Some moms fall into the Mommy Olympics because they pour too much of themselves into being a mom. In the process of becoming a mom, they give up all the things that used to make them feel good about themselves. They perceive that nurturing their own interests and passions is selfish. Just because you are now a mom does NOT mean that everything needs to be about the baby. Neglecting your own needs and interests will turn you into a bitter, resentful, and completely un-calm mom! Gradually incorporate some of your old activities and interests into your new lives. When you bring back these activities that used to make you feel good about yourself, you won’t feel the need to compete with others about how you are doing as a mom.
Archive for October, 2008
New Moms and Their Friends – Calm Mom Tip #2 for resisting The Mommy Olympics: Remember that all of your self-worth can’t be about being a mom.Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
New Moms and Their Friends – Calm Mom Tip #1 for resisting The Mommy Olympics: Accept that being “good enough” is just fine.Sunday, October 5th, 2008
One of the hardest lessons to learn as a new mom is that you cannot maintain the perfectionistic standards that you might have had prior to becoming a mom. Something has got to give when you have as much on your plate as you have when you are a new mom. It is a huge relief to tell yourself that being a “good enough mom” is great. Accept that once in a while you will lose your temper, feed your baby something junky to eat, or realize that you haven’t given your baby a bath in well, several days. Hey, it’s okay! Do you provide your baby with love and warmth? Do you feed him and keep him (relatively) clean? Do you provide a stimulating environment with books, some educational toys, fresh air, and interaction with other people? If you have answered yes to these questions, you are doing a “good enough” job — and that’s pretty great!
Becoming a new mom can bring out a competitive streak in even the most modest person:
Do I have the coolest baby gear?
Is my baby developing as rapidly as the other babies we know?
Am I losing my baby weight fast enough?
Will people look down on me because I want to go back to work?
The potential topics for competition among new moms are endless.
Why do moms tend to be so competitive (a phenomenon we call “The Mommy Olympics”)?
First of all, no one wants to be an “average” mom: If there is ever a job that we don’t want to be “just average” at, it’s motherhood. This desire to be the “perfect mom” or the “best mom” can propel new moms into competition with other new moms. Furthermore, motherhood is a job with few grounds for evaluation – we don’t earn a salary, there are no prizes for “best performance,” and our little customers (i.e., our babies) can’t even say “thank you”. Without these external sources of evaluation, moms can feel at a real loss for how they are doing. Comparing ourselves to other moms can help us judge how we are doing.
Here are a few other musings on why moms tend to be super-competitive with one another:
-Past behavior predicts future behavior: Have you always been highly achievement-oriented? Did you push yourself to get into the best schools? Did you always go above and beyond to do great at your job? Did you want to find the greatest husband and have the nicest house? Well, if this is your personality style, chances are you will channel this achievement-orientation into motherhood too. Only in this case, you want to be the best mom AND you want your kids to be the best too.
-All moms want to provide the best for your kids: It is perfectly normal for new parents to want the best for their kids. The only problem is that new parents often equate “the best” with material possessions. They want their kids to have all the hot educational toys, the cutest clothes, the coolest gear, the “healthiest” food. People believe that these purchases will translate into a promising future for their little ones. They also believe that other people will perceive them to be better parents if they have all the right stuff.
-Concern about making a good impression: When we have a new baby, we tend to meet a lot of new potential friends. Because having a new baby can be rather isolating and lonely at times, women can feel almost desperate to make new friends who are in the same boat as us. This can also bring on feelings of competition. We might worry that our baby is dressed in the right clothes, that we have the hottest stroller, that we have lost all our baby weight and so on so that we are accepted by these potential new friends.
-Feelings of low self-worth: People tend to fall prey to competition when they don’t feel great about themselves. Sadly, many new moms don’t feel great about themselves because learning to become a new mom is such hard work! When women reassure themselves that they are the thinnest among their group of friends or that their babies have the greatest toys or the cutest clothes, it might really be an effort to make oneself feel worthy and adequate in one’s new role as “mom”.
We have compiled some super tips to help you sit out from the Mommy Olympics!