Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Nursery Olympics

Competitiveness is in our nature as human beings. We find things that should be pleasant pastimes and turn them into sporting events (i.e., competitive eating). I am not surprised to note that parents are competitive as well. We have all heard stories of Stage Moms and Little League Dads. As a teacher in a private school, my students are expected to perform inside and outside the classroom; many have several hours of athletic practice every day, plus music lessons, as well as SAT camp -- all in middle school! As I think all parents do, I vowed that I would never push my child in the same aggressive way and become one of those parents.

This vow lasted a full four days. It was just that short amount of time before I fell into the trap of "Competitive Mommying". For four days after Teddy was born, I resigned myself to the fact that I was fated for a c-section since he was so big (specifically, he had a big head -- Thanks, Ted!!!). Then, while still in the hospital, I heard about another woman who delivered a ten-pound baby vaginally... without pain medication. While this is certainly not a feat I would personally like to emulate, I suddenly felt like a loser in the Mommy Wars -- this woman was clearly made of tougher stuff than I was.

The next few weeks were a blur of diapers, 3 a.m. feedings, and sweat pants, and so I was unable to engage in any competitive activities. I was simply too exhausted to analyze my parenting and the budding skills of my little man in comparison to other babies.

Then I opened the doors to all insecurity. I suppose it has to happen eventually, that I would have to interact with other mothers of children my son's age. I could possibly have avoided it until nursery school, but by that point my son would have been so socially inept that competition would have been the least of my worries. So what, you ask, led to my downfall?

Mommy and Me class.

Yes, those words in and of themselves don't strike fear into the hearts of most people, but to a new mom, it can be one of the most intimidating things you have ever encountered. Upon entering the room, you are given the Mommy Once-Over. In one quick check, an astute Competitive Mommy will take in your stroller, car seat, and diaper bag (Are they expensive, cheap, or *God forbid!* second-hand?), then the mommy (Is her hair done or are her highlights growing out? Is she still in maternity jeans? Did she put in her contacts or put on make-up?) and finally, the baby itself (How is he/she dressed? *apply same questions as the stroller* Is he/she cuter than my baby?). Instantly you regret spending nap time catching up on laundry or your e-mail and not plucking your eyebrows or jumping on the treadmill to work on the rest of your baby weight.

And this is the first five seconds.

(It's bed time, I'll post the second half tomorrow!)

No comments:

Post a Comment