The Maternal Arms Race


 Even the most well mannered and confident mother can get a bit wobbly at times.  No matter how put-together, the modern mother can occasionally have doubts.  Her children are well behaved,  good students and they participate in after school activities.  Yet there she stands, one sunny afternoon, blindsided by a group of mothers engaged in some sort of maternal arms race determined to out-do each other with the myriad of extracurricular, athletic, artistic and pseudo-academic pursuits in which their under-10 children are participating.  Couched as laments such as, "I don't know how I'm going to get my children to all their activities this weekend,"  or "I just wish the school could teach math at Avery's level, then I wouldn't have to be dragging her to Russian Math twice a week..."  these comments are intended to expose the brilliance of one's children and the many sacrifices of their fabulous and selfless mother.   By the time we encountered a friend after a recent episode, she was shell-shocked and, even worse, doubting her own excellent parenting philosophy.  Ridiculous.  We know.  She knows.  You know too, dear reader.  Yet, everyone has been there.  One wonders did those other mothers come away from the encounter feeling better about themselves?  Was such bravado comforting to anyone in that collective? 

We happened across a blog recently called breed 'em and weep.  It is written by a single mother in Western Massachusetts who is struggling.   She is struggling to find the meaning in her separation,  struggling to raise her children, struggling to keep her house and pay her bills.  This piece the road more taken, puts a lot of things in perspective.

2 comments:

Kate said...

Wow. I clicked over there. Tough stuff. I think we all know moms like the ones you describe above. My take on them is they have issues, whether they be insecurities, low self-esteem or little fulfillment in their own lives. I think it's sad to see parents living vicariously through their kids or using them as tools to prop up their fragile egos.

EBB said...

Dear Kate. I agree. As for the "tough stuff" over there it makes all our champagne problems over here seem pretty silly. Thanks for reading.

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