I hate that being a mom is a competition. There are so many situations in which I’m just trying to keep my little
dictators humans alive that it takes all I have. When I begin to compare myself with other moms, it just gets exhausting. At some point in the past few years, I’ve decided to stop competing in some of the mom games:
1. Valentine’s Boxes
Have you seen some of these amazing things moms and dads come up with? (Because you know that a 6 year old isn’t doing the pinterest-worthy work it takes to make the Magical Unicorn Rainbow Mermaid from Galaxy Starburstia.) I have 3 kids. Let’s assume they have 20 kids in their classes and they can’t just hand out cards with their names on them. Nope. They have to write the name of each classmate on them too, which means I have to write the names of each classmate on them so it is legible. 60 Valentines, plus whatever candy or trinket or whatever they decide goes with it. I also have an affinity for sleep and food, so most of our nights consist of eating dinner and going to bed, as well as homework, so I refuse to stay up until 11pm making a Pinterest Fail Valentine’s Box. At this point, I’d love to interject and say a million blessings to my kiddos’ current school for having them decorate paper bags at school so there is no pressure to do boxes. I’ll send stickers every year, buy extra snacks for the party, whatever is asked that doesn’t include those boxes.
2. Christmas Gifts
Teachers, please expect a gift card or sharpies or various other classroom supplies that other teachers and/or my kids have told me you enjoy. They may or may not come gift wrapped. Friends and Family, if it shows up in a gift bag, you’re lucky. If it shows up with 2 different kinds of wrapping paper on it, clearly pieced together, know I gave it my all. My kids still believe in Santa so I spent countless hours trying to hide (and remember where I hid) gifts, wrap gifts and re-hide them, wrap and coordinate gifts for family, friends, teachers, coworkers/staff, etc. I thrive in “organized chaos” but it turns out that the holidays are more just Chaos, so this is another area where beautifully wrapped gifts with coordinating bows and ribbon is something I’d love to have but alas, never will.
My kids have incredibly generous family and often get gifts of name brand clothes. It is amazing and glorious and the resell value makes me pretty happy. I, however, have an affinity for Walmart leggings, Target hoodies and buy a vast majority of their entire wardrobes at Rhea Lana’s. Do you know how many pairs of jeans my son can go through in a year? Growth spurts and holes in the knees will kill your clothing budget. And he clearly doesn’t care yet. When the time comes that my kids care about the clothes they wear enough to request name brands, we’ll be having bigger discussions about money management and how they can buy some of their own clothes (or, ya know, grandparents…).
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I feel like there are areas where I will “compete” such as my daughters’ hair. For birthday parties, Father Daughter dances, etc. I’ll try a fancy updo, an Elsa Braid, etc. Because I’m capable of doing it and because I can whip it out in 10 minutes. If it wasn’t enjoyable and I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t. Case in point; every morning before school. They brush it, I’m scrambling to get myself and 3 kids out the door, so they go to school with nothing fancy and often half-brushed hair. I’ve learned to live with this, which is very different from the mom I was just a few years ago.
The mom competition is just added stress in our already overly-busy lives. I highly encourage every overly-busy mom (so….every mom.) to take a second and think about the things you do that you don’t have to. Embrace what you enjoy. And maybe consider joining me in being sub-par at some aspects of momming 🙂