Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mommy Jealousy by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan

Has anyone else had a case of mommy jealousy? As Robin has noted in a previous blog sometime back, at times dealing with other moms can feel like it once did when dealing with friends in high school. That old high school self and her feelings resurrected on the mommy playing field.

For me, when those old feelings come up, I can see how being a judgmental person gets in my way. I really dislike this trait in myself. I work at being conscious of it. At times I have even seen how judgement is really masking something else. The something else in this particular case, is jealousy.

My daughter has a friend from school whose mom I just don’t seem to connect with when we communicate. Being the sensitive person that I am, I may be picking up a vibe and taking it personally when I needn’t, but somehow I don’t think that’s the case.

This woman is the pixie little blonde I was jealous of when I was in high school. Cute and petite, she a person for whom clothes are designed. With a bohemian nonchalance and a general “I don’t care” attitude she looks cute without trying. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what she wears because she just looks cute.

She has a number of kids and her girls look disheveled. This bothers me. And here’s where my judgement kicks in...My judgement of her parenting skills comes into question. What is important to me, is that my daughter is cared for and is not a raggin’ muffin, to quote my mother. Oh yes, there is my mother and how I grew up right smack in the middle of this internal mess. Isn’t it always the case...

Now here’s the kicker. This woman is really relaxed when she deals with her kids. I have yet to hear from her “that tone,” when she talks to her kids. The tone that I get when I deal with my daughter where I am getting frustrated with my child, for the fact that she is being childish. I have a limit of patience, which I work on expanding, but then that tone creeps in (hideously the same tone my mother uses. Yes, there’s my mother again.)

So the thing I have been wondering about, is priorities. My priority is that my kid look cared for and by extension that I am a good mom. But what makes a good mom? Is being relaxed better? Maybe I am jealous because I will never be that relaxed in myself or how I deal with my kid? This makes me cry.

Sometimes being a midlife mom means accepting myself as I am. I am never going to be pixie and cute. I will never be incredibly relaxed about how my daughter looks when she heads out the door. Is there a middle ground? I think so. Hopefully, I am finding it when I let go of small things like letting my daughter wear the “crazy” mismatched outfits she chooses for herself or even braiding her hair for dance class with out combing it out. Small things, but on a continuum, hopefully my daughter will be more relaxed than me, like I am more relaxed than my mom.

I guess being a more relaxed parent is a priority for me. It’s probably why I am jealous...

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Blogger Von said...

When we help our children learn to be responsible for themselves and their decisions it sometimes helps if we don't make a fuss about what they wear except if it is totally inappropriate and they will seriously embarrass themselves.Sounds like the mother you are jealous of knows that.
We all have our skills and strengths..what are yours?

12:31 PM  
Blogger Laura Houston said...

Maureen -- I get where you are coming from. I often see put-together moms, and I admire them....wonder how they do it...and wish something for myself. On the other hand, my boys are happy. They get a lot of attention because I don't give much to myself these days. I am working on that, but it's not easy.

Oh. And I have different tones for my boys. They know just from the tone of my voice that they need to stop what they are doing. It's not yelling....but it's very firm. And it gets their attention. My polite, sweet voice gets me nothing. I feel this is perfectly appropriate for our family.

9:22 AM  

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