The Judgement Games: Mom vs Mom
One of the things I was NOT prepared for when I entered motherhood was all the silent (and sometimes not so silent) wars that were happening within the realms of Mommyland. Every which way I looked, I was literally being bombarded to join a side, pick a team, and throw those judgmental stares in the "enemy" direction. All of the wars are fuelled by one sneaky devil:
Today, a good friend posted this link on Facebook. I read, and laughed silently as it was a pretty accurate depiction of what life is like with two kids, and a busy, busy schedule. Even when you "just" stay at home. I was about to shut the link down, and move on, when I smelled judgment lurking in the comment section:
"eh I agree it depends on the mom. I have four aged 6 and under and nothing seems that hectic. my home is almost always clean and I have plenty time to make calls and do stuff."
This poster goes on to add, that she is also in school.
This comment makes me want to take a random trip by her house and see just how calm and cool her house is with four kids under the age of six. I don't buy it. Maybe playdates are not a good comparison, but the noise level with 4 kids at any given playdate rivals that of a rock concert (I kid, I kid). The chance that her house is always clean (unless she has hired help) is another line I can't buy- kids MAKE messes.
The comment deteriorate from there. This poster cleverly insults the author by saying:
"Doesn't sound too hard. Meals, messes, groceries and ballet. I teach so I get to sah 3 months a year. The article, sounds like she needs to get organized, then work nine months, and realize, her description isn't a hard day at all, that's a weekend type day to a mom who usually does that plus working..."
And thus it begins the always impending strike from the other camp. Of course, we're going to start with a game of who has it harder, and who does more, and then compare notes on just how well behaved our children are during this hectic (but not hectic) schedule.
How the judgment burns.
I've been saying this for awhile now, but I will say it again, and again:
Mommies, STOP, STOP with the never-ending list of judgments. Stop it. We are not doing ourselves any favors by constantly bickering at each other, and trying to be one step better then each other.
You and I know we all get judged by just about everyone- our own mothers, our mother in laws, our friends, the people we aren't friends with, the grocery store clerks as our kid begs for a candy bar and we say no, our doctors...do I need to go on?
Why are we judging, competing and making motherhood much harder on ourselves?
It doesn't have to be like this. We don't have to compete to see whose baby is higher on the percentile chart at the doctor's office. We don't have to compete to see who has a child who is more high needs then the other. We don't have to make snide remarks about the Mommy at the park who lets her kids blow off steam while she sits and enjoys a cup of coffee. We don't have to DO any of this Mommy Olympics competition. No one wins. Really! I mean it. At the end of the day, none of us are going to win a medal to show off at the next playdate.
Has anyone told these Mommies that?
Instead of competing with one another, should we not be supporting each other? Laughing with each other? Bringing each other coffee, (Bailey's and wine works well too), and sharing these brilliant, yet hectic moments of early motherhood?
Why can't we all be friends? Maybe we all need to stop gossiping at our playdates, and pay closer attention to our kids as they play with each other, no questions asked. They don't get snotty with each other for not wearing the right shoes, or not having the right toy. Better yet, they don't sit and compare notes on who has a busier afternoon then the rest of the kids. Can you even imagine?!
I've been on both sides: I've been blessed to stay at home with both my kids, thanks to our government and our lengthy maternity leave. But I also work, not full time, but enough to make our lives a little more chaotic at times. My kids feel that pressure, and let me tell you, I do too. However, I also know the feeling of elation when I can say to my husband, "It's been a bad day around these parts. Dinner is defrosting on the stove. Good luck", and race out the door to go to work.
I can't imagine going over to any of my friend's houses and declaring that our lives are busier because I work. Or making another friend feel bad because she works full time and puts her child in daycare. That would make me a pretty crappy friend; and doing that on the internet, in my humble opinion, makes you a pretty crappy person.
I know how stressful being a stay at home mom can be. I know how stressful being a working mom can be.
And that's my point: Motherhood IS stressful. It's trying, and it bends you in ways you never thought you could bend before. But we all know it's tough, right? We can all agree on that. No matter what you have on the side, be it a job, volunteering, or school. Whether you are a new Mom, a veteran mom, or somewhere in the middle, we all have felt the growing pains of learning to juggle being a Mom with our daily lives.
So here it is:
Let's curb the judgment. Let's remind ourselves that we're all busy, but we don't need to compete, or make someone else feel like garbage because we've made different choices for our family. We are, at the end of the day, the experts for our own families.
It's pretty damn easy to say we're perfect a Mom when we're on the internet. Here, watch: My kids right now, as I write this are painting works of art, quietly (not true- he's raiding the fridge for the umpteenth time in the last hour, and destroying rearranging playing in the living room with his toys while the baby sleeps (true) in her playpen) while listening to Mozart (I turned Treehouse on so I could get a couple stolen moments of peace), and not making any noise. I did not have to blackmail my son to eat at least 4 bites of his lunch this afternoon, and he did not throw a meltdown when I requested that we have quiet time.
Ha. In a perfect world.
My name is Danielle. I am not a perfect Mom, and my house is almost never clean. I mean, I try, but 30 seconds later, it's a mess again. I do not make my bed in the morning; I do not always shower or put on makeup. My kids sometimes get less then desirable meals, and I do occasionally have those moments in the grocery store where I feel like throwing a tantrum right next to my three year old (it'd be nice, I think- get it out, move on). I also work outside of the home, and it does make our lives a little more complicated. But not any more so then the stay at home mom with 4 kids, or 1 kid or whatever number you have.
I embrace my imperfections. While you are judging me for working, or not working enough, or whatever the flavour of the week is, I am oblivious and enjoying my version of reality-
You know, the one where I don't give a damn what you think of me as a Mother.
Try it sometime, it's pretty refreshing.
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