When you're pregnant, especially if you're among the first of your friends to go, you will inevitably hear about all the new mom friends you will make.
Yeah, good luck with that.
From almost the moment I walked out of delivery, I was greeted by competition: "My baby could sit up and speak Swahili at 4 months!"; envy: "You must just have a really fast metabolism. Most moms take 10 years to lose the baby weight"; sanctimony: "Oh my. It must be lovely to have the time to get pedicures but since I'm busy actually caring for my children, I let my toenails grow wild and yellowed"; snobbery: "Are you the nanny or the mommy?"; and passive aggression.
This video sums it up quite nicely. But where are our answers? Why are moms so keen to cut one another down?
Every day in the park, I see the new moms tentatively approach the veterans, trying to make conversation and I see this happen. On my moms' Listserv, women make subtle (and not-so-subtle) digs at one another almost constantly.
A few weeks ago, one mom wrote a post telling the rest of us something she had seen at the park -- a child being mistreated by a daycare center in the area of town in which many of us use childcare -- that was very upsetting to her. In the moment, she did nothing to stop it, but that did not stop her from posting about it on the list.
Perhaps she had misinterpreted the situation. Anything is possible. But it read to me like an excuse for sanctimony and the crowd split. Working moms were mostly furious and stay-at-home moms were on her side. "We would never put our children in childcare" was the message.
Did the original poster know it? Probably not. She probably had good intentions. But among mommies, good intentions almost always lead to anger and competition.
I have made a couple incredible mom friends (see photo), but they're harder to come by. Meanwhile I have met dozens and dozens of moms who find so many new ways to cut one another down. It's here as well. Post anything that others don't agree with and the insults fly.
There is no good reason for it. We all love our children and want the best for them, but we all have different interpretations of what that might be. One doesn't have to be wrong for the other to be right. We moms tend to forget that.
For women who were successful in business who quit to stay home with their children, it makes sense. That sense of competition has to go somewhere, right? When we make our children our entire world, though, it seems like we do both them (helicopter parenting, anyone?) and ourselves a great disservice.
The friends I love the most are the ones with whom I can momentarily remember who I was before kids, the ones with whom I can talk about sex and movies and politics. The one with whom I can laugh and gossip.
She is not the competi-mommy at the park.
Have you found competi-mommies hard to deal with?