Thursday, October 6, 2011

the other mom

There's this mom at Mother's Day Out, who always seems to drop her kid off and pick up at the exact same time as me. She lives in a neighborhood near ours and I often find myself behind/in front of her on the way to the church.

For some reason, I feel ridiculously inferior around this woman.

Let me say, this is not my normal behavior. Sure, I was insecure as a teenager and struggled with these feelings often at that time in my life. And there were times as a young adult that I found myself feeling rather puny next to some gorgeous socialite at a bar or feeling paltry in comparison to some of my beautiful friends. But as I've matured, these feelings have disappeared and I've gotten over comparing myself to others.

In my mind, I've created a pretty amazing life for this woman (whom, I might add, I've never even spoken to). She is gorgeous. Surely she never feels guilty about spending $150 to get her hair colored and cut regularly to stay fresh. Her clothes are stylish and she always looks so well put together. On weekends, she probably shops at nice stores and never worries about the cost of looking polished. She has a baby sitter on demand and regularly gets time alone to herself and time to enjoy out with her husband. Her shiny new Esc.alade is always clean and gleaming. I suspect she has a housekeeper and personal trainer. She's quite tan and in excellent shape and often shows up in the kind of work out apparel you'd see on a fitness model in the mornings. Somehow she never seems in a hurry or impatient or stressed. She smiles at everyone (including me) and she just seems.... perfect.

I really got to thinking about her today and what my problem is. Why can't I just look at her the same way as I do every other mom there? What makes her so special and why am I even investing this much time in to the whole situation?

She's at a similar place in life as me. The child she drops off appears to be a bit older than Little L and she carries a baby who appears to be about 8 months old. I'd guess she's in her late 20's to early 30's.

Maybe it's what she's NOT doing that interests me more than what I think she IS doing.

I don't imagine she's working 20 hours a week from home. Frantically returning phone calls while a toddler yells in the background or struggling to return emails while simultaneously nursing a baby. Working late nights and weekends just to keep up with her job. Surely she's not ignoring the housework that's been neglected for weeks while standing in front of the pantry every single night failing miserably at putting together good, healthy, MSPI friendly meals. She's definitely not stuffing her face with oreos and corn chips while swearing she'll lose the last of her baby weight "next week" or "starting Monday." Her cute clothes fit, she isn't having to get creative with billowy tops that hide the fact that her pants are too snug and her arms are flabby. She's not spending her precious MDO days fighting with herself over what obligatory chore her time precious "alone" is best spent doing: working, cleaning, laundry or grocery shopping. The coffee she makes every morning gets enjoyed, not a few sips and then later dumped when rediscovered in the bathroom. It's obvious she's not rushing out the door disheveled, without makeup and in whatever clothes were lying on the closet floor from the previous day. She's not ignoring the "clean the car" item on her to-do list week after week. No way she's neglecting her hair, her nails and her skin or struggling to find time to shower or shave her legs.

And she's not lamely comparing herself to some random woman she doesn't even know.

Clearly, I'm struggling to get back to "me" after the addition of this baby for some reason. I had no idea how hard things would be and instead of taking the challenge and conquering it, I'm finding myself drowning. I cannot seem to find my footing. Most days it just appears to be dumb luck that everyone gets their basic needs met. I told my husband that I feel like I don't get the benefits of being a stay at home mom OR a working mom while simultaneously getting the work load of both. It amazes me how adding one tiny person in to the mix has thrown my whole balance off SO much.

I know that girl's life isn't as perfect as I'm making it out to be. There's a good chance she's just as stressed out as I am, she's just doing a better job at managing it. I'll figure out a plan of action and somehow get back to not feeling like a complete disaster.

Maybe Monday.


  1. ohh mommy comparison! why do we do this to ourselves?? i do this all the time, mostly with blog mamas, but it is still a bad head game. i don't know the solution. i try to realize my life is pretty awesome and it works for us, even though the kids and i may have not bathed in 3 days. there is dishes from a week ago in the playroom. makeup and fashion just can't rank a priority on my scale but thats ok, because we are having fun, loving life and being us! i try to chase those mom envy thoughts away by thinking of all the things i have been blessed with! of course somedays i can't helpput have pity parties for myself! i am only human :)

  2. I do this with 2 moms of boys in B's class. They're so cute and fit and always look so well put together - even at the 5pm pickup. I look a hot mess most days. I'm dragging ass by 5pm because the baby wakes up 2-3 times a night to eat, I've probably got a few drops of breastmilk on my pants from dripping while pumping at work, and I've long given up on keeping my hair still in a decent style by the end of the day. You and I (and countless others) are so incredibly normal and in the same boat. People tell me that things will be so much easier when j turns 1 - but, uhh, that's 8 months away.

  3. HUGS. I do this too- mostly with moms I see in the neighbourhood. I think it is natural, if not exactly helpful.

    I think you are doing an amazing job. Seriously- E. is blowing my world up entirely, and I do not have a toddler, or a part-time job to be dealing with right now.

    I have been reading all your entries, but have been having trouble getting my comments to work.

  4. Comparison is such a joy-stealer, isn't it? We all fall into it at times. And who has their pre-baby body back even after 8 months?? This woman doesn't sound human. ;) I think you're pretty amazing. You're a wonderful Mom, loving wife, beautiful inside & out, funny as all get-out...I could go on & on. Hang in'll find a new/wonderful normal again...just takes time. In the meantime, enjoy the moments within the chaos. And remind me of this come March. :)


  5. Oh yes, I remember these days. Quite honestly I still have them occasionally. I think there is a distinct chaos that comes from having 2 young kids that, as a mom, can be all consuming at times. It's kind of like walking into a tornado and expecting that you're hair won't get messed up--it's just not going to happen.

    Having 2 is HARD. Adding self esteem and expectations to that mix only makes it harder. Some days you swim and other days you are just keeping your head above water. 8 months out (where the other mom seems to be) I think you'll be swimming much more regularly, until then though try not to beat yourself up! ((many hugs)).

  6. Mommy comparisons are just a part of being a mom in our society. I know I do it. From what I read about you (by you!), you are doing the best you can do for your girls-what more can you possibly do than your best? We all go through stages of awful and awesome with stress and life in general.

  7. OMG!! I've been there and still am! I often compare myself to Twin mom's though, but often compare myself to mom's with two kids.. or more that have it together. It's tough and all you can do is believe it will come back and it won't be that hard... Man, a newborn again. I can't imagine...