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Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 in Life | 4 comments

Mompetition: The ugly side of parenting nobody warned me about

Mompetition: The ugly side of parenting nobody warned me about

When I was pregnant, it seemed like I was inundated with people offering opinions and advice about being a new mom. From breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding to epidurals vs. natural birth, everybody had words of wisdom to share. However, there was something my friends and family failed to mention: mompetition.

You might think I’m off my rocker, that I’m just making up nonsense. But trust me, it’s a thing. In fact, mompetition is so notorious, it has it’s own listing on Urban Dictionary, which defines it as “the one-up rivalry that moms play, making their child seem better, smarter and/or more advanced than yours.”

For example, you might be talking with one of your mom friends and celebrating a new milestone in your child’s life, like the first time she rolls over or says her first word, to which your friend replies, “Well, my little Susie was walking at 5 months and now she’s going to college at age 2.”Boom. You just got mompetitioned.

Now, that example is a little extreme and unrealistic, but it is illustrative of our nature as moms to one-up one another when it comes to our children. As a new mom, I was totally unprepared when it first happened to me. 

There I was, playing with my 3 month old, when I got on Facebook to see a new video from my sister-in-law of her 1 month old rolling over. Since my daughter hadn’t rolled over, yet, I felt this  jealousy well up within me, as if I needed to defend my daughter’s lack of rolling ability. I found myself on the floor next to her, barking, “roll over! Come on, Ray, roll over for mommy!” Our  schnauzer just sat there judging me in amused confusion.

My friends, that was my first day as a mompetitee, and it was ugly. I’d like to say it only happened once. I’d like to believe I’m above that. But, as Paul tells us in Romans, we all fall short, and mompetition is rooted in the wickedness of our hearts known as sin. Insecurity. Pride. Covetousness. The underlying motives for mompetition are many, but they all come back to the same basic human condition: depravity.

So, as mothers under grace, how do we avoid mompetition? And what do we do when we find ourselves engaged in it?

1. Remember our identity in Christ. We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). We are ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20). We are the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:17). We are personal witnesses of Christ’s (Acts 1:8). We misrepresent Christ and His work in our lives by playing the mompetition game.

2. Repent from the underlying sin fueling our mompetitive desires. For me, personally, I struggle with covetousness. As a result, I’m constantly preaching Philippians 4:11-13 to my wretched self: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all these things through him who strengthens me.

 

3. Refuse to participate. 2 Timothy 2:23, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” If you have a mom friend who tells you about an achievement her child has accomplished, celebrate with her. Acknowledge and affirm her. Don’t interject with how your child has been there, done that, and already grown out of the t-shirt.

Being a mom is hard enough without the added struggle of competing with one another. So let’s refuse to be a part of it and just enjoy doing life together instead.

About The Author

Rachel Forrest
Rachel Forrest

Rachel is an Oklahoma Baptist ministry wife and mother. When she’s not writing, she spends her time hanging out with teenagers, playing games with her family or creating havoc in the kitchen. Her life’s goal is to experience the grace and peace that comes from an incorruptible love for Jesus (Ephesians 6:24).

Rachel Forrest has blogged 8 posts at wordslingersok.com

  • Ashley Haupt

    It’s true, it’s real, and it is ugly. Having my fourth soon, but was also completely unprepared for it in the beginning, too. Found myself competing without even thinking about it! I still check my heart when I am around girlfriends. 🙂 Thanks for this.

    • Rachel Forrest

      Right? I got sucked in unaware! I am hoping through the future grace that is promised as a part of my sanctification that I can be a mom who celebrates without competing.

  • Kailene Ringgenberg Diaz

    This is great stuff! I can’t believe I found this! Lol…..I am preparing to lead a moms small group at church this fall and I’m researching topics I want to possibly cover. I had no idea that “mompetition” was a word until today! That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced it! This is a great post and I’ll be sharing it with my group! I’ve been watching some “mompetition” videos on YouTube and although they are both accurate and hilarious, most of them have some foul language or body gestures thrown in the make them inappropriate for class material! Lol…..so I’m looking for humorous, but truthful material to share……I like that your post is accurate and a little humor thrown in! Got any suggestions for material for me?

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