I saw an old friend recently. We talked about life, work, and parenting during our brief encounter, and I realized something… I don’t like her as much as I used to. Over the past few years, we have both become mothers. And I find that, the more times I see her, the less I like her, and the less I relate to her. What has changed?
You see, this mom friend is that mom friend who still seems her carefree self. She seems to have transitioned into motherhood rather easily, while maintaining her figure and style. She still posts photos of herself out on the town, enjoying life the way I did during college. She seems unconcerned about things that weigh me down every day – not enough time with my son, too much time at a job I don’t enjoy, wondering when (or if) we’ll have another.
Now, it could be that she hides her worries very well. It also could be that I am not close enough to her to hear about these worries. Or it could be that these things just roll off of her. She may simply be approaching life from a different perspective than I am. And that makes me envious. All of it does.
She always has a smile on her face and never seems overly tired. She still wears heels during the day. She manages to get make-up on in the morning, and she is even praised by her boss for a job well done. And I am envious because this seemingly unattainable mommy-perfection that she emulates simply seems out of my realm.
I feel a hot mess most days. I am constantly arriving late (to work, to appointments, to everywhere!) with two or three bags slung over my shoulder, while still managing to forget something. My attempt at mommy-sheekness has landed me in the awkward spot of juggling my bags and a non-fat latte, while trying to ignore the coffee stain now appearing on my silk blouse (should have just worn the cotton workout shirt).
It feels as if this ‘other mom’ has kicked motherhood’s butt, strategically and flawlessly handling all the challenges that come with it, while I am just getting a sympathy medal for showing up. She has perfected being a mom, and I am not even sure she has a nanny to thank.
But here’s the thing – my perspective may be completely distorted. Maybe someone out there thinks I am kicking motherhood’s butt. I do maintain a full-time job, blog and churn out the occasional handmade quilt. These are the things I forget about when comparing myself to that image of perfection this friend has come to personify. It’s like the movie “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion,” when the main characters realize that, despite their angsts as high schoolers – including being teased by the ‘A Group’ – they managed to make another classmate’s life torture, the unpopular Heather Mooney. They never even realized how much this other student admired them.
When we all start being real as moms, even if our real includes designer outfits and perfectly coifed hair, we will learn that there is more to unite us than there is to divide us (as cheesy as it sounds). And I know, for me personally, I will always be my worst critic. Maybe I do not appear as much of a disaster as I think I do. And even if I do, I am doing my part by letting another mom out there see that it’s ok to not be ‘rocking it’ as a mom. You are welcome, other mom.