Friday 20 May 2011

Mean girls!

I just learned a "shocking" thing about motherhood!

Every Wednesday afternoon, I take a walk to the community health centre to see how much weight Alice gained. It is also a great opportunity to chat with the nurse about whatever concerns I might have.

Two weeks ago, while on the scale, Alice regurgitated (projectile) a lot of milk on the nurse. Covered with "cottage cheese", she strongly advised me to feed Alice after she weights her. She also told me that this would be an opportunity for me to meet the "breastfeeding club".

The week after, I arrived with an empty Alice and joined the group of women. Since I can be a bit timid, I decided to stay in the background before I introduced myself. Quietly sitting with Alice attached to my breast, I listened to all the conversations. After a while (Alice was really taking her time to eat), it struck me...mothers can be pretty mean to each other!

Everything looks like a competition: my stroller is better than yours, my baby walked earlier than yours, my diaper bag is more practical than yours, my nursery is more stylish than yours, etc. A bunch of teenage girls picking at each other was the image that came to my mind while I was getting ready to leave the scene.

And when I shared my observations with my friends, they told me that I must have been living under a rock because competition between mothers seems to be a well know fact!

But a question remains: why?

* * * * *

susanna n.: Did you have a manual or an electric pump? I got a manual one but I don't know if I should have invested in an electric one.

jamie: So, did it work well?

one claire day: Um! That must be painful! I'm not a pump expert but maybe you could ask a "breastfeeding" nurse or something. It felt pretty good to go out with my friend...not that I don't want to be with Alice but you know! For me the breathing thing really helped...and not doing it in front of a friend!!!

a loopy life: I'm so happy to know that baby H also doesn't burp all the time. That nurse freaked me out. Alice also farts a lot...very loud!!!

sid.: Well, as much as I hated that nurse, it is also because of her that breastfeeding is that simple for Alice and I. But, you know, she also made me cry a few times!!! When she would come in my room I would look at Dan with a "please don't leave me alone with her" face!

pauper: I also produce a lot of milk and I started to have some "problems" because Alice can sleep 5-6 hours at night. So when I wake up, there is milk everywhere and it can be a bit painful. I don't really know what to do. I don't want to have blocked milk clots!!!


Lola said...

I can only assume it's because of our own insecurities. Motherhood is lovely but there is plenty of room for error and we feel that from the moment we first hold our little miracles. It's a shame though. I find that in most cases, vulnerability wins over even the most competitive group of moms.

UK lass in US said...

Don't worry - normal mums are out there. It can take a little searching to find them, though (California does seem to have rather a lot of the competitive types). Finding a group of non-judgemental mums to offload to is one of the best sanity-savers in my parenting experience.

(ps. Who in their right senses would boast about having an early walker? It's a complete pain having a mobile 9 month old, believe me. I was very jealous of my stationary 15 month old niece. It's not like it's something that can be put on their college application one day. Plus, my niece is now the better dancer of the two...)

luke and pamela said...

i've had a little of that as well. i liked it at first (when it isn't feeling competitive) since there is so much to learn and since there is never an awkward moment with so many easy subjects to discuss. but the competing is no fun.

Little Gray Pixel said...

Tell me about it. I find the things that mothers get really uppity about are:
1) breastfeeding vs. formula
2) cry it out vs. attachment parenting
3) milestones -- who is first
4) cloth vs. disposable diapers
5) to vaccinate or not to vaccinate
It's all so exhausting. And I'm sorry but choices are just that. Choices. There are no right or wrong ways to parent as long as you ARE parenting, in my opinion.

Shannah said...

This is a very interesting post. Sorry you ran into some mean mamas! I think you have found some very supportive ones here on your blog though:)

I do think society promotes the mom versus mom thing. Have you heard of the "tiger mom" yet? The head of my school suggested this as a book club title and I told him I'm not doing it because I am sick and tired of mom vs mom!

Pauper said...

Ah, I ran into this too and it was quite disappointing to discover :( I went to a few 'mums + babies' groups that seemed sort of exclusionary if you didn't have all the 'in' baby things and were very competitive among themselves. Luckily I've met other mums here and there that fit much more into my idea of motherhood which has nothing to do with competing to be the best mother! I've tended to isolate myself from other mums who seem to be super competitive or who seem to want to impose their beliefs on you. New motherhood is confusing enough without all that nonsense.

Apart from that, I wish I had some advice to give regarding over-producing milk and preventing clots! I suffered sooo much with this in the early months but fortunately after a while my milk production regulated. The only thing I found was that back-sleeping really seemed to help prevent the clots.

Barbara said...

Yep, that is the "horrible" part of being a mum! I believe every kid is in its own way special - one can crawl/walk faster, the other one speaks with ease, one sleeps better...
My older son was able to crawl when he was only 6.5 months and my doughter crawls for 2 weeks now (so she was about 7months old). And I can tell you...sometimes we even felt ashamed of telling others how old they are...we didn't feel comfortable anymore because of the "competition".

Do you know the concept of the "good-enough mother"? I like it!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but what I would say is that, you do it too, dear. Without even knowing it. Review your posts and you will see a judgmental tone when it comes to your opinions of other who do things differently that you would. I think the insecurity issue goes both ways, as I find that new mommies have a hard time accepting advice and see a more experienced mom as an overbearing threat. Usually, the experienced mom just wants to pass on whatever pearl of wisdom they may have missed out on the first time around.

As for comparing children... it gets much, much worse as your kids enter school.

Time to toughen up. :)