Valuing Ourselves – and Others

30 Aug

Jen’s latest FEAT—which centers on self-acceptance—got my wheels spinning back to a thought I’ve had many times over my nearly 16-year career as a mom: Other moms can make you feel like crap.

Like the high-school queen bee whose popularity rises in proportion to how bad she makes other girls feel, certain moms relish nothing more than a) pointing out the talents/innate genius/physical gifts of their own offspring and b) snarking about other moms and their children.

These chicks are smart in how they undercut their erstwhile rivals, rarely engaging in any kind of face-to-face confrontation. Rather, snide side comments to a third party are their forte. This has the two-fold effect of putting the first mom down and intimidating the listener.

Back when I lived in Little Rock and my teen daughter with autism was a toddler, another mom I knew (a friend, I might have said at the time) constantly regaled me with her own daughter’s brilliance, particularly when it came to her staggering vocabulary. This stung all the worse as on that score my daughter (to this day largely nonverbal) was showing a notable lack of progress in that area. All the while, Uber-Mom kept discussing another friend’s child, about whom she had “concerns.” It got so bad that I began a pattern of cancelling play-dates at the last minute, too anxious to cope, too gutless to explain why.

While I’m definitely not blame-free on the score of expressing opinions about another child or mother, I pray I don’t ever do it as a way of inflating myself. I am the first to admit my failings as a mom—and I’ll readily share them with whoever’s listening. But do take a page from my book and steer clear of mothers with a not-so-hidden agenda of tearing someone else down to feel better about themselves.

We’re all better when we don’t.

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