There’s pressure here, alright. It’s competition. Right here in Mommy City.
I’m not talking about your remarkably delicious newborn vs. her equally charming 20 inch/8lbs of cuteness. Not whose babe first walked or talked nor sang Twinkle Twinkle in its entirely without a lisp.
I’m referring to Moms vs. Moms, and our borderline obsession with “presentation.”
In those early days of mommyhood, it’s pretty much who gives a rat’s patooty what you drape your body in, as long as those limbs are draped in something. If you’ve got the lady parts covered, you’re golden. You’re lucky to be keeping that munchkin of a being alive, let alone run a comb through your ragged hair. Makeup? Oy. Maybe after the 3 month appointment. Just keep it together, girl.
But then something starts to fade. As you begin to move from stage 1 diapers to 2, rice cereal to more solid food, and the realization that the kid is no longer going to sleep just anywhere, something fades into the sunset.
Suddenly, there’s that nagging feeling of expectation to be BACK! Shoot, you’re soooo not back. Your body? It’s going to take some serious Jillian Michaels on Comcast On Demand to get your ass remotely close to the days of yore. Why does your tummy suddenly look like a crinkly leather cushion? And how do you find the time, let alone the remote control under the baby gear, to give even 10 minutes to a workout?
You catch a breather at the doctor’s office, opening up an US Weekly. There, you see celebutante after celebutante who LOST THE BABY WEIGHT IN 4 WEEKS! looking red carpet ready over and over again. Seriously?
Soon, you find yourself in your first Gymboree class, cheering on your tyke, but trying hard not to stare at the seemingly perfections of motherhood in their designer jeans, makeup and…heels?
Robots, you think. Those aren’t real people. They can’t be. Those children’s mothers must have hired hot, robotic caretakers to pool them around in the minivan while they are at home getting the elusive nap (remember napping? Me neither.)
Then come the parties where the invitations alone can bring on an ulcer. Did your own wedding invitation look as classy as this one-year-old’s birthday soiree? Don’t even think about skimping on the favors, food, music, et al. The theme better kick ass too. Princesses, Under-the-Sea, NASCAR, it doesn’t matter, but you better bring it, and bring it hard. Otherwise…
What will the others say?
Who did this to us? And why are we stuck in this sick cycle of doing it to each other?
For now, I’m blaming Tori Spelling and her elaborate bashes for her offspring. Donna Martin should not have graduated if all she would do is bring us this kind of pressure. A tented tennis court with chandeliers, a gardening station where guests create potted plants, a cookie-decorating station, ladybug sprinklers and an ladybug insect zoo. Plus, The Jumpitz on hand to perform songs? I don’t know who The Jumpitz are, but WTH, Donna Martin? WTH?
Getting back to reality, I suppose we all have moments in life where our once healthy confidence takes a nose dive. A minor bump in the road suddenly becomes a brief forray into self-doubt. Unfortunately, these bumps usually lead to a need to compete and strive for an unidentified goal. For moms, society is now accepting our obsession with one-upmanship. Forget keeping up with the Joneses, the focus is mostly on Mama Jones. She’s too fat, too thin, too lazy, too overbearing, too emotional, too aloof, too uptight, too liberal. Too of everything, including my aforementioned hating-on assessment of too fashionable, too detail-oriented and too “perfect.”
Guilty as charged for judgement. Sorry, Spelling.
To combat this shameful problem, I’m suggesting an itty bitty assignment for moms and non-moms out there.
I am going to vow to start showing respect to all the moms. I don’t care if she’s wearing some tattered J-Lo velour jumpsuit that says JUICY on the rear and the JUICY is stretched 15 yards wide. If she is wrangling in those kids, getting them to school (mostly) on time, food on the table, then she is trying. She is WORKING IT, people. Respect.
I don’t care if she threw a party with BPA-filled plastic favors, no food and a lopsided homemade cake that tasted like grass. She is trying. Bow down to the mom!
That’s just it. We are all trying. If you’re not, then, well, we can pity you, fool. But for those of us who are doing the best we can for ourselves and our families, we deserve a universal pass. I’m not saying let yourself go. We should always try to improve upon ourselves–be it physical, spiritual or emotional. I value taking care of yourself so you have the greatest of energy and passion to take care of others in your life. It’s just a helluva lot easier to do it when we support each other.
So moms in the designer jeans and with the tricked-out party invites? Accept my sincerest apology for knocking you. You’re working it too. Just please be sure you’re doing it to feel good about yourself and for your family. Not for anyone else, and certainly not for me.
And when you see me in my stretched out sweats, occasional ratty hair and sneakers, don’t pity me. Give me an approving Mom nod, and hold the door open for the stroller and me.