By: Liz Bland, MSW, LCSW, Manager of Clinical Services, Women's Emotional Wellness Center
Have you ever thought about the pressure we put on each other as mothers?
I can recall an afternoon several years ago when my daughter was six months of age. I was sitting with her in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office for a scheduled check-up. Another mom was sitting with her daughter; our girls looked to be the same age. After a few seconds of chatting, the other mommy started grilling me with questions and offering unsolicited answers:
“Can your daughter wave? Mine can."
"Does your daughter crawl yet? Mine is super close."
"Does your daughter sleep through the night? Mine sleeps great…”
By the time the nurse called us, I all but jumped out of my seat, scooped up the baby and went running into the examination room.
But the damage was done, my mind was already racing: Was it bad that my daughter wasn’t waving? Should I be worried that she wasn’t crawling? Why wasn’t she sleeping through the night? And then the worst: Was I doing something wrong as a mother?
Suddenly a lightbulb went off. I had allowed the mommy in the waiting room to make me feel inadequate with her string of questions and answers. Then another thought: just when did motherhood become a competition?
Fast forward to later that same afternoon. While stopped at a traffic light, I started grooving out to the music playing on the radio while by kids giggled and danced in their car seats. As I was flailing my arms wildly, I realized the woman stopped in a minivan in the lane next to us was starring at me. I froze in embarrassment only to see her throw her fist in the air as an act of support. I waved, she honked, then the light changed and we drove along.
We can all agree that motherhood is comprised of one challenge after another. It’s time we all start grooving to the music and throwing our hands up in support of each other rather than making everything a competition. After all, aren’t we all running the same race, hoping to be winners in our kids’ eyes in the end?
So, from one mom to another, my hands are up to you all.