I see you, Mama. I see you taking a deep breath in the middle of the aisle with a full cart of groceries while your toddler throws an epic tantrum. You’re trying to decide whether to throw him over your shoulder and leave that full cart right there to take the walk of shame to the door or straight up ignore him and continue your shopping until you’re finished. You’re worried about the looks and the whispers. You hear them and it makes you turn scarlet with embarrassment.
Why do we let other people’s opinions bother us so much? When I was a kid and gave my mom a hard time in the store, other moms would jump in, give me the “mom look”, and I knew I needed to cut it out. Where is the solidarity of motherhood of times past? We knew the other moms in the neighborhood were keeping an eye on us as well, but now I couldn’t even tell you my neighbors’ names and I’ve lived here for two years.
Social Media & the Comparison Game
Social media has taken over many aspects of our lives so quickly and quietly that we didn’t even realize it was happening. We don’t need to call up our friends to check up on them because we know that, according to the adorable pictures she posted yesterday, Johnny just got over the flu and Jane was named “Student of the Week”. You even know the names and ages of the kids of that girl from high school who made your life miserable because you follow her on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. And you only do that so you can silently laugh when she’s struggling or having a bad day because karma!
This brings me to my next point: it’s so easy to judge when we’re doing it from behind our screens. It’s so easy that we now find it easier to judge in real life too. Back to standing in the aisle with a screaming child but now you’re watching another mom struggle – what are you thinking? “I would NEVER let my kid act like that in the store.” Maybe you’re thinking if she would x, y or z, he would stop.
Our first instinct is to judge and compare when it should be to give that mom a knowing smile or that kid the “mom look.” Even better, tell her she’s doing a great job and to hang in there. We’ve literally all been there. We not only compare ourselves to other moms – do you ever catch yourself comparing your child to other children?
Johnny is the same age as your son but he walked a full month sooner and was talking in full sentences at 22 months. Your son walked a little later and has yet to put two words together. You compare and it puts you in a panic. Certainly there is something wrong – it couldn’t possibly be because every kid is different and develop at different paces. Give yourself and your kid a break! He’ll get there!
The Internal Battle of Having Mom Friends
After all the judging, comparing, worrying and embarrassment you start to think, is having mom friends worth it? You’re too busy anyway. Different from years past, a lot of us have full-time jobs. We power through the 8-hour workday and hour-long commute. We pick the kids up and head home to cook dinner, find time to snuggle and then off to bed! You frantically clean or maybe binge watch Netflix (no judgment!) until you fall asleep. Where would you even fit in time for friends?
The weekend? Right in between all the birthday parties, sports, church and all your mom duties that don’t go away because it’s the weekend? Yea, there’s definitely enough time in there somewhere – not! So we shelf the idea. Even if we had time they would be all judge-y and catty anyway, right?
Why is it so hard to be a mom these days? We don’t have enough time to take care of ourselves which makes us tired and moody. Social media makes us compare and judge EVERYTHING which also makes us bad friends. It’s time we band together as moms and try to end the vicious cycle – right after we take a nap, of course.