Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hierarchy of Mothers

Yesterday I went out for lunch to celebrate a friends birthday and something happened. I call it the hierarchy of mothers. Have you noticed this?

I was sitting there with my two littles eating my lunch when a latecomer joined the group. She had one toddler in tow. She introduced herself to me and mentioned her little guys name and told me that he's one of her three kids. His name would have sufficed, but she felt the need to tell me that she's not just a mother of only one measly kid, but she's a proud mother of three. Why did she do that?

I've noticed this behavior amongst women everywhere. I first began to see it when I had Zander. It seems that the more children you have, the more respected or pitied you should be. Whichever you are going for I guess. Whenever I'm out with the entire crew, women constantly tell me they have more children or more grandchildren than children I have. As if I really care. As if I base anything on their lack of birth control. As if that makes them more important or experienced as I am.

Is this more equalizing? I know as women we wear our children as trophies. Well some do. I love when I am out with only the baby and all the women I run into give me advice and "wait and see's". It cracks me up. I never tell them oh he's the youngest of four and I'm pregnant with five.

But it doesn't stop there. There are subcategories to the hierarchy. It's also includes, how old your oldest is, the spacing, how old you were when you had your first, are they all still at home or are some school aged. any teenagers in there, and even their genders. There's a whole order here.

Someone asked me the other day how close Eryx and the new baby will be in age. I replied that they will be 18 months apart. To this she said, "oh well my oldest two are 14 months apart so 18 is nothing". Yikes, I wasn't complaining or bragging. They are what they are. That was the Lord's timetable with this pregnancy...not mine. Am I super mom because my fourth and fifth child are 18 months apart, or is she because her first were only fourteen months... what was the attitude there?

Another incidence of this was when I found an old friend on facebook. She had just given birth to her fifth child and us our fourth. When I told her that we have four she actually said to me, "oh I'm winning". I said, "what?" She said that they have more kids so she's winning. I told her that if having children were a race or contest then yes, she would be winning. Blah!! Really people!! Those children are her trophies, yes... In her eyes she had five trophies and I only had four...yikes!

Do you see where I'm going. Why is this even discussed? I have three friends with more children than I do. I don't look at them as a threat. I'm not losing the game. I look to them for their precious experience. When I'm around them and they speak of what works in their homes with their kids, I take notes. I don't judge them or feel like I'm less than they are because we ONLY have four children. This is so silly, yet it is a social standard that women create.

Why do we do this? Have you noticed it? Any opinions?

8 comments:

Nicole said...

no comment

Nicole said...

totally kidding. i have a comment for everything! ;)

i am totally guilty of bringing up my kids. i usually do it to shock people because they don't usually think i'm old enough to have one let alone 4 kids. i think that most women do it, at least when we first meet, to strike up conversation....to find common ground. if you have a child the same age or whatever, you can talk about that. yes, some women do it as a competition...who can have the most or the fastest or the closest. i'm not the biggest fan of that crowd.

MZP said...

eh, I think 99% of the time it's just people trying to make conversion or just joking.

Melissa said...

It happens too much for me to not see a trend here. It's probably good if you've never noticed it, but it's sooo there MZP! And Nicole you crack me up!

nuttbutts said...

well...i have 5, the oldest is nine the youngest is 3 months. 3 boys 2 girls. most of them are between 18 months and 2 years apart although the last one is 4 years younger than the second to the last so it was like starting all over. oh and by the way, i homeschool. i am only 34 and i started having kids when i was 25. my kids are all early developers. they are all smarter than your average kid. and better behaved too! they all love each other and help each other. they never fight or are mean to each other. they all get along so well. my husband is perfect too! he can do anything. we have been married for 10 years and never once had a fight. in my opinion we are the perfect family and everyone should be like us!

nuttbutts said...

you know i am teasing right?

MZP said...

you'd have to be living under a rock not to notice those comments! Sheesh! they're obviously there, but I think a person can read whatever they want into other people's comments, and I think most of the time people are just telling about themselves. I don't think any of us can even pretend to know anyone elses motivations or feelings and if people feel a sense of competititon I think they're in the minority. But if someone wants to have a ton of kids just because they want to keep up with someone else, well, that's their problem, haha!

Melissa said...

Sara...Hilarious! Melissa, you hit the nail on the head...very nice. My latest goal in life is to figure out how not to read into stupid comments made by people...I'm working on it...it's so hard for me...blah.