I didn’t want to enter this competition, but since I am a mum by default I am in it. The results aren’t important to me, but to so many they are. It’s the “who has it hardest as mum competition’. I mean I would kind of understand if people were striving to have the most enjoyable time as mothers, or being the most supportive person to other mothers since we understand what they are going through, and I guess many are but on social media these are not widely seen.
It first struck me when I saw an article (and the accompanying comments) based around whether wives of FIFO men were doing it as hard as single mums (apparently they aren’t if you ask single mums). I have also recently joined a twins and multiples Facebook page and daily see people getting frustrated that others would think their own parenting was hard when they didn’t have twins. How could a mum struggle with one baby – or even more frustrating to them – how could they say having kids at different ages is as hard as 2 at the same age?
Then there is the working mum versus stay at home mum. Who is really doing it the toughest? There is also ‘are the mums raising young kids or teenagers doing it the hardest’. The strangest thing is that the winner seems to be the ones who are worst off.
Sure I get that mums want recognition for the hard work they are doing every single day. But then why don’t we support that others are doing the same? All mothers (well mostly!) are doing the same thing – working day in and day out to love and care for their families. Every mum has hard days. There is so much that comes into parenting that makes comparison totally invalid even if it were helpful. There is how many kids you have, the age gap there is, but there is also whether you cope well with stress, lack of sleep, are you good at making decisions, some mums struggle with physical or mental illness everyday, some don’t have supportive husbands, some don’t have family close by for back up, some kids are harder to raise with their temperament, or disability, some people find young kids hard, some find old kids hard.
All this is really irrelevant to what we should be aiming for. I get that we all want to be good mums, of course we do. Comparison helps us feel good about how well we are doing. But don’t we also want to be good people? Don’t we want to teach our kids that supporting others is far better than competing with them? Don’t we want them to know that even though our lives look different we are all trying to love our kids the best we know how. If everyone could feel confident in their role as mum, and have the support of others then all our kids would all be better off. I encourage people to stop and appreciate their role as mum. Drop out of the competition as far as it lies with you. Support other mums even if they choose a different course to you. And heck, if you want to spend a day watching movies, eating junk food with your kids and enjoying every moment of it, then coming last in the ‘who has it hardest or who is the best mum’ competition’ will be well worth the trophy of those precious little hearts you are raising.
This Post Was Written By School Mum Kristen Harmer