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Being a Mother is a Competitive Sport

dance moms


Have you ever seen the show Dance Moms? If you have not, I don’t recommend it. It’s trashy, completely ridiculous, and totally addicting. The show revolves around several mothers who are supporting their daughters as they pursue dancing careers at a young age. Not only are these women dramatic and high strung, but they are back-stabbing, self serving bitches. And for the most part, I think they are proud of it. They are “best friends” who’d throw each other to the wolves if meant their daughter would succeed over the others. While I love to totally believe that all of my reality TV shows are complete and utter truth, I realize that this shit is probably fake. But what I am trying to get at here is that while this show might not be completely real, all of us have a little bit of Dance Moms in us at heart. Let me explain.

I hate to knock my gender here, but as a breed, women are naturally catty, gossipy, overly sensitive, dramatic, bitchy, jealous and competitive – should I keep going? It starts at a very early age. I used to teach in a Universal Pre-Kindergarten classroom and even at four years old, these girls were nasty. At that age, the absolute worst thing you could ever say to another girl was say, “Oh yeah?! Well you aren’t coming to my birthday party.” No joke – One of the posted rules in my room banned any talk of birthday parties because the girls used this as leverage to leave others out. If I had a nickel for every time a girl in my classroom said, “You are not my friend anymore,” I would have quit my job a lot sooner. I haven’t decided if girls are just born with this innate need to terrorize each other or if it is a learned behavior. Thank God, I don’t have a daughter so hopefully I won’t need to find out. When Matt and I were in the ultrasound room and learned the gender of our unborn child, I think I cried tears of blessed joy to find out it was a boy. Not because I don’t want a little girl, but because I don’t want to have to deal with my precious daughter being subjected to the viciousness of other girls – or even worse, actually become one of those cruel little creatures.

And then, there is high school. Forget algebra and earth science, girls are busy researching how to form cliques and hold grudges. They are studying how to give the silent treatment and mastering passive aggressive behavior. All  high school girls are amateur actresses, learning how to plaster fake smiles on their faces when their friends get a date with the hottest football player or get nominated for prom queen.

I’d love to blame this absurd behavior on immaturity and pettiness. I’d love to say that as women become adults, they realize that we should ban together and support one another. But unfortunately, it isn’t so. I honestly think it gets worse as we get older. There’s a whole new realm of issues that come into play. Woman feel pressured to have successful careers, find a husband, and have babies. They compare themselves to their friends and feel left behind if everything hasn’t fallen into place exactly as they’ve planned. I swear, women choose horrible bridesmaid dresses simply because they want to guarantee that they are the most beautiful person in that wedding party. They subconsciously want their friends to look like fools. Seriously, this can be the only explanation for some of the really bad bridesmaid dresses I’ve seen.

Because of all this, I have no idea why I thought it’d be any different when I became a mother. It turns out, motherhood is also a very competitive sport. I took Greyson to the doctor this weekend and as usual, he was running around getting into everything. He was trying to escape from the waiting room into the exam rooms and rummaging through all the toys. I noticed a mother lingering nearby, holding a little boy. Her husband was a few feet back, sitting on the bench waiting for their appointment. She finally asked, “How old is he?” I replied, “13 months.” She immediately looked back at her husband, then said something about how her son was the same age and was mobile but that she didn’t want to put him down and let him get into all of the dirty toys. Seriously, lady? So not only are you spending your time comparing your sick child to mine, you then have to drop a very casual dig about how I am letting my child play with “dirty doctor’s office toys?” Every week, we go to story time at the library and it’s the same shit. It’s not even just the mothers – the grandmothers are the worst! This grandmother made some comment to me about how her grandson doesn’t walk but says 18 words. I’m not saying that I am completely innocent of the mompetition. I get it – you just want to make sure your child is keeping up. But I honestly believe that my son will be under enough pressure in his life to succeed that I am trying to make a valid effort to let him develop at the rate that suits him. Whatever milestones he hits or doesn’t hit, I will be proud of. Whatever percentile of height and weight he reaches, we will be happy with. As mothers, let’s break the cycle of spiteful female ways and teach our children to accept themselves and in turn, accept each other.

Before you brag about your child to a fellow mother, just remember that there is a very fine line between being proud and being competitive. I know, I know we are all guilty of it now and again. And on second thought, maybe I will recommend you watch a few episodes of Dance Moms. Maybe watching some ridiculous, over the top, backstabbing mommas will help keep us grounded. And in the mean time, just to be safe, I will continue to pray that my future second child is in fact, another boy.


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