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Aug
05
2009

The Mama Drama


“So your daughter just decided to try out for cheer this year out of the blue?” The woman behind me asked my mother.

I was staring out the glass window in front of me, watching the group of middle school cheerleaders play a game as they wrapped up their practice. My sister was one of the girls in that room. She was a “new girl” having just moved to the area, and far from a veteran on the squad.

“Yep,” my mother answered her casually, not giving in to her snide remarks.

“Oh, well my daughter has been cheering ever since she was seven years old,” the woman continued.

“Is the competition squad down there too mom?” I asked, trying to get the subject off this woman and her daughter.

“Yes and no,” my mom answered. “Some girls from each squad make up the competition team.”

“My daughter made the competition squad but we told her she couldn’t do it,” the woman who couldn’t take a hint kept going. “She’s already on the competition team at her gym, plus the football squad, and with that and school it was just going to be too much.”

I rolled my eyes and sent a Tweet: “Hanging out at my sister’s cheerleading practice but tired of listening to all of these booshey moms. OMG!!!”

Booshey= Stuck up. I asked my mom how she could stand it, and she told me that’s just how moms are. “We’re competitive” she said, so matter-of-fact.

And then I began to think… This competitive attitude didn’t come out of nowhere. And it didn’t start when their kids hit middle school. On previous posts and topics I’ve touched on, such as stay at home moms, working moms, breastfeeding, labor–All topics that get a big response… All from passionate mothers.

It wasn’t the sport of cheerleading that had these mothers tooting their own horns–No, it was The Sport of Motherhood… The most competitive game in the world. From crunchy moms to soggy moms… And even women who aren’t moms… Everyone has something to say.

Come on now, let’s be honest. I’m not even a mom yet and I can see it. I can see it starts before you even conceive a child. Everyone wants to say something about why you don’t have kids… Why you should or shouldn’t. How you’re selfish if you wait, or selfish if you don’t wait.

Then when it’s time to conceive, women want to tell you why it’s taking so long “don’t stress” they say… Yea, right, that’s easy. And then some wonder why you don’t adopt after you’ve been trying so long… To those trying it’s as if they’re saying “give up already.”

Then those who do adopt and don’t adopt are combating eachother for their differences in opinions on the “whys” and “why nots” of their decisions.

Women who deliver their babies naturally and/or breastfeed criticize those who don’t. And even if they’re not guilty of that… Some are convinced their kids are or will be smarter because of it.

Women who pull their newborn from their own womb say they have a connection to their child other women miss out on… While others say they enjoyed those few minutes of peace before holding the being they’ll forever have as their child.

There have been times when I’ve almost mistaken a post about a C-section as a story about a murder. Epidurals described as “drugging your baby.” And I’ve read judgments going the other way saying home births are ridiculously irresponsible.

Had I believed the first blog post I read about babies sleeping alone in their cribs I may have thought it was a crime to allow it–Because of the way it was described.

Some say spankings are a bad form of discipline while others say timeout is a joke.

I’ve had women tell me a woman’s place is at home, and no where else. Then some stay at home moms feel under appreciated and say they work harder than any other mom, while working mothers say saying at home would be a breeze. The arguments don’t seem to cease on either side.

But what I don’t get is the reason for pushing what you believe on others. And making people feel bad for their choices. And why get so defensive when someone doesn’t have the same opinion or lifestyle as you?! WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!

I’ve even had a woman comment to me, saying the pacifier and bottle pictured on the front of the book on my cartoon header “was not crunchy” and that I should probably take it down. Since when did I proclaim myself crunchy? Or a mom? And why the labels anyway?

It’s easy for me to not have a bias now because I’m only facing the facts and opinions in front of me… Versus adding my own personal analytic and experienced opinion. In some ways I think it’s a better place to be, because I can look at all of the options with my eyes wide open. I’ll admit, I ask for advice and feedback now… Though I can’t promise I’ll be asking for it when I’m crossing the bridges into motherhood.

But one thing I will promise… No matter which roads I choose to take in my journey to motherhood, I vow to state my opinions as they are, but not make others feel bad for their choices. I also promise to try to remember that there are multiple sides to all stories, and I’ll try to consider that in my remarks.

Maybe it’s the journalist in me trying to be objective… But I’d like to believe it’s a sense of compassion that we ALL hold for one another… Somewhere deep within.


There is definitely a great divide in the ‘mommy’sphere.

I think that even if you say you won’t be opinionated on things, once you are a mom, it comes naturally.

You are very protective of your precious miracle, and you don’t want anyone to tell you that you are doing or did something wrong.

It’s definitely a pride issue.

I so hope you can stay in the middle about everything and not be opinionated or anything, but I think once you are a mom, things will change.

It did for me.

Lolly says:

Excellent post as always! I HATE HATE HATE pushy moms. It’s like they want you to feel bad about the choices you’ve made for your family. Or, if you’re doing something they agree with it becomes a contest to see who is more dedicated or hardcore about it. Gimme a break.

Jenna says:

Amen, sister. Can’t even tell you how I’ve been berated on message boards and blogs for my mothering decisions. MINE. And you know, it hurts. These people don’t know me. They don’t know my baby. They don’t have my life, my strengths, my weaknesses.

Cynthia says:

I think the topic is even bigger than Motherhood. I think it’s a woman thing.

In general, women who criticize YOUR choices don’t really care that much about your choices and actions. Rather, the act of criticizing is performed to build up and reassure the one doing the complaining that they are right and their own choices are sound.

If someone DOES, okay, WHEN someone tells you you’re doing whatever incorrectly, try and remember that people like to get you to do things the way they do them because it reinforces to themselves that they are ‘right’. The criticism may be directed AT you but it’s not really that much ABOUT you.

And, sadly, you WILL do it- even if you only do it in your mind and keep your opinion inside.

No matter what you do there will always be someone out there who disagrees.

Tania (via SITS)

Marina says:

Gosh….so so true!I love this post…beautifully written! I pray I never become a booshey mom…my poor dottie!

http://energizerbunnysmommyreports.blogspot.com/search/label/BTSC%20Giveaways (Day 4)

We are all different which is one of the things that makes us beautiful. Celebrate the differences. We need to learn to have compassion for each other. I agree. What up with folks?

This has to be your BEST post yet. You summed it up beautifully. To me, the rift between mothers is not about trying to being the best mom or necessarily making others feel bad for not choosing the same things. We all want validation that our choices are the best. So when we visit a blog (or read a magazine, book or episode of The Doctors) we want to hear that the path and methods we chose are the right ones. But this is your blog, a reflection of you and no one else. Anyone who visits and doesn’t see a fit should just leave. The fact that they feel compelled to comment means you have struck a nerve…guilt, jealously, whatever you want to call it. Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing it get to you.

Emmy says:

I think everyone had some amount of compassion in them… unless they are talking about who’s kid is better 😉
It is crazy how insane some parents get. I hope and try really hard not to be that way. If someone is talking about what great thing their kid just did, I try really hard to not follow up with something my child did. I just say that is awesome and move on.
I have found in life, no matter how well you do something there will always be someone that isn’t happy about something.. so just to say eh, who cares!
Love your blog

Erin says:

Beautiful. I pulled my child out of me all on my own, and I cherish every moment I nurse him, knowing in a few months I’ll be back at work pumping. I envy those who can be SAHMs, yet I don’t begrudge those who follow different parenting paths than I do. Sure, I think my choices are the best, but I realize that they are the best FOR ME… and what’s best for someone else might be the exact opposite, and that’s okay.

Mommy Bear says:

I love this post! Every child is different so every mother is going to have different ways of parenting. I make decisions based on what is best for my family and that is all that matters to me.

F.P.E. says:

I completely agree with you. I remember when I was pregnant people not only judged me but they also judged my husband because he wasn’t doing every single thing for me. Um hello, I’m pregnant not handicapped. I can walk to the bathroom by myself.

But anyway, I do have my opinions for my life and that’s it. I can share if someone ask but that’s it. I don’t push my views on someone else because I enjoy my life and I don’t want someone to push their lifestyle on me.

Because moms are so pushy I feel that we woman suffer through the transition of motherhood in silence. This is exactly why I started blogging and exactly why I’m a life coach for moms. Let’s stop telling each other how they should live their life and grab control of our own life. Be there as a support whether you agree or disagree with their decision. If they are not neglecting or being abusive than really what is the big deal.

Jamie says:

Great post. I’ve done things right and wrong and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect. I wish other moms would realize that and see that there are different ways to do things and that none of them are right or wrong. What’s the point in saying mean things to moms for doing something different from the way you do them. The pushy moms should learn to be more accepting of everyones opinion, not just their own. It’s up to the parents to decide on issues like to breastfeed or not to breastfeed (I have 2 kids and bottle fed one and breastfed the other.), to use disposable or cloth diapers (I just started using cloth on my 1yr old), to circumcise or to not, to spank or not… I could go on all day! I respect every mothers choice and don’t think any different of them for the way they raise their own child. MOMS, LETS SUPPORT EACH OTHER INSTEAD OF COMPETING AGAINST EACH OTHER. PLEASE!

Jessica says:

Great post. I have actually found that having more life experience has made me more sympathetic to other’s decisions. For example, I used to look down on women who gained more than the reccomended weight during pregnancy. Then I got pregnant and gained 40+ lbs. I wasn’t trying to, it just happened that way. It was then (and many other similar experiences) that I realized I need to let up on others. Most people are just out there doing the best they can and making the best decision for their families. Who am I to judge that?

There will always be moms who think everyone should do it their way and are judgmental about how others are doing it. There will always be moms who, no matter how gently an opinion is presented, take offense at others having an opinion, even if they don’t push it.

What we are missing, I think, is confidence in ourselves and our decisions. When I feel confident that I’m doing the right thing for my family, I don’t feel pressured by others’ opinions. No matter how judgmental they come off, I don’t stress it.

When I’m unsure of myself, everyone’s opinion matters and I stress and worry and feel picked on. For me, the key is getting in touch with what works for me, and then staying open-minded so I can benefit from other moms experiences.

Thanks for another great post, Jenn.

You hit the nail right on the head! Great post!

I agree that it’s a woman thing, not just a mom thing (or the gals who aren’t moms yet wouldn’t have to put their two cents in).

Women are often not very supportive of women they don’t know. It’s sad – despite varying life circumstances, women have many events in their life that are universal. Think of the community of love and support that COULD exist if we stopped being petty.

It’s so Junior High – I wish we could all pull up our grownup panties and just get along.

You don’t see this problem as much among women who are of retirement age. They get it. They know that none of us get out of this alive, and they cherish and support and mentor other women.

Mallory says:

It is hard to not feel like you have to defend yourself. You want to think you are doing the right thing (even if it is different from what other people are doing, and they think their’s is the right way). We are molding the lives of our children. It’s a huge job. We want to feel validated in our choices.

Down here in Texas, cheerleading and pride are to the extreme. Girls will do anything to cheer!

GypsyFox says:

greta post! & UGH this is still happening? it’s ridiculous!!!! I HATE..LOATHE pushy competing moms..I think the worst ones of all are the moms who put their kids in beauty pageants…makes my skin crawl!

Jenn, I LOVE this post. I am in the same boat as you… learning about motherhood and getting ready for when my time comes. I hate reading the pushy blogs of others making others seem evil for their personal decisions. Not everything works for everyone and that’s an amazing thing – that’s why we all have the choice to do things our way.

agh says:

In July, I guest-blogged about competitive mothering on Momversation (http://momversation.com/blog/motherhood-im-not-competitive-type) and elaborated a little more on my own (http://chaiamwoman.blogspot.com/2009/07/motherhood-im-not-competitive-type.html).

Yes, it IS frustrating and it is prevalent but the good thing to keep in mind is that it’s not EVERY mother. You will find more than a handful that really respect you and the choices you make for your family and that will become your best allies.

SoMi's Nilsa says:

Oh, how this post resonates with me. And not just with motherhood. We can expand this to include men on topics such as religion and politics. Education and health care. Everyone has their own opinion. Everyone thinks they’re right. Everyone should learn to appreciate diversity and find common ground. Oh my!

Rixa says:

I do agree that there is a lot of competition and judging on the internet–but at the same time, a great deal of that might be misconstrued, since we’re not face to face and can’t read the nuances of voice, expression, body language, etc. Fortunately I haven’t found as much competition or judging in real life. Yes, it exists, but overall I’ve had really positive experiences.

I wonder–why do women tend towards judging, or feeling guilty/accused, because of different mothering choices? How do fathers relate to each other with their parenting choices? Hmmmm…

ymw says:

I agree, moms can be really divisive. I think we are just very protective of our babies (and even a little defensive) about our practices. I never knew I could feel so strongly about an issue until DS was born!

Yakini

Kimberly says:

Good plan, I agree!

Tamara says:

Im with you its very interesting to watch the mommy wars from the sidelines. Sometimes I wish I could just sneak into motherhood without crossing the battle lines, but I know that probably wont be possible. I dunno, as long as there are two opposing points of view, there are going to be people who are going to argue, bicker and be snappy about it. Im figuring that its all in how you react and/or respond. I plan on perfecting my calm smile and smooth subject change approach, lol.

Josie says:

Great post! I am competitive when it comes to some things, but only with certain people. For the most part I think moms like that need to shhhhhhh! 🙂

Lauren says:

I think that women in general are just competitive. Well, people in general are, but women aren’t as able to show it as directly. And in this case, helping one’s kiddos to be the best definitely has got to stroke the competitive nature of many a parent, especially if their child is excited about the activity. The parent wants their kid to be happy and doesn’t want them to be disappointed. Sometimes I think they get carried away, but usually I think that it comes from a very good place.

Arya says:

I totally agree…I have found that since having kids most of the mom’s around me are competing with what my kids have or have not done and what they will do or not do. It’s a bit frustrating when I have the mentality that every child is different and has their own gifts and talents. No one is EXACTLY like my kids and my kids are not like anyone else’s. I know when I was pregnant other women were competing with symptoms or how wonderful/stressful the pregnancy was. But it seems to be how most of our culture is, no one wants to be happy unless their child is better then someone elses so they can feel good about themselves and their life choices.

I breastfeed but I have bottle fed too, I think it’s a personal choice not a reason to shun your nose down on someone. Really does it matter if little Jimmy is way ahead of my little Jimmy? Does it matter that you breastfed longer then I did, does that mean my little Susie is going to be dumber because of it?

Can’t we all just get along and enjoy the differences? or do we all need to be the same of better then our fellow mom?

Oh yes, Mama Drama is everywhere. I was most offended by this “assvice” when I was having trouble conceiving. It was hurtful, painful, and sometimes just rude.
Now that I am pregnant, it may be slightly nicer, but it sure hasn’t slowed!
I agree, everyone is different! Good post.

beyondalice says:

Okay…I have no idea what a “crunchy mom” or a “soggy mom” is, but over all…your post is exactly what I believe. I am a firm believer that we should NOT force our opinions on others, no matter what it is. I agree that we are all different, and what is good for one person may be very wrong for another. Well said.

Jess says:

HAHAHA everyone has opinions & they all suck 😛 I try not to be judgemental I mean as long as they are not neglecting or abusing their children & giving them a ton of love then heck thats all I can ask for!

Ana Lee says:

This is a FABULOUS post, you are a great writer.

Jill says:

And us “crunchy” moms get to hear how we are sexually abusing our kids by breastfeeding and cosleeping, that we are some kind of sick freaks who want to endanger our babies by giving birth at home, that we are loony moonrats who believe the government is injecting us with tracking devices because we don’t vaccinate, that we are dooming our sons to a life of celibacy by not making his penis “attractive” by cutting off a part of it, that we are hippy-dippy grass-eaters because we feed our kids organic stuff, etc. etc. etc. Believe me. It’s not just one side against the other. It goes both ways. And to be quite honest, I think the snobbery is most often in the mind of those who feel snobbed rather than actually conveyed. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass how anyone else parents as long as they aren’t endangering their kids, but because I *insert “crunchy” thing here* people apparently think that I believe I’m better than them?

What it boils down to is that arrogant, competitive jerks will always be arrogant, competitive jerks regardless of their parenting style and lack thereof. Instead of writing each other off, we could learn from each other and find the common ground in our differences. I am friends with Rixa and she sent me to your blog, because I just recently wrote about this topic myself. If you want to gander at my take on the subject, feel free to hop on over to keyboardrevolutionary.blogspot.com, it’s the “Feeling Inadequate” post. Hopefully it will give some perspective on how the “other side” feels! 🙂

Unknown Mami says:

Just because there are choices to be made does not mean that one is inherently better than the other. It’s exhausting to be judgmental. Peace!

Peggy says:

You are so on the mark!! I really dislike when Mom’s think their child is perfect and so judgemental of others. The only time a chils is perfect is when they are sleeping!
Support each other and just enjoy life!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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