Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mommy Olympics

Today I am departing from my usual child whinefest to write an open letter to mommy's everywhere about a subject we are all aware of but refuse to talk about. I call them the Mommy Olympics.

The Mommy Olympics is a series of races we began to compete in once we even thought about having children. The first competition, who would get the first dose of baby dust, who would be the first to get the stick to turn blue, make 2 lines, beep, scream whatever your stick (or sticks) did to alert you that you have won your first medal in the Mommy Olympics. Once you mastered this first feat, you were able to move into the Olympic village of Mommyhood. From our warm cozy village, we watched as some of our friends, no matter how hard they trained could not grasp the gold medal of pregnancy. We felt sad for them, we worried about our medal's shine and how that shine felt each time they saw us each time we grew into a new uniform. Some of our friends finally grabbed the gold and moved into the village with us. As the village grew we began to see that the competition was stiff and the decisions to be made could have lasting impact on our pursuit of medal status. The questions and silence our answers sometimes brought ( It's OK to have the tuna right?) made us question our athletic ability (we are all in this together right??) The questions and doubts begin to pile up, small glass of wine? Drugs or no drugs? Birth in the hospital, birthing center, home, bathtub, woods, jungle, at sunrise at sunset. The choices were dizzying, if I make the wrong move will I lose?

But we have our fellow mommy's right? We are all in this together, we are all on the same team. Well, maybe not, it seems like we should be but suddenly you see camps forming within our Olympic village. Now we are like distant countries, huddled together to try and beat the other side to the gold. Perhaps the stress of 9 months of vomiting, stretching, not sleeping and 1 too many bowls of Apple Jacks has taken it's toll. Once we finish this next marathon we will be able to regroup and our team will heal.

So after many month's we move out of the village one by one as our next medal makes it's arrival, screaming all the way home.

Now that we are though the hard part, these Olympics must be over, we will all go back to the team we were.

Unless you, go back to work or stay home or breastfeed or bottle feed or breast and bottle feed, if you use a pacifier, if you don't, if you let them cry it out, if you rock your medal to sleep or GASP if sleep with your medal. The judges table never seems to be satisfied no matter how hard you try.

These mini competitions never seem to end, the stakes keep rising and the medals become even more difficult to attain. Eating, crawling, sitting up, walking talking singing, dancing, jumping running, whatever skill it is there is a who did it first, Pre-School, when did YOU start? "Ohhh she's not potty trained yet hmm, well she won't go to kindergarten in a diaper will she." Activities, "well, I had Muffy in dance, music, violin, and drivers education at 18 months, you can never start to early when Harvard is a stake." School, public, private, hold them back a year, start on time, it never seems to end. Conventional, Organic, local, homemade and that is just for baby food.

What is my point to all this bitching and moaning? It is really not a point, it is a question. Why?

It seems like the group of people who should be the most supportive of mother's is the least. The Mommy Olympics has changed the sisterhood of women we were. We secretly judge each move another mom makes. Are we really that insecure in our abilities as mom's that we have to rat our other athletes out for steroid (or McDonald's for dinner) to the judges?

Does it really matter if we work, stay at home, home school, private school, make our baby food or hand loom with Organic cotton each frock our darlings ever put on their precocious bodies? Or does it matter that we can make decisions that work for us, work for our families and our children and know without judgment we have a squad of Olympic caliber athletes standing behind us to cheer us on and help us to reach the most desired medal of all, happy, healthy well adjusted children (that grow up and move away so we can have lunches that once again involve wine).

Don't get me wrong, I know that there are mom's who are the best support another mom could want. I have some of the best mom's I know as my friends and could not do my job without them but we are in the same Olympic village, we pretty much have the same viewpoints. I am talking about mommyhood as a whole. I am guilty of judging other mom's ( I have become much less judgy after my 3rd child who has totally pushed me over the edge of sanity) I am talking about the mom you see at Starbucks with 1 child and a nanny in tow, the mom who drops her kids off at daycare in the morning and picks them up at dinner, the mom who has a medical degree but gave it all up to stay home and run carpool, the business woman who now runs book fair like it's a Fortune 500 company. The mom's who don't do things the way we do, or the way we think they should.

You may not agree with me and you may live in Mommyutopia but there must be something to it. There have been several excellent books written on the subject.

Maybe check one out:

The Mommy Myth

Mommy Wars

The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids

The next time you look down at your nose at that mom in Target with 3 kids all in their pajamas eating lollipops and slushes at 10 AM, don't judge, her, she is in this with you and would really appreciate a supportive smile, you know, I have been there before


Tricia said...

ok Rebecca.. I hope you are READY for this... cause here comes my comment.. BRAVO!! you said what all of have thought but have been too chicken to say.. trust me i have been in the Olympic village for a long time. you are my hero. Thanks :o)~

Danifred said...

Nice job B! My neighbor and her 3 year old were over today and we were talking about all of the preschool drama in our little town... it's ALLLLL about the competition.
(And I'll be emailing you about that homeschooling business. You've got my wheels turning like crazy!)

renee said...

loved this. we are supposed to be supporting each other and yet so many are just out to tear everyone else down to make themselves feel better. we all (as mothers) need to be confident in our own descisions and forget about everyone elses OPINIONS!

Shell said...

I totally agree with you- new follower here!

Crazed Mama said...

Thanks everyone! I guess I really hit a nerve, had a lot of feedback on Facebook also. Hmmm, I am thinking about my next post, maybe I will blow the cover on some more of our dirty little mommy secrets!
Also, welcome and thanks to all my new followers!