When it comes to being a mother, competition is almost instinctual. Whether we're at the park, a restaurant, the store, or another mother's house, we judge everything from how their children act to the condition of the home.
Why Do Women Compete?
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There's one main reason why women are so competitive: insecurity. Women realize that being a mother and raising happy and healthy children is important — possibly the most important thing we'll do in our lifetime. But there's no guide that states what steps we need to follow to ensure that will happen. The fact is that each mother's situation is different and so she must decide what's right for her own family.
Even so, it's hard for women to know if their choices are the right ones and it's easy to doubt. On the other side, it's easy for women to see other mothers and decide, without knowing all the facts, that they're making a mistake. Sometimes, these women feel that their choices must be the correct one so if they see mothers choosing something different, they feel threatened. As if they must defend their own choices by putting down these other mothers who chose differently.
Changing Our Mindsets
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So what can we as women do to change these mindsets? Here are a few strategies to keep in mind:
Be Happy for Other Women
When your friend's child excels at something--whether a sport, school, or musically--remember that it doesn't diminish your own child's ability. If your neighbor is better at keeping her house clean, it doesn't mean there is something wrong with you because your house is messy. Try to feel truly happy when others succeed.
Push out Judgmental Thoughts
When judgmental thoughts come into your mind, such as "I can't believe how that child is behaving" or "Wow, her living room is a mess!" push those thoughts away. They're not productive and they could hurt your relationship with this other mother. You wouldn't want someone to judge you that way and you don't know all the information. Maybe that child has autism. Maybe that mother has health problems that have prevented her from cleaning.
Give Acts of Kindness
A great way to learn to be less judgmental is by helping others. Instead of judging that neighbor whose house is a mess, ask if she needs help with anything. If she is dealing with health problems, she may really appreciate your help cleaning her house. Or maybe you could take her kids to play at your house so she can take a nap.
Have Healthy Competitiveness
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Though we should avoid being judgmental, being competitive is not a bad thing. Competitiveness can help us strive to be better. For example, if you want to be better at blogging about your kids, entering the RewardIt blogger competition can help you strive to be a better writer. Whether you win or lose, you'll have improved your skills, so you're better off.
When it comes to other mothers, if you have friends who you feel do a better job, use them as inspiration. Take their example and try to emulate it. Stop thinking, "I could never be as good as her." Switch it around and say, "Wow, she's great at listening to her kids and being involved in their lives. I'm going to try to spend 10 minutes each day with my kids one-on-one and just have a conversation to find out what's going on in their lives."
Image via Flickr by Robert Whitehead
How do you avoid being too competitive with other women? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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