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Mommy Olympics ~ Guest Post

March 17, 2010

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

http://www.amazon.com/Mommy-Myth-Idealization-Motherhood-Undermined/dp/0743260465/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262219907&sr=8-1
Mommy Wars
http://www.amazon.com/Mommy-Wars-Stay-at-Home-Choices-Families/dp/0812974484/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262219968&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Behind-Mommy-Wars-Decides/dp/1580051294/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262219968&sr=8-2
The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids

http://www.amazon.com/Was-Really-Good-Before-Kids/dp/081185650X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262210139&sr=1-1

 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.

Rebecca’s Bio:

I am a mom of 3. 2 boy’s and a girl. I work part time out of the home and double overtime at home. I am married to a very patient man who understands that being married to me involves a lot of nodding as if you are listening to me ramble. My children are truly the light of my life. I wish I could freeze frame them a million times a day so I will never forget the many moments that pass during the day.

Visit Rebecca at Letters From Crazyville

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2010 5:20 am

    This is so sad and so very very true. I think at one point or another we all try to one-up each other. So sad because we really are the best allies each other could have. I find this a lot because I homeschool. And when you tell people that they always give you the look that say, “Oh-so-your-kids-don’t-learn-anything-and-are-socially-handicapped”.

  2. March 17, 2010 5:48 am

    What a great post!! I found myself both laughing and agreeing with you!

  3. March 17, 2010 6:00 am

    So very true! As moms we should be supporting each other, because if we aren’t supportive, who will be?

  4. March 17, 2010 8:25 am

    Great post! Yes it would be nice if moms would just get along more and compete less… if we are all honest we all have parts of motherhood that are hard for us that might not be hard for others, so we all win and we all fail.. so time to stop pretending like we are the best and our kids are perfect, they are not!

  5. March 19, 2010 5:47 am

    Excellent! I have been in many different camps over the course of growing/bearing/raising my four children. I have been guilty of the judging and been judged (harshly). it would be far better for all of us if we could…as you say…realize that some choices made for one family may be the absolute best things for THAT family even if you know it would never work for yours. I think being a mother is hard enough (and full of enough guilt) that tacking on the judgment from all the different “camps” is just a bit over the top and unnecessary.

  6. March 22, 2010 9:30 am

    Great post! And you made some very good points. I have found myself looking down to those mothers with say, unruly children when sometimes people may think my children are unruly. I agree we should support each other. A smile never hurts & can often change someone’s whole day.

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