. the prize? being able to look down on all of your friends for their subpar mothering. the loser? well, we're all the loser here really.

natural childbirth? 10pts.

epidural? -5pts

elective c-section? -10pts

breastfeeding? 20 pts.

extended breastfeeding? 50 pts

having your baby sleep through the night by 6 weeks? 10 pts if your friends are "baby-wise" -10pts if they're attachment.

stay at home mom? +25 pts or - 10pts, depends on your audience.

this is the tip of the iceberg. do you make your own baby food? is it organic?? everyone knows the stuff in the jars means you don't really love your baby! what about cloth diapers? what?? you don't care if the environment is ruined for your grandchildren? how long did it take you to potty train? your kid still wets the bed? fail... fail... fail.

this is the message that moms get every day. from magazines, television, blogs, other moms. only the best moms will do. you need to raise your kids perfectly, make their clothes, make their food, teach them a second and third language, vaccinate or delay vaccinating, breastfeed until they're 4, and don't forget to throw lavish, themed parties for every birthday. oh wait, make sure you get that baby weight off in six weeks, don't miss a manicure and look fabulous while doing it. everybody knows the best mom is a hot mom. on top of all of this, you should relish every moment. smiling and basking in the glow that is motherhood. just like june freakin cleaver.

ladies, this is not only impossible, it's toxic. i read an amazing blogger the other day who posted about not seizing the day. she said it's ok to not be loving every moment of motherhood. it's not always enjoyable! can i tell you how relieved i was to read that? overwhelmingly so. how often i've felt guilt for not enjoying my days more. because, really, what's more enjoyable than sleep deprivation mixed with spit up and stretch marks? just because it's worth it, doesn't mean it's easy. in fact, the opposite is usually true!

we'll most likely never get the media to stop putting these pressures on us.

but we can stop putting them on each other.

we can accept that we have different ways of parenting. we can accept that all children are not the same. we can agree that while we may not all see eye to eye, we all love our children. we can all realize that other moms can either be our greatest cheerleader or our worst accuser. it's our choice. i don't want to compete in the Mompetition. i'll lose. every time. i'm flawed, horribly flawed. those flaws extend to my parenting each and every day. i'm losing points right now! my house full of toddlers are watching dora while i type! so i'm bowing out. thanks for the memories...


Sarah said...

So true - I'm learning as I'm going through the book study and the challenge on my blog. Either way I've already lost because I yell, I'm working on it. I can't tell you how tired I am of hearing how I'm not doing something right - I was even told BFing was bad for the baby because well suffice to say it would ruin them for marriage in some way oh and I was told it was disgusting. Not to mention a friend told me as I was grieving the loss of my natural birth from being forced into a c-section that it's okay because c-sections are so much easier. Um No but if you think so by all means go for it. Do I think my way is right? Sure, don't we all? But I also know that this is the real world - if I had my way my SIL would still be BFing my preemie nephew and not vaxing him but I keep my mouth shut and let her learn and let her be a mom. I hope that makes sense LOL

Mile High Mom said...

It's very true, and it's hard to not get sucked into it. (Although I cloth diaper and make my own baby food for strictly financial reasons) There are other things that really bother me. Especially the breastfeeding thing. It's hard to not feel like others are judging me when I'm giving my baby a bottle in front of a mom that's nursing.

themrs said...

i know. and michele, your story is exactly why people shouldn't just jump to judgement. they don't know your story. they don't know why you're not nursing. and it really isn't any of their business. i've realized that i can't stop people from judging me. i can choose to not let it bother me.

sarah, i know many friends who have had to grieve the loss of their birth experience. i think it's a normal response to having your control taken away in a moment where you need it most :( stories like that are what made me start doing the doula thing. to help women have a better birth!

Becky said...

And the older the kids get, it seems like the mom-petition only gets worse. Do you put them in sports or martial arts? What about what kind of clothes are you dressing them in? What about their electronics?
You nailed this one :)

Anonymous said...

Amen! My children are teenagers now and I've been out of the Mompetition for several years (I lost). I still have one friend who has NEVER admitted ONE bad, mean, nasty, illegal or hurtful thing her children ever did or said. Drives me nuts.
Oh and I love how Sarah judges her SIL, who I'll bet hates her guts and MHM cloth diapers and makes her own baby food. Yea you!!

Megan said...

You always have posts that inspire me and make me think!! I think we're all at least a bit guilty of competing with other moms and you are so right that support should be the first thing that comes to mind, not judgement. Thanks so much for your honest sharing and dialogue.

themrs said...

thanks megan! you are totally right. we are all guilty of this in one form or another. i battle it in my own mind all the time. hopefully being aware of it will help us be more supportive of one another!

Mr said...

Having a happy husband.......1,000,000 points! You win!