A Losing Battle

146 Comments

I don’t think of myself as an especially competitive person. I never cared about getting straight A’s in school or what team was winning which game. I couldn’t care less about keeping up with the Joneses and really don’t compare myself to other women. But, since becoming a parent, I have been finding competition in some unexpected places.

My children’s looks, for instance. As babies, Evan and Lily looked remarkably like their father. At three years old, Evan is an exact replica; their baby pictures are almost indistinguishable. While I think my kids are cute as can be, I can’t help but feel I’ve lost some sort of DNA contest. And, I’m not being facetious– every time people remark on the similarities (which is all the freaking time,) my blood boils. It’s not fair.

And then there’s the competition I feel outside of our little family. We got married early. We had our first child early. We had second around the same time our friends were having their first. Everyone thought we were insane by the time we had our third. I loved being that couple who beat everyone to the punch. It was fun being the crazy ones and paving the course for everyone else. But, lately, they are catching up. Even worse than that, they’re beating us. And, it’s beginning to piss me off.

We have all the kids we can handle. I truly think a fourth would put me over the edge into Looneyville, USA, and I don’t have any interest in residing there. But, still, I can’t help but feel jealous of those with families larger than ours. We have friends with four kids, the last of whom are twins. Friends who have four kids and two dogs. Five kids, even. It’s insane. More insane than my insanity. Suddenly, I feel like a loser, but the only one competing is me.

Jeff thinks I’m nuts and doesn’t feel this way at all. So, I’m asking you, fellow mothers: Is this normal? Anyone else feel this odd competition or is it just me?

Perhaps I should pick a sports team like the rest of the country. It’s certainly easier than continuing to pop out babies.

Comments

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  1. 11

    Megan (Best of Fates) says

    Thoughts:
    1) Your sponsor ad is starting to give me complexes about my thighs. Yes, this is clearly an issue I should explore. Or completely ignore. One of those.
    2) People talk about/comment on kids resemblance to the dad far more than the mom because they’re reinforcing paternity. Not that I’m saying there’s a doubt about your kids father, or that they don’t strongly resemble them – but as they get older the comments will decrease. Or maybe your genes will start doing their job and claiming some face space!
    3) Would it be wrong for you to invent a fake kid or two to jump ahead of your friends? I mean, there can always be late in life estrangements.

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  2. 14

    New Mommy says

    Love your honesty! I have a little one, hubby wants 2, and I can’t help but think calling it ‘quits’ so to speak after 2 might feel like we didn’t ‘do all we could do’- so yes! I guess I can relate!

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  3. 15

    Crystal says

    Holy crap! I honestly feel the same way!! We may have met in a previous life. We have 4 kiddos…and trust me, our hands are full. But seeing others with bigger families makes me want to “beat them”…as if this is a competition. If so-and-so can handle 5 then surely I should be able to handle 6 right?! It’s crazy…I’m crazy…but crazy loves company…so I’m feeling much better!!!

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  4. 16

    Joanie says

    Talk about keeping up with the Joneses!! We had friends who got married 3 weeks after we did. We went to Acapulco for our honeymoon. They went to Acapulco for their honeymoon (at least they stayed at a different hotel).
    We had Gina in July 1984, they had Colleen in December 1984. We had Tim in March 1988, they had Danny in June 1988.
    In April 1990, I called her to warn her I was pregnant again. She finally stopped copying me. Now they are coming up on 30 years of marriage and I’ve been divorced for 4 years.
    Copycats.

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  5. 17

    Tracy says

    There are others like me? I was 18 when I got married and 19 when we had our first, now we have three, and the youngest is 10, I look at other families with more kids and want more so bad, but at the same time I can’t wait until my youngest is 18 LOL I drive my husband crazy with it on an almost daily basis! Good thing I am infertile, it really is the only thing that keeps me sane LOL If I could have children without intervention I think I would do it on a whim without thinking twice, knowing that I have to go to the dr to get pregnant gives me plenty of time to think it over LOL

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  6. 18

    Kimberly says

    I had my two boys 14 and 11 years ago. My sister had her two boys 6 and 5 years ago. Until she finally confessed to me that she wasn’t having more kids, I was hell bent on the winning the “having more kids” battle even though there was no potential baby daddy anywhere near me. Sigh. Thank God for her IUD.

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  7. 19

    The Domestic Yogi says

    I feel the competitive drive, but not about having the most children. Every day I worry about not being a good mom, or not being the best mom I can be. Included in my worrying is knowing other people who can afford XYZ, and therefore I am clearly going to raise stupid kids. Oh the mind spins I can play on myself.

    Sometimes I get so worked up and so stressed about it that I physically have to take deep breaths at the end of the day to try to calm myself down. I try to remember: the best gift you can give yourself is just being present. I truly believe this. However, I then remember about all the times I ignored my kids and did housework or was on the computer or who knows what else, and start to get worked up again. Deep breaths. The sad part is I never considered myself a soft “worry” type person. But becoming a mother, and being competitive has really knocked my socks off!

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  8. 21

    Amanda says

    The competitive drive is definitely strong with me. I decided only after my twins were 5 years old that I was finished having kids, but that is not where my competitiveness lies. I want my kids to be the smartest kids out there. I want them to work hard and master things easily. I have to remind myself occasionally that they are their own people and will master each task when they are ready.

    Then there are the genetics. We have twin boys, both of whom look like me. Oops. They are fraternal. They don’t look alike. One looks like my Mom’s side and the other looks like my Dad’s side. Fortunately, when we are in our home town, everyone who sees the kid who looks like my Dad thinks he looks like my husband.

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  9. 23

    Cheryl Wilms says

    I personally do not feel competitive with other moms, in fact I feel empathetic and willing to learn from other moms. I have had friends and family members however that have felt the urge to compete and I have just not wanted that feeling present because then we would be so busy focusing on what is not important when we can be working together. I have also felt judged by older moms because some have a different perception on what motherhood should be and I have found myself trying to explain my reasons for doing certain things with my parenting. I really don’t think I owe anyone an explanation with how I choose to raise my children. I rather support than compete against someone because I do not want another mom to feel like she is not doing a good job based on my parenting and vice versa.

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