I’ve been a mother for almost 15 years and for most of that time I have often felt the need to sort of validate what I do as a mom. I find myself telling people – random people – that I have five kids just in everyday conversation as if it makes a difference in whatever it is we are doing at the time. At the doctor’s office, at the grocery store – randomly I’ll mention that I have ‘however many’ kids because somehow I feel somewhere inside of me that it makes me better, stronger, more impressive. Or maybe I think it will somehow excuse the messy hair and mismatched socks. Why do I do that?! Every single time that I randomly mention my motherly plight to the worker in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru (or some other unknown person) I feel immediate regret. I know how ridiculous it is to feel the need to compulsively bring up my mommying in casual conversation for no good reason at all, yet I still do it almost daily.
I think, as moms, we have this innate need to compete with each other in order to prove we know what we’re doing. We’re okay. We’re gonna make it. We’re a good momma. We have good kids. I’m sure that the biggest reason we do this is because none of us actually feels that we are any good at this mothering thing after all. It’s a hard gig. With little to no encouragement along the way – other than the sweet little macaroni necklaces we get every month or so from well meaning Sunday School teachers – I mean from our sweet babies – that are covered in paint and glue (all still wet). But glue, paint and macaroni can only keep a momma going for so long and then we need to tell everyone – again – how hard it all is and how we seem to somehow manage it (cue the wonder woman theme song).
I don’t know about you but I’m really weary of this unhealthy little dance we do. I read a quote on Facebook the other day and I think it should be our new “Mommy Mantra”:
“I am not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.” – Erica Cook
What if we started feeling that way toward other moms? Would that change the way we talked when we’re around them? Or better yet, what if we actually believed that this is how other moms feel too!? Would our need to compete start to fade away? Would we stop acting like motherhood is some sort of game where we spend all our time pushing each other down, changing the rules, setting up booby traps and hoping that we’re left standing at the end? Mommying is so hard – even without the competition. Add in Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and we’re all feeling like failures pretty much all of the time.
Can we all just declare a truce? A mommy truce? Let’s take the time to encourage each other. Let’s spend more time worrying about what our kids think of us and less time worrying about what the stranger in the Target check out lane is thinking about the twelve boxes of lucky charms in our shopping cart. I won’t judge you … you don’t judge me.
Let’s all say this Mommy Mantra together:
Mommying is hard work.
You’re doing a good job.
I’m doing a good job.
Let’s not compete with each other.
I hope we all make it!