Driven by Guilt, or Competition

February 12, 2015

As a blogger who's friends with a ton of mommy bloggers, I've seen copious posts over the years about guilt and competitive moms.

The other night sparked a conversation between Jeremy and I about just how far is too far when it comes to kid things. When we were children, granted neither of us are from well-to-do families, we had low key birthday parties. Our Valentine's came from the grocery store. My Halloween costumes came from Wal-Mart. We didn't even eat out that often, McDonald's was a serious treat in our house.

Pre-pregnant you notice this stuff. Pregnant... you really notice this stuff.

Do I love Pinterest? Yes. I even post my own projects and recipes to Pinterest, but at no point do I plan on comparing myself to the bloggers on there with crazy coordinated parties that cost an arm and a leg. In all honesty, most of those type of posts were sponsored anyway and the blogger wasn't really that out of pocket on the expenses.

The smoke and mirrors of blogging and super cute everything are sometimes masked with advertising.

So, like my mother always said, don't get your nickers in a knot.

Crazy mom guilt doesn't seem to end with parties. We all are far too aware of the breast feeding sides, natural labor, home school vs public vs private, and everything else on earth there is to make a decision different from someone else. How after how many hundreds, even thousands of years of people living their lives different from others... and dare I say making decisions that are good for their own family... are we still arguing and comparing about these ridiculous things.

Does it really all matter?

It matters to me if I nurse my baby, what school I send him to, and so on down the list. It doesn't matter what someone else does with theirs. That's their business. We should be able to state in conversation where we stand and get support from other women, just because you differ from me doesn't mean I think you're wrong. It just means you are doing something different for your family.

Heck I'd love to be a stay at home mom, but it isn't in the cards for me. Does that mean that going to work is wrong, or staying home is wrong. No, it just means this is where I'm at in my life.

I guess that's why women baffle me when I hear them say that I won't be able to breastfeed simply because they couldn't. Or the parenting style argument comes up. Lord help us all with the parenting style arguments!

I guess in all I just really appreciate that I have a couple close friends who would support any decision I made, within reason, and they know I'd do that same for them. You need to feel as a woman that someone would go to bat for you. Of course your husband will, but there is something about having that support from someone who doesn't really have to support you.

Would I want my girlfriend who wants to breastfeed to stop, no, but if it weren't working for her I wouldn't bash her for it. My place is simply to say "You're a good mom, do what's best for your family."

We are just so far away from being supportive, support these days seems to mean I'll agree with you if you agree with me.

I don't even agree with Jeremy on every single thing, but I support him. There have been a few times in our marriage when something came up that I didn't agree with, but it wasn't something to fight over.

But I digress...

Why do women compete so much, it's as if we are all in some competition that no one actually knows they are participating in. I see ladies all the time trying to one up a birthday party, spend far too much time on some dumb snack for their kids class, or go painfully out of their way to dress their kid in a way that's "Keeping up with the Jones's."

By the way, the people you are competing with rarely know they've been in competition.

So why not, and I'm saying this to myself as well, take a step back and focus on what really matters.

When this baby is a full blown adult he won't be in therapy because some Bob the Builder birthday party had a homemade cake that wasn't that stellar. What he will remember is time spent together, Dad playing with him, hopefully not my incessant nagging, and things we valued.

I remember a year when my mother paid someone to make my cake, it was a beautiful Beauty and the Beast cake at the worst party ever. It was rained out, as per the usual, and we had to play inside. Some parent suggested we tie balloons to our feet and stomp on them. The winner was the last kid with a balloon. Not only did I sit under the table sobbing as my feet were stomped on by little boys... I cried during the entire birthday song. Just like I did every year.

That's just one memory, the vast majority are of Dad playing in the yard with us. Eating ice cream with Pop before Nanny got home because she had him on another diet. And bunnies, we raised bunnies when I was a child.

My parents just wanted me to grow up to be independent and a good person.

In the end, I just want to look at this child and know that he is as Godly of a man as his father is. I want him to treat his future wife well and be a good father.

I want him to look back on life and know that we had his best interests at heart. We did our best to be the best parents we could.

So why on earth do we stress over Valentine's sent to random 3rd graders, or spend tons of money on a birthday party? Do you really put that much stock into those things that your parents did?

Or do you fondly remember feelings you had, and memories made?

Before you stay up all night taping random candies to Valentine's for a group of children who will only rip it off, eat the candy, and chunk that precious thing you made that cost far too much in printer ink... ask yourself what eternal value it has.

Is it making you a better person? Does it make your child love God more?

Or are you just wearing yourself out to keep up with the Pinterest Moms?

I personally like to sleep far too much to keep up with that.