I’ll be honest- I grew up as an incredibly obnoxious competitor. I mean, a total jerk on the soccer field. But when I became a mom something shifted inside me. Suddenly, I wasn’t worried about competing or winning. Instead I just wanted to feel a sense of normalcy in a community of women that were all in the parental trenches together; supporting one another through this strenuous and amazing phase of our lives. Kind of like a sisterhood- the sisterhood of the traveling jeggings.
I thought I would revel in the elasticity of my mom jeans and cherish my newfound friendships. I thought we would drink wine and chuckle at the shit our kids would say, while lounging in yoga pants and watching the Bachelorette. It all sounded so fun- like an escape from our otherwise hectic lives raising children.
I soon realized that this dream I envisioned was exactly that—a dream. The competition was far from over. In fact, there was an entirely new competition happening and I was already falling behind in the race.
Mompetitions: Breast Feeders versus Formula Feeders
Every doctor that resides on planet earth agrees that breastfeeding is the holy grail of children’s nutrition. Haven’t we all read the baby books? Don’t we all have the pamphlets the lactation consultant so aggressively shoved into our hospital gift bags? We get it. The reality, though, is that breastfeeding is not ideal for everyone. As far as I can tell, arsenic is not an active ingredient in formula, and babies aren’t spontaneously combusting from consuming it. If your baby is thriving (whether by the boob or the bottle), congratulations, you’re a wonderful mother.
Mompetitions: Biggest Losers versus Biggest Bellies
Since when is our postpartum weight up for debate? Whether we are donning our skinny jeans on the hospital ride home, or never again in this lifetime, our metabolic function is really none of anyone else’s business. If the weight falls right off, there is the assumption that we are either ill or on drugs. However, if it doesn’t disappear four days later, we’re fat shamed. Pregnancy takes different tolls on different bodies. As long as we are healthy, our dress sizes shouldn’t be the subject of afternoon gossip.
Baby Talkers versus “Real Talk”
Some parents baby talk so much that they actually lose the ability to have conversations at normal decibel levels while using adult terminology. On the other hand, some parents read The Great Gatsby to their children and expect their toddlers to offer a detailed synopsis afterwards. If our children are reaching their milestones, that is reason enough for all of us to celebrate.
Helicopter parenting versus Free Parenting
There are definitely some stage five clingers out there chasing their children around the playground with helmets, hand sanitizer, and SPF 3000. Then again, there’s also some moms sitting in the grass reading 50 Shades of Grey while their children are back-flipping off of the roof of their playhouse into a pit of brown recluse spiders. It’s likely that both of those mothers spend an equal amount of time in a doctor’s office.
Vegetable-loving Vegans versus Fast Food Families
There’s no arguing the fact that veggies do the body good. However, given the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare them so that they appeal to our kids, I’d be willing to bet that more than a few of us have paid a visit to McDonald’s at some point. I am in no way condoning feeding your children something that claims to be a hamburger, but is in fact only 50% “hamburger.” I’m just saying that sometimes sautéing cabbage doesn’t happen.
Biological Moms versus Step Moms
I am a firm believer that a mother is a mother, no matter how she became one. In many cases step moms play an equally active role in parenting and degrading one’s effort to participate in the raising of a child is not only trite, but it’s also immature and completely counter-productive. Team work, people. Team work.
Fit Mom versus Netflix and Chill Mom
Keeping fit is great, but you know what else is great too?– House of Cards. Whether you choose to spend your free time counting calories or fawning over Frank Underwood’s merciless wrath, that decision is up to you. Gym memberships cost more than Netiflix but a completely stagnant lifestyle raises the risk of bed sores. Both are equally threatening.
Home Schoolers versus Public Schoolers
Perhaps you fancy yourself an intellectual and feel that your child’s education is best handled at home—that’s totally admirable and seriously impressive, but try to refrain from including judgment in your lesson plans. Plenty (really, plenty) of kids graduate from public schools and go on to be valuable members of society.
Brand Names versus Budget Friendly
Another mom’s decision to pay three more dollars for ham because she prefers name brands is none of anyone’s business. The same can be said for the mom that buys her kids off brand blue jeans because kids, you know, grow like weeds and will likely not even fit into said jeans for more than a few months.
Single Mom versus Coupled Mom
Mothering a child is a difficult task no matter which way you cut it. Sure, having a helping hand is a true blessing but sometimes that assistance becomes a hindrance in the process. There’s something to be said for having the freedom to make big decisions independently without having to consult a co-parent, but there’s also a lot to be said for someone that endures the parental trenches alone. Hats off to both parties.
Stilettos Mom versus Yoga Pants Mom
It is an urban legend that all women who wear yoga pants are, in fact, active participants in yoga classes, but the comfort of endless elasticity is totally worth the label of a poser. Also, just because a woman is wearing heals and appears to be well kept and seemingly put together, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s not a hot mess like everyone else.
Stay At Home Moms versus Working Moms
Who has it better? Who works harder? Who is the better mother– the one preparing meals every night for her family to enjoy, or the one working long hours every day to pay for the food that goes on the table? Answer: neither. I think we can all agree that being a mom is without a doubt the hardest job we’ve ever had. I think we can also agree that being away from our children while at work all the time breaks our little hearts. Both jobs are difficult; both jobs are mentally taxing and physically draining; and both jobs make us want to pull all of our hair out equally.
Dads versus Moms
Really, society? Really?! It’s truly heartbreaking that mothers and fathers are sometimes pitted against each other in a comparative manner. Dads get a bad wrap (unless they’re a nonparticipant in the life of their child, and in that case, by all means sling all the mud you wish). While most, if not many, of them are play active and vital roles in the raising of their children they’re importance is often undervalued. Mothers and fathers should never, and I do meannever, compete against one another. Nothing good comes from it (other than semi-entertaining Judge Judy episodes).
Same Sex Parents versus Heterosexual Parents
Why is this even an issue? Does having two moms or two dads automatically equate to a lifetime of dysfunction? I’ve come across plenty of societal burdens and/or failures that were raised by heterosexuals, so that argument is pretty much dead on arrival. Supportive, nurturing, and more than competent families come in many forms. Let’s abandon the notion that heterosexuals are the only qualified beings capable of raising functional children. The track record is proof that’s there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Here’s the thing about mompetitions- when mothers compete against each other, no one wins. So, let’s please just get off our judgmental high horses and sing Kumbaya (or Itsy Bitsy Spider, whatever).