Saturday, December 14, 2013

I Refuse To Give Into The Joneses

Since when did life become such a competition? I mean, we've all heard of 'keeping up with the Joneses', that old idiom referring to trying to outdo one's neighbor with material goods and social status. But in this new world of instant connections through social networking such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are we now trying to outdo each other in all aspects of life?

Take, for example, when your little Timmy comes home at the end of the year with an Honor Roll certificate for the final quarter. You take a picture of him holding up his certificate, grinning from ear to ear, and immediately post it on all of the above social networking sites. Almost instantly you have 23 "likes" and a couple of congratulatory comments. Then you see it. The comment from the douche canoe who has a child the same age as Timmy. "Oh, that's nice. Little Suzi made Honor Roll all four quarters this year. So proud! <3" Really? What a fucktard. Can't little Timmy just have the spotlight for a moment without it becoming a competition. This isn't about you or your genius. Post your own damn picture on your own damn Facebook page and brag about Suzi there!

Or what about the new parent who oooh's and ahhh's over abso-frickin-lutely everything about having a baby in the house? "The baby hasn't slept in three days, I'm covered in spit up from head to toe, my nipples are cracked and bleeding like a stuck pig, when she latches on it feels like fire, I haven't showered in a week and I have hemorrhoids the size of golf balls. I wouldn't change a thing. I am so truly blessed!" Screw that. You are such a LIAR! There is no way on God's green earth that you are actually enjoying any of those things! You can't tell me that you wouldn't sell your precious new bundle of joy (or at very least your firstborn) for a hot shower, 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep, your boobs not to feel like they're clamped down in a hot vice grip and to be able to poop without pain.

We are all blessed by these little angels we bring into this world. That intoxicating baby smell, the way they fall asleep on your chest and snuggle there for hours, the little gassy smiles and giggles, those tiny hands and feet that you could stare at for hours on end...the list goes on and on. But there are also a lot of things about newborns that no one would wish for. The sleepless nights, that disgusting oil slick, sticky poo, the crying for hours on end (even if your baby isn't colicy, you are bound to experience this at one time or another), the spit up, the pains of breastfeeding - trying to find the right formula if you're bottle feeding, or waiting for the disgusting umbilical stump to fall off.

Sometimes we are looking for feedback from other mothers who have been through a similar situation. Maybe we wonder when the postpartum blues will start to subside, when the weight will finally come off, if we are the only ones who dream of a day when we can have a date night, the way it used to be, with our significant other. Maybe we want to know if our middle-schooler will ever outgrow the awkward, introvert stage he is going through, or if our 13 month old will ever like anything other than yogurt, or if our high-schooler will ever admit she has parents, let alone want to be seen with us. What we don't want is someone responding by saying; "I lost the baby weight in 3 months and now I'm back to my high-school weight" or "My son is in 11th grade and still hugs me and kisses me in front of all his friends!"

Why do people seem to be so anxious to show that their lives are so much better than everyone else's? Anyone with half a brain knows that no one has a perfect life. Our kids act like little a-holes. We fight with our partners. The baby won't sleep. We forget to pay the electric bill. We can't lose those last few stubborn pounds. Why are some people so quick to rub your face in it like a dog who just shit in the house?

God forbid you stop in front of the boxed baking mixes and get caught by the mother with a cart full of organic everything. That happened to me yesterday. This lady gave me the stink eye because I had 3 of my 5 kids with me and I was looking at brownie mixes. She just looked at me and looked at her cart with the corners of her lips curled up slightly in a smug grin as she fed her kid another piece of organic banana that she obviously hadn't paid for! (OK, so maybe she could have brought it with her.) That look made me feel about 'thisbig' and made me want to run after her saying - look, I have organic products in my cart and I'm not buying the brownies! - while my kid run behind me wailing - What about the brooooowniiiiiieeeeesssss?!

What ever happened to banding together as women and mothers and being supportive of each other? So what if I chose to breastfeed and you chose to formula feed? So what if your baby rolls over 2 months earlier than mine? So what if your kid made honor roll four times and mine once? So what if I buy a box of brownie mix?

I decided in the grocery store yesterday that I am not going to allow others to male me feel bad about MY choices. I will not allow myself to feel envious of the mother who has the seemingly perfect life. Or the one who claims to love everything awful that goes along with having kids. I will not buy a bigger light-up Santa for the yard to out-do my neighbor.

I refuse to give in to the Jonses, literally or figuratively, in person or online.

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