Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mompetition, Part 2

if you've been here a while, you may remember this post. it was one of my most widely read. it was all about the competition that is motherhood. nobody talks about it but it's there. in the past few weeks i have seen it rampant on facebook. from judgement about where to send your kid to school to the great breastfeeding debate, it's everywhere. and now we have pinterest and facebook and etsy to really bring home all of the things other moms are doing that we aren't. have you ever searched "kid's birthday party" on pinterest? holy. cow... don't do it. if i've learned anything in 13 years of parenting, it's stop comparing yourself to other mothers. stay out of the race, you can't win.

and yet... i still battle it. i find myself justifying my parenting choices to those who disagree. or getting irate at a facebook debate with people i don't even know! i realized a few weeks ago how far i need to go while attending a parent's meeting for one of my children. my kids attend a phenomenal private christian school. we love it there and we work our tails off to afford tuition. that being said, we are probably not your typical "private school parents".  So i'm sitting in this meeting, looking around, noticing how different i am than most of the other mothers. i don't own a sweater set. i have visible tattoos. i've never once sent an adorable themed snack to school for one of my kids' birthdays. heck, most of my kids' teacher may not even know what i look like. but the thing that stood out to me the most was that i was the only mom sitting alone. most of the other mothers know each other because they all volunteer often.  i'm at work. i don't have time to be at the school in the middle of the day. i have five kids and a job and a business and a million other responsibilities. i sat there feeling judgement that probably didn't even exist. if i really think about it, i bet none of them had a thought about me at all. but it bothered me. i began that familiar condemnation of mom guilt...reminding myself of all the things i don't do.

i've never thrown a big party for any of my kid's birthdays. in fact, i've never even sent anything to school for them. 
i've never made a costume, a set of curtains or even hemmed a skirt. i bribe my dear friend Nicole to hem my kid's uniforms!
i've never decorated for a holiday other than Christmas.
i've never taken my kids to disney world.
my  kids don't play sports and i could not be happier about it.

the list could go on on and on of all the things i don't do that make me not good enough as a mother. if i allow it, my insecurity could convince me that i am failing in all areas of motherhood.

but if i pull myself out of that destructive pit for just a moment, i can think about the things i am doing for my kids. when they are grown, will they be mad that i never threw an elaborate party for them? or will they be glad that i taught them to love every kind of music from punk to gospel to blue grass to hip hop.
will they feel that they missed out on having a mom that does crafts and activities? or will they realize the value of a mom who taught them to dance in the garage, to laugh when life sucks and that it's ok to say "sucks" when no other word will work.
will my daughters wish i had taught them to clean more, cook better, sew costumes? or will they realize that i may have missed those things... i did teach them to think for themselves, to dream big, to be what ever they want to be.

at the core of judgement is our own hearts. what others think is only significant if deep inside we agree.  so if you are a crafty mom...craft on! if you are a dancing mom, turn up the music! whatever your style, be who you are and don't let anyone tell you it's not good enough. especially yourself.

homeschool, public school, private school, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, attachment parenting, staying at home, working outside of the home, car seats, booster seats, potty seats... whatever your choose...
 and don't let anyone convince you otherwise!


SheBelievesGod said...

Preach it, Abby! You are so very right. Own our own; not someone else's.

Bex said...

I love that you are Real REAL and not a Plasitc Mom. I LOVE that.

Katy Shaw said...

Thank you...I completely relate with everything you say. I feel like I am constantly being judged for my parenting...from our public schooling choice, to me being a working mom. I often feel like I am standing out on this island alone...it is nice to know that someone else feels like they are on their own little island too!! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't really know how it is that I came to read your blog...but I check back every now and then to see if you have posted anything new...boy am I glad that I read this one.

Thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one whom feels like they are being judged by other moms. It often seems like I am on the outside looking in...I am not conservative enough for the conservative moms and not liberal enough for the liberal moms. My kids go to public school and I work outside the home...I can almost imagine the heads shaking as I walk into church on Sunday as all the home school mommy's rush their kids away from my public school kids...THE HORROR!!

I am sure it is not nearly as bad as I think. In high school and college it was so easy to have friends...you were all at the same place in life...experiencing the same things...but now as adults it is hard to find friends that are in the same place as you...on the same path as you.