Stop the competition already

These days, I pretty much get all my news from Facebook.

Probably what happens when you ditch journalism. I am no longer beholden to getting all my news from the New York Times and other erudite sources. Now that I’m no longer an official member of the Fourth Estate, I can start quoting sites like the Huffington Post and (gasp!) Yahoo news.

So that’s how I came across this little gem (click here.)

New moms are getting spray-tanned, made up, etc., while or shortly before they go into labor so they look awesome in the inevitable Facebook and Twitter photos.

And we wonder why other countries hate the United States.

Seriously. As if women needed another venue in which to compete with each other. I am so over this I’m about to go all Jamie Lee Curtis and stop dyeing my hair and start eating that yogurt that makes you poop.

As a female human, I have been dealing with this idiotic competiveness since I was born. However, I didn’t pay much attention to it until I was in my early 20s. That’s about the time I was graduating from college and getting married.

You know how we women like to one-up each other with our weddings. No need to rehash that one since Bridezillas does it most nights on cable. I was in a lot of weddings back then. I’m not even sure how many times I was a bridesmaid or how many taffeta dresses of differing colors still hang in the back of my closet.

But it was a lot. And I observed a lot. And so by the time I got married the summer after the hubs and I graduated college, I knew what I wanted our wedding to look like.

But really, that was just the beginning of the ongoing reality show of life. We were still newlyweds when the hubs joined a softball league with some buddies he’d known in high school and college. I was a newspaper reporter by then, but on nights I didn’t work, I dutifully sat on the bleachers and watched a bunch of guys play slow-pitch.

I didn’t know many folks and was lonely for friends, so I generally sat amongst the other girlfriends and wives.

Oy vey. It was an education.

Two of the women talked of nothing but trying to get pregnant, who was pregnant, what they were going to name their as-yet unconceived babies, what the nurseries would look like, what kind of car they needed to cart the infants around, buying a house, buying a bigger house, blah, blah, blah. It was exhausting to listen to. This must be what it feels like to be brainwashed, I thought.

And the one time I tried to change the subject to, I don’t know, the 1992 election, they looked at me like I was speaking some weird Balkan language.

So then a few years later, most of our married friends started actually having babies. Like good childless friends, we visited them in the hospital. For the ones we were especially close to – there were maybe two – we even sat in the waiting room until the babies popped out.

That’s when I learned about how you know if your kiddo is exceptional from the minute he or/and she is born: the Apgar score.

Apgar. What is it? The hubs and I looked at each other. One mom saw our confusion and explained that it’s the first test a child ever is given and proves whether the baby is alert. She said “alert” with a certain gleam in her eye, which I took to mean, “My baby is smarter than any kids of yours can ever hope to be.”

So, of course, by the time I actually became pregnant with our own little kiddo, I was all stoked about the Apgar. But then I started to realize that the Apgar would likely be affected by how I chose to give birth. And by how, I mean what childbirth method I used and whether I received an epidural to numb the excruciating pain that comes from forcing something the size of a watermelon through a hole the size of a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

One well-meaning friend suggested against Lamaze because the father wasn’t involved enough. She said that to the 27-year-old version of me, who thought, but did not say out loud, that probably the father had already been involved quite enough, thank you very much. (For the record, the 44-year-old version of me would just say it out loud. And for the record, three epidurals AND three Apgar scores of 9. Ahem.)

A new baby presents many, many opportunities for competition, from whether and how long you breastfeed to when and how many words the kiddo can say before he or she turns a year old to how much you spend on daycare (“OMG, it’s like my whole check goes to the Montessori. But it’s worth it if little Haven can speak French and Spanish at 3, right?”)

I could go on and on. However, the older I get, the less I’m generally inclined to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by the uber-competitive mommies I encounter, mainly because I just don’t give a !@#$% anymore.

More women should adopt this attitude because frankly, this competition over stuff that doesn’t really matter is killing us, making us strive for a perfection we can never attain. We have only ourselves to blame, too.

Sprays tan or new ‘do while you’re in labor? I can’t imagine anything worse. Here’s a photo of me in labor with my first child.

Don’t ask.

If you would have come at with some self-tanner or a hair dryer, I would have cut you.


6 thoughts on “Stop the competition already

  1. Love your analogies. I also find it funny that like me, as we get older we really don’t give a shit anymore. There are so many things more important than how we looked while in labor so we can put it on FB. Imagine how much simpler life was before reality TV and social media.

  2. That’s one of the great things about the 40s – you learn to let go of a lot of junk that doesn’t matter. Just wait until you get into your 50s! You can blame everything on eccentricity.

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