Tuesday, October 9, 2007

...all their toys are educational...all their snacks are multi-grain

A few weeks ago, I posted on my blog about competitions between moms:

"I have been more aware lately that there are lots of moms who feel like they have to keep a perfect house and their kids have to have perfect outfits, and they have to participate in an organized activity every day, etc. It seems like a competition, and I don't really understand how it got started.

"Stone Soup" got me thinking about this topic. Joan is lamenting about a fellow mom and says, "How do other women do it so effortlessly?" and "Her kids are totally Baby Einstein...all their toys are educational...all their snacks are multi-grain..."Does everyone's house stay immaculate all the time? Do we all cook healthy, organic homemade meals every night of the year?

Our house is not always clean, crumbs fall on the floor, laundry piles up. Sometimes I don't comb my son's hair. My kids do own cute outfits, but most of the time they dress themselves. Sometimes I wish I would be more assertive, like when my youngest son wears his orange t-shirt with the brown monkey on it which is WAY too small for the 1,000th time, but then again, who really cares? It's just a shirt. Isn't it?

The thing is, if anyone seems like they've got it all together and they never struggle, then they're just better at hiding it than most of us are."

I'm revisiting this topic today and wondering how many of us have put on the performance of being a perfect mom. Is it easier to join the competition than to step back from it? Do we have to compare ourselves to others or compare our kids to other kids?

I struggle with two things in particular (I had to narrow it down for this post- none of you would want to read my extensive list):

1. My house. I like to live in a clean house, particularly one with a clean floor. I admit that I spend too much time cleaning, and I clean extra before we have guests. I admit to the cleaning (I don't pretend it's always that clean, no one would believe me) but why do I do it? Just for appearances?

2. My temper. I would like others to think I never lose it. I would love to never get angry. Think how easy parenting would be if we never, ever became frustrated or irritated! That is my fantasy!! The fact is, my friends and family know I have a short fuse. They know I work hard at it, but I fail.

We all have unique gifts. We're all multi-tasking moms (not supermoms). We all love our kids! Why do moms compare/compete? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Alissa said...

This is the first time I've read your blog and I really like it. I'm definately not the mom with the super clean house. I do well for a while, then it piles up on me again. I don't know why we compete. I try really hard not to, but it's definately a problem that exists. Luckily, I have really great mom friends. I bug them all the time for advice and they always give it without being overbearing. I read a term in Woman's Day that you would probably like. It was "sanctimommies", those mommies who are on their high-horse about their sugar-free, blah, blah, blah kids. My hang up is that if that's how you want to raise your kids that's your business, but don't feel the need to look down on everyone who doesn't do it your way.

Christy. said...

I loved your post Dawnelle. I struggle with the competition thing as I think most of us moms do. We can always find someone calmer, cleaner and "healthier" than us but we can also find someone who struggles more than us, it's the beauty of the gifts that God has given us, like you said.
On your comment about cleaning for others. My mom used to always tell us girls when we didn't want to clean up when someone was coming over that we did it to show respect. Cleaning the house before someone comes over shows them that we care enough to prepare our home to be welcoming. I use that same concept at my home. My home is never perfect but I want it to be a place where people come and relax, feel comfortable and at peace, a clean house creates that.
I think moms compare because it makes us feel better. Being a mom isn't exactly instant gratification. But, when we compare, we see ourselves as a success and that is a form of instant gratification. I find myself guilty of this.
When I was younger and my mom would be scolding us and the phone would ring she would turn her voice back to her perfect english accent and gently say, "hello". We would tell her that she was being hypocritical. She told us that she would not punish the caller for what was going on in private at home. I think this is a good lesson for our mothering. Just because we are proper and controlled in public doesn't mean we are putting on a show that we are perfect. We need to respect and honor our kids in public and private but sometimes we fail, we are sinners! Not punishing the public isn't fake, it's polite!
Sorry for the long comment, I guess I am passionate about this topic. :0)

weavermom said...

I can relate to this post! Dr. Phil has a saying "We compare our private lives to other people's public lives." I think this is true.

I find that when I don't "compete", then I'm judged for that too! It's exasperates me - but I have no control over it.

I do my best to please GOD, and to ignore all the rest unless directly confronted. Some days I succeed, other days - not so much.

Momma Roar said...

This is such a great post Dawnelle! And I really enjoyed reading what the others added as well. Especially the Dr Phil comment - I never thought about it that way before.

Great topic!!

Nesting Momma said...

I just love this blog. Just found ya'. I am a SAHM, WAHM and HS so I can use all the advice I can get. hehe

I linked back!

Lori said...

Great post.
I don't understand it either why everything has to be such a competition. I just mind my own business/tend to my own. Ya know what I mean.

kdwhorses said...

This post was great, enjoyed it very much. I feel some/most days I am doing my best to stay afloat! With 2 kids and all there things! Main things I concreate on are: laundry and cooking great meals. Other than that I pick it up in my down time! So no, my house is not super clean, it is lived in! I welcome anyone to my house at anytime, just do not expect to eat off the floor!