My kid is smart and I'm proud of him. There I said it. My Big Pants Boy came home yesterday with two medals he had won in a national math contest. He was tied for first place in not only his class at school, but also his state. Nationally there are 28 kids who tied for 1st with 100%, and his score - 95% earns second place. Not to shabby for a kid that hates math, and a kid who was so intimidated by math tests that last year he refused to participate in the contest. (This year he was given no choice.)
So why do I feel like it's bragging to say so? Why is it that we feel free to post the number of soccer goals Little Johnny had, or the musical prowess of Suzie, but academic success feels inappropriate to brag about, like people will think that I think I am superior? Yes, it is all about what we think other people think we are thinking that matters most.
Moms judge you. Dads probably do, too, but Dads seem to do it at home alone with their wives as opposed to at the playground when you aren't looking.
We start judging each other the moment our bellies rise and don't stop until we probably die. We judge the number of children we have, the food we feed them, the amount of rules we do or don't have for them, the activities we enroll them in.
We judge the mom for being single: I could never do that to my children. I put my children first. I don't see how any mother could give up seeing her children even one night a week. There is nothing sadder than a child from a broken home.
We judge the mom for staying married: I can't believe she stays with that pig. If she put her children first she'd leave him before they are irreparably damaged. Exposing children to that sort of behavior will ensure it continues on in the next generation.
We judge the clothing moms wear and their children wear as well as the hairstyles they allow. He has a mohawk? Can you believe she let him pierce his ear(s)?
She gave her daughter a boy's haircut! Does she want her ostracized?!
And God forbid your child has a tantrum in public, because then you'll be judged on giving in to the little monster, or not giving in to them and irritating everyone else. And yes, every other mother is feeling smug that it is not their child acting out, at least not today.
Hey, guys, if we are being judged on our worst moments, why not let them see the times we got it right? If you are like me, you aren't bragging because you think you are better than everyone else, you are saying, "Look how well my kid is turning out in spite of all the things I have screwed up! I wasn't all bad!!!"
Let's be honest, we all need those victories. The more moms I talk to the more I learn how universally we feel like failures. And we have to stop looking at other people's successes as an attack against our our choices. As moms, why don't stop keeping score and just say to each other, "Good job! You aren't the screw up you think you are - here's proof!"
And just for today, here's mine. I didn't screw everything up by being a single mother, or being a lenient mother, or being a low-energy mother. My genetic hand-me-downs may leave a lot to be desired, but there's some good I passed down, too.