Life with Coco and Gigi... and Jack-Jack too!

Life as a Mom, A Homesteader, A Blogger and A Wife.

How do I stack up

In the wake of last weeks discussion on finding time for myself I have spent some time thinking about WHY do we feel all of this pressure. Is it watching previous generations? Is it self-imposed? Is it media influenced? I am not certain but I have some thoughts I wanted to "get on paper".

I feel like we, as women, have the inherent need to compare ourselves to those around us. To take stock of how we are doing based off of what others are doing. I have always prided myself on not caring what others think. I was hardly ever teased as a kid because I didn't care that much. I did my own thing throughout my college experience. I never felt like I needed to "stack up". And then I had kids.

Suddenly the comparisons about who has their child in the best playgroups and activities began. Whose kid crawled first... who has the most season passes to the zoo, aquarium, art museum, etc... whose kid spoke the most... and on and on. It makes you feel so small. Like you can't possibly do it all. The daily comparisons. You work and you need to spend more time with your kid. You stay home and you don't contribute enough. You work from home and you don't give enough to either. It feels like such a lose-lose. Having a passing conversation with another Mom at the bus stop can have you asking yourself why you don't do a craft a day or let your kids paint on the living room wall.

Why is it that we have to struggle with these things? Why do we feel like we have to measure ourselves against a non-existent standard? Who in the hell even created the standard anyway? The biggest question is how do we break away from these shackles? How do we find a way of supporting each other as women whether we work, stay at home or do both?

5 comments:

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

I have the exact opposite experience as you. I spent my youth and 20s trying to impress others and be someone I am not. In my late 20s I started to have these epiphanies about living my one truth. I chased happiness and eventually found it. By the time my daughter came along I felt so free from those outside and internal pressures.

Why do I not care so much what others think? I guess because I am so happy with my husband and daughter that I keep thinking I must be doing it right. Of course I get petty like everyone else from time to time, but that pettiness tends to creep in when I get stressed and are not exercising enough.

I am constantly judged within my community. We are agnostic liberals living in a right-wing, fundamentalist Christian community. I am often lectured about the perils of only having one child--most families in our neighborhood have 3+ kids. I am chastised for not attending church, etc. Even though we don't fit in, we still feel right and good in our home and hearts. I wish that for everyone, especially for those who would judge me. And that too makes me happy.

~Anon C

Michelle 12:49 PM  

It's funny, I was talking to my Mom about last week's conversations (on your blog) and boy was she fuming! She said she (and her mother) had the same pressures that we have today. She said she felt the pressure to put me in ballet and my brothers in soccer, etc. Apparently, not much has changed. We've been struggling as mothers for a long time...

I'm not sure how to word this but I don't think I compare myself to other Moms, rather, I'm inspired by them. For instance, if one of my Mom friends can seemingly do it all and still look good at the end of the day then why can't I? Or maybe I'm in denial about comparing myself b/c what I just wrote sounds like the same thing, eh? Either way, it's the same outcome - stress, feeling overwhelmed, etc.

Anon C - I TOTALLY relate to trying to live as agnostic liberals in a right-wing Christian community. Somehow, we, too, have managed to make it work this long so we must be doing something right :-) I just wish there more of you where I live b/c I could use some more like-minded friends here!

Kristen 2:20 PM  

To both of the comments... you made me realize how lucky I am to live in such a diverse area. No one is judged for the amount of children they have or the religion they practice. We have a little bit of everything here. :D So that is my something to be thankful for today. ;D

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. I love getting so many points of view!

Plant Girl 3:49 PM  

I really believe that the development of technology has driven us to compare ourselves and our families to others. TV's came into our living rooms and all the sudden moms/wives had to measure up to June Cleaver. Dads felt like they needed to be Jackie Gleason.

Now with the internet, IM's, text messages, youtube, and a gazillion television channels we're BOMBARDED with everyone else's business. Instead of taking a minute to think about what makes our family work and makes our family happy, we find it easier/quicker to just measure ourselves against others.

There is no scale. There is no definitive measurement as to what makes us good moms. The only measurement is that every day we do our best, we strive to make our husbands, our children and ourselves happy and in doing so we all look forward to what lies ahead.

As for how we change it, I have no idea. But I certainly wish that we could all be more accepting of others, their lifestyles and the choices they make. I'm not the Jones', I don't want to be them. I just want to be who I am and be content with that. It would be nice if everyone else was content with that too.

Kristen 8:54 PM  

M - Amen sister!

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Over 8 years we have struggled through 3 IUI's, 6 rounds of IVF, several RE's, hundreds of appointments and the loss of three little angels. Now we find ourselves the proud parents of two perfect little girls and a wonderful little boy!!

Both of our girls struggle with some disabilities but that won't keep us down. Each day has it's own brand of insanity but we love it. Most days I am more monkey wrangler than mother but I do the best I can. Todays goal - getting to tomorrow.

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