Please Don’t Go There! What happens when mothers Compete.

Oh, the wonderful world of Competition-Land—have you visited lately? It’s a special place where mothers gather, in groups of at least two or more, to do the male equivalent of the penis swing; only women don’t have penises, which makes it even more annoying and  bizarre.

Today, while I sat waiting for one of my children to complete an extracurricular activity that I shall not name (to protect the privacy of the innocent), a lovely mother sat down next to me.   She was unassuming at first, something I prematurely celebrated as my opportunity to not engage.  Sadly, I couldn’t have been more wrong!   Lovely mom began with polite dialogue, (this how it usually starts)– a bunch of  pleasantries to accompany non-important chitchat (the standard mode for how Competition-Land invitations are sent).  It didn’t take long, however, for me to become guarded– “She’s a professional”, I realized quickly, then I braced myself to take our trip.

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Professional Lovely Mom:  “You look particularly nice today.”

Me in my headWell damn!  I know I come to these practices looking a tad homeless sometimes, but, uh…, who asked you to subliminally point that out!  I wanna tell Lovely Mom to “kick rocks,” but that’s not proper adult etiquette.  I instead, lace my reply with a smile.

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Me outloud: “Thank you. I have to attend a meeting at my son’s school right after this.”

Her:  “Oh, what school does your son go to?”

Me: “He attends Such and Such High.”

Her:  “Do you like it?”

Me:  “Judging from a  parent’s perspective, its okay.  My son seems to like it though.”

Her: “Well let me tell you about the school district where I live.  I love it, my kids love it, my husband loves it, my mom loves it, our dogs love it, the neighbors whose kids graduated from there 20 years ago love it………………………” Lovely mom’s list of love goes on and on!

Me in my headLady!  Why are you telling me this?  I…..Truly…… Don’t….. Care!!!!

Me outloud:  Crickets.  I do, however, nod with interest (I’m pretty sure I’m still wearing a smile.)

HerSo how many of your kids are in school?

Me:  “Just him.  I homeschool my others.”  Then I run down their grade levels at her request.  This takes me a minute to remember, because homeschool grade levels are fluid—but I’m definitely not getting into that methodology with her.  She’s a Shark–with them it’s best to keep answers short and sweet.

HerOh! (She pauses)  Wait. So you don’t work?  It’s like an epiphany has popped into her head. She gives me a half smile and I know immediately that we’ve arrived—unfortunately Competition-Land is not sunny today— it’s cool and replete with a breeze!  I don’t like it there and want to go home, but Lovely Mom isn’t done with me yet!

Her again:  “Well, how good for you!”  And there it is—what no visit to the Land would be whole without: the fake camaraderie, the feigned happiness, and the “I’m not judging you,” nod.  We sit in awkward silence for a few seconds– to mentally hurl onto the other a few unpleasant thoughts.  Then, just like in the movies, when the superhero comes just in the knick of time, my child exits from (unsaid) activity and I am much too happily saved—until next time, that is………

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Trying to pinpoint Competitive-Land!

I’m not sure why mothers all over the planet continue to visit this land—it’s not sunny like California, or picturesque like Maine;  Each time I’ve been, its contrary, and rainy the way it is in Seattle and too damn hot, akin to Florida after May.  Plus, there’s that annoying requirement to compare what we do as mothers and the accomplishments (or lack thereof) of our kids.  The only problem is, there are just too many variables, too many personalities, and too many paths in life to ever declare a winner!  The trip typically ends up fruitless and everyone usually leaves the same–I never get the point!

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The land of non-judgment and neutrality– What a truly beautiful place!

So– I’m suggesting a solution: I think life would be much better if mothers just shut the whole place down;  we should all agree to stop visiting altogether and to refrain from inviting other moms there.   Just imagine, if mamas everywhere banned together, we could start a revolution by implement something beautiful and new.  I’m thinking, instead of Competition-Land, we could take our mom friends (and the acquaintances we meet at unsaid practices) to Switzerland, maybe.  By all accounts, I hear the place is filled with lush mountains and that the air is crisp and clean.  Best of all about Switzerland, though, they say you never have to pick a side!  No mom judgement!  No defensiveness! No hostility!  No grief!  Yes, I think Switzerland just might work, and next week, when I see Lovely mom, I’m going to try and take her there!

 

 

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80 thoughts on “Please Don’t Go There! What happens when mothers Compete.

  1. I discovered mom competition when I had my twins and I really dont like it. But I guess what I really hate is mummy shaming, especially on social media. Thanks for such a great post!

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  2. I am not a mum yet but I do agree that mothers should not compete. It creates an undue pressure on oneself to “succeed” as a mother and also on the child.

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  3. I don’t have kids, but as a woman, I know how many women still try to compete with another in 2018. It’s almost 2019, can’t we all just band together to support one another instead? We’d all be so much better off.

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  4. This is such a great post and very informative. I’ve totally agree with you on this. Let’s not be judgmental, we must always find what’s good in others not the bad ones.

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  5. I don’t have children, so I can’t comment on that aspect, however I think Competition Land is, was and will always be for everyone. We just have to rise above their insecurities and move on.

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    1. Cindy I agree. We can’t get away from living in such a competitive world. Maybe we can make small changes though, one mom at a time– at least that’s what I aim to do. In the meantime, we can all take your advice though, leave those who insist on competing to their own insecurities. It’s about them, not us, anyway!

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  6. I think the Mommy competitions happen because we feel guilty about ourselves and what we have going on in our life. I have learned that I can only be me. I will be the best version of me, better than the me I was on yesterday!

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  7. I know too well what you are talking about! I hate that kind of competition-mom-chat! I run away as soon as it happens near to me! Not later than this morning, there was a group of moms at the school competing for who prepared the healthiest breakfast that day. I wave “have a good day” and left asap!

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  8. Girl, lately i live for the chance to let someone know I don’t care or didnt ask! I just say im private and don’t chit chat or make up witsec stories or something. Like, oh you got a promotion at work and want me to celebrate you even though we just met and you negatively commented on my top? I just punched an alien invader in the face then passed his body over to the gals at Sephora for a free makeover and we’re getting tea next week to discuss our differences.
    I have no issue with one uppers thibking im crazy bc id rather sit with headphones jamming anyhow. Hahahaha smiling and nodding feels like an injustice to myself these days!

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  9. Honestly this is so awesome, thank you for talking about this.This is totally a thing in mommy culture and they should be sticking together, not competing! xx

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  10. Personally, I don’t like competitions. We should treat each other the same way. We should learn how not to judge other people.

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  11. I must say your writing style is creative, you might want to tap into that field seriously. Competition is sad, especially with moms. They claim to support you but they don’t indirectly. You have to keep your business to yourself, funny story!

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    1. Wow, thank you for the compliment, that is absolutely my goal. As for living in a competitive society– I agree that it’s way out of hand. Mothers are just jumping on the competition bandwagon right along with the kids and it’s unnecessary and sad!

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  12. i think moms should life other moms up at all times. It really is a tough job and the bigger crowd you have routing you on, the better.

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  13. I have found it easier to assume that people have the best intentions. It makes life easier. If for some reason that doesnt work because I’m in a mood, I make a joke of it. So “you don’t work” would have turned into “You have to work? Oh my how unfortunate…. excuse me” . People can compare all they want it has nothing to do with me.

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    1. You know, I agree wholeheartedly that sometimes we can take things the wrong way because of our own internal stuff. I’m pretty sure some of that might have been going on in this situation, because I have conversations like this all the time and they roll off my back. This one irritated me though. I agree also that it’s always funny to just flip the conversation around when they get like this– I’m just not that good at that though. LOL

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  14. I can definitely see why there’s a need to compete but it probably isn’t always a good thing. Love the way you wrote this too

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  15. This is good. I really enjoyed this post. Competition-Land isn’t just for mothers though. Women all around the world, mothers and not, visit Competition-Land for no good reason. Competition-Land should be a friendly place, where friendly competition happens – the kind where each party learns something and improves upon themselves – rather than leaving one party feeling hateful or ashamed toward themselves.
    Thank you for the good read Kisha!

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    1. Yes Brooke, there are times when healthy competition is good and I am all for that. I just wish we’d lay off the competition at times, especially when there isn’t a need ore when only one person is competing. Also, thank you so much for the compliment. It’s appreciated.

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  16. Great read! You made me laugh out loud. It’s so hard not to compare our kids to others, but we really shouldn’t do it. It’s not a competition. I agree, we need to get the heck out of Competition-Land!

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    1. I couldn’t agree more. We must be our own measuring stick and forget about what others are doing. We’ll only ever be great living our lives our way anyway, so why bother comparing it to others– it’s a waste.

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  17. #bancompetitionland … I totally dig it! Plus, one day you may end up in the other person’s shoes so no need to compete. I’ve been a SAHM ~and~ working mom. They’re both equally challenging in different ways. And at each point of my life, I would’ve chosen the exact same path without question. Everyone just needs to respect everyone else’s choices and chill. You should start that hashtag on Twitter.

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    1. Hey, that sounds like a plan #bancompetitionland!!! But, also, you’re right, we just never know what life is going to throw at us. It’s better to be quiet and learn from others so we’re prepared for whatever situations come our way.

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  18. some mothers just don’t grow up and thinks mommying is still high school. just do your thing and what you know is best for your kids. don’t mind them. they just need others to feel little so they can lift themselves up. pssh!

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    1. Right, that is exactly what it is. If I convince you, or myself, or anyone else that the way I do things is better, then I feel better. But, at the end of the day, It’s all a facade and I choose not to buy into it or play the game.

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  19. Jeez, this happens to me all the time. “It must be so nice that you can stay home with your kids” and “Oh you are so lucky!” while going on and on about how far up they’ve moved up the corporate ladder and how “bored” they would be at home with their kids.

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    1. Yes, I’ve gotten this a lot over the years and it can be very annoying, but not so much anymore. I think that’s why her comment took me aback so– I wasn’t expecting it and it lends to the rivalry of SAHM’s and WM’s that I just don’t subscribe to, so I wasn’t prepared.

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  20. This is a post that every mother out there can relate to! It is for this reason that I often choose to sit away from pretty much every other mom at times, lol!

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    1. Awww, well maybe instead of competing you can just tell her how much you admire her, I’m sure she’d love to hear it, and she might just tell you some of the same. Couldn’t hurt to make a change. I’m sure both of you are wonderful moms.

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  21. This is such an awesome post. I’ve always wondered why moms are constantly judging each other and rating what they’re doing. Dads just look at each other and say, “They’re breathing. We’re good.”

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