Nothing gets a “mompetitor's” juices flowing more than hearing about the accomplishments or achievements of someone else's kids. Just mention to her that your child started walking, or was chosen for the elite soccer team, or was accepted to a prestigious college, and you’ll see her instantly kick it into high gear, making sure her child outshines yours! Who is that competitive mom and how can you spot her?
Competition among moms comes out not only through their kids, but with each other. They feel they must be the best—the most organized, the thinnest, the best dressed, and the most liked by the other moms. Their homes have to be the cleanest, their husbands the most supportive, and their lifestyles the most envied. This puts tremendous pressure on their families to be perfect, and it definitely weighs heavily on their shoulders. The price for this behavior is tremendous, affecting the children, spouses, friends, and the competitive women themselves.
What causes some moms to compete with one another rather than work together? The competitive mindset is based on a flawed belief that to be good enough we have to prove that we’re the best—and that allowing others to shine will somehow diminish our own light. Because some women feel so deeply threatened by other women, they view them as opponents, enemies, and rivals, rather than partners and confidants. Insecurity and insufficiency are the hidden mechanisms that drive some moms to compete rather than collaborate.
When our competitive needs spill over onto our children, we change the people they are. They start becoming as anxious and as driven as us, thinking they are only as good as their latest accomplishments. They may grow up feeling they have to be perfect to prove themselves worthy of our love. The saddest consequence of our unrelenting need to see them “win-at-all-costs” is that our children will feel as if they’re never good enough. Their focus will always rest on their few failings, not their many accomplishments.
What can we do when we find ourselves among a “mompetitor”? Resist the urge to go toe to toe with her. Take a moment to reflect on the qualities that make you a good parent and the qualities that make your children unique and undeniably precious. Validating your worth (and maybe even validating hers too) keeps you out of the fray of competition.
When we focus our time and attention on comparing and competing with other moms, we have very little energy left over to invest in enriching and enjoying our own lives. When we fall into this competitive trap, we end up diffusing our own creative power. All of the energy we use to hold each other back can be redirected towards creating any outcome that we desire as women.