Friday, December 3, 2010

Mompare and Dispair

I am naturally competitive. It has its time and place. Winning the high-school basketball state championship. Appropriate. Trying to win at yoga in my 30s or at least develop my practice at a non-zen pace. Inappropriate.

I think it comes back to a belief in a mystical unseen hierarchy. Where do I fit in this hierarchy, achievement, strength, financial security, intelligence, head stands.....good motherhood...There, I said it, I often fall victim to mompare and despair - where I look to other moms and compare what they are doing and how they are doing to myself to either feel good or bad (mostly bad) about the job I'm doing.

This is such a lose-lose. Today, I read about a woman with two kids, the sames as mine, who has my same occupation, relatively and was featured in a magazine, in a perfectly decorated house, with a rather abundant career. Ugh. Immediately I compare and despair. It makes it even worse if there are similarities. As in, "she has two kids too. and they're boys." What comes next is something along the lines of...."what's my excuse?" This mompare does not happen when I hear about alpha moms who nurse their kids until age three or make their own bread. This comes up for me when I hear about a mom who is active in their creative work. There is nothing worse than watching someone else do what you want to do creatively while you sit on the sidelines.

I don't have an excuse. I don't have a reason for why it seems too damn difficult for me to achieve or DO anymore. As tired and annoying as this phrase is, "it is what it is," for me right now, that I am not creating much of anything. And perhaps this mompare issue is about a greater compulsion to DO more than to BE. If that's too new-agey for you, I apologize. But an inner drive to DO and HAVE more than someone else is very powerful. It's not just a competitive nature, it's an avoidance of self and a total disregard for this moment, this person that I am, this life I'm in. If I have to do or have more, than in the same breath I'm saying I don't do or have ENOUGH, another powerful expression which is at the root of nearly all my less than attractive compulsions and negative mental chatter.

Writing, thankfully, in this blog that .93 people read, gives me the time and space to acknowledge that this life, and this moment, which does not include a vibrant career, a perfectly decorated house, or a magazine spread, and is STILL DIVINE. This person that I am is not winning at anything, I don't think, and if I slow down to think about it and be there for a second, I remember that I don't care. I'm not trying to be mother of the year or any of the "ests" (skinniest, richest, successfullest) out of choice.

I will probably still go to the gym tomorrow and raise the resistance level on my stair/stepper/peddler/elliptical whatever that I'm on to match the person next to me. I will probably drive to fast to get their first, when it really doesn't matter. I will try and bring something to dinner on Christmas that will be the crowd favorite. But my hope is for something different the next time I see a trully impressive working mother. My hope is that I can be impressed by her, take her in, wish her well, let her "win" if I must see it like that in my childlike brain, and leave it at that, without feeling the need to change anything in my game.

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