Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Mompetition

Inspired by a Juicebox Jungle video about parents who brag about their genius children:

More parenting videos on JuiceBoxJungle

What's even worse, possibly, is the mom who brags about herself. We all know that the Mommy Code strictly prohibits telling other moms that you're consistently great at parenting. Sharing tips, okay. Sharing a moment of brilliance, fine. But the Code requires that we temper these stories with a Bad Mommy story, or at least an observation about how hard it is to be a parent. Common courtesy, right? And yet...

Five years ago, she hosted a get-to-know-you playdate for five of us and our toddlers at her gi-normous Los Altos Hills home. She did a little bragging about a fabulous party she had just hosted (ick), and talked about her little girl's gorgeous hair and how she now had this cute (stupid) nickname because of it (double ick). The kids played inside, had snacks, played outside. Then we got to the part of the playdate where one Brave Mom says, "It's so difficult for me sometimes because..." and then, "Is it that way for you, too?"

According to the Mommy Code, the thing to do here is to say, "YES! IT IS DIFFICULT!" Validate. Commiserate. Encourage. Support. Maybe share your own war story. Maybe, maybe, if you've got something miraculous that saved you from killing your own kids once, you can tell about it. But not this:

"No way. I love being a mom, and it's so easy for me. I never have problems with my kids. I used to nanny during my summer vacations for this family, and I totally learned everything I need to know about parenting from that job. I was so good with those kids. You just have to be consistent and confident. They loved me. We had the best time, and the parents loved me, too. And now with my own kids, it's a cinch. You must be doing something wrong. It's so easy if you just know what you're doing."

My jaw dropped. What the... Are you freaking kidding me? What is wrong with you?

Brave Mom repeated that it wasn't easy for her. I stammered something lame about how it wasn't easy for me, either, and the conversation just shriveled and died right there.

I never went back there again, even though they had a pool and a cabana.

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