Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Mompetition Is Us

Scroll down for this week's Sunday Parenting Party.

First of all, let me say that I did not invent the word mompetition. It popped into my head the other day during one of those moments when I was doing something totally over the top for my kids (like making an elaborate, gluten-free rolled fondant cake in the shape of an Angry Birds Star Wars pigtrooper that no one outside our family was going to see) just to prove that I am a loving mother.

The mompetition is the pressure we moms put on ourselves to measure up--but to who? The moms of the other kids in our kid's class? Our best friends? Our mothers and sisters? Mom bloggers? Our skewed ideas of what a perfect mother should be doing? Our very selves?

I was in my therapist's office the other day, railing about the fact that it never ends: the whole-class birthday parties that have to be planned and pulled off, the Halloween costumes that have to be made or tracked down, the from-scratch cake that has to be made and hand-decorated because it's a tradition--and this is all on top of the pants that still need to be taken in because your kindergartener has been wearing floods for a month, the laundry that constantly needs to be done, the three meals that no one likes that still need to be prepared every single day.

When I stopped to take a breath, my therapist asked me, "were you required to have the whole class over for a birthday party, or did you make that decision?"

All right..I get it.

Who am I really trying to prove something to? Myself.

Would the birthday boy felt just as special had I served a store-bought cake? Yes. Would he have cared if we had taken two friends to Pump It Up to celebrate instead of having a party? Probably not. Would Bug have felt less loved had I come home with a Darth Maul suit for Halloween instead of a Darth Vader one? No.

Do my kids know I love them? Yes. Do they care if I live up to my unrealistic expectations of the perfect mother? I don't think so. Am I a better, calmer mom if I'm not focusing my energy on beating myself up? Ummm...yes.

So, you know what I think? We, as moms, might want to blame our guilt-ridden misery on the other moms, the mom-blogosphere, Facebook, Pinterest, the media, society, and the like, but the truth is this:

The mompetition is me, and I can choose to drop out. Join me.

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party, hosted by Dirt and Boogers, Play Activities, Crayon Freckles, Taming the Goblin, The Golden Gleam, Prickly Mom, and The Tao of Poop. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, and caring for children, as well as honest posts about the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Links to reviews and giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic. All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception: please do not link to posts promoting physical discipline, as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs. (P.S. By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.)

Here are some of my favorite submissions from last week:
  • The Secret Life of a Blogger (Dirt and Boogers). Spoiler alert: Amanda, my esteemed fellow SPP host, reveals a shocking secret...her life is not perfect! My favorite part of her confession is that she Photoshops the background messes out of her photos. High five!
  • November Table Topics (Growing Book by Book). Here's a fantastic list of questions to ask at the dinner table to get everyone talking. I love playing Table Topics at adult dinner parties, and this post has a ton of open-ended questions about gratitude and being thankful that my six- and four-year-old would be able to handle (plus, I was just having a conversation with my husband about teaching the boys to be less self-centered and more cognizant of others. These questions are totally apropos).
  • The Evolution of a Halloween Costume (The Sadder but Wiser Girl). Sarah is a girl after my own heart: why buy your kid a Batman costume for $35 when you can compromise your sanity and play "beat the clock" on the night of October 30th making one for ten dollars less? (BTW, Sarah, you did a great job. But, like me, are you asking yourself if it was worth it? I go through the same struggle every year.)


  1. I agree wholeheartedly! It doesn't help that Pinterest was invented to torment us. I think the pressure starts right from the moment you know you're pregnant and then it's just an obstacle course to do everything that 'needs' to be done to appear as the perfect mom. And it's a never-ending race! #SPP

  2. Pintrest was created by a group of men that wanted their women to cook, clean, and organize and think it was their own idea. It's a conspiracy! ;)

  3. love your post, I'm featuring on SPP this week