We need to talk.
And I say this as a reminder to myself more than I am saying it to anyone else.
Let’s pause and be honest for a second.
Consider this scenario.
You and two of your friends are at the playground with your kids. None of you really have your sh*t together. You haven’t showered and you have no makeup on. Or maybe you never took off the makeup you put on yesterday.
Maybe you have have let yourself go a little bit and never lost those last fifteen pounds you gained from your last pregnancy.
And a mom walks onto the playground with her kids. You don’t know her.
She appears to be showered and she smells really good and she is wearing a super cute and really stylish outfit.
What do you and your friends say to each other when you see her?
What is your initial reaction?
Do you say hello to her?
This woman wearing a kick ass outfit?
This woman who appears to actually care about her appearance?
Do you welcome her into your circle of friends?
Do you say, “I LOVE your outfit. That is SO CUTE!”
Let’s look at another scenario.
You are at the gym and you are taking a class.
You have your yoga pants on. They are the same ones you wore to bed last night. You are wearing an oversized shirt because you are really self conscious about your midsection and the twenty extra pounds you are carrying on your body since you had your last kid. Seven years ago.
There is a woman in the class who is in incredible shape. She is wearing a super cute coordinating outfit. Her legs make Carrie Underwood’s legs look slightly soft.
Do you approach her?
Do you tell her she’s got an awesome and kick ass set of legs?
Here’s another one.
You go to a friend’s house.
It’s neat. It’s clean. It’s nothing like your house. Upon entering you are immediately hit with a wave of insecurity.
What do you say?
Do you tell your friend, “You know, I am super impressed by how neat your house is? How do you do it? Teach me your ways!!!”
Or do you talk about her behind her back with a couple of your other friends who haven’t quite mastered the clean house thing yet?
I saw this picture on Facebook the other day, and it really struck me.
It struck me because I have been that woman who has felt threatened by other women who have their acts together.
Or at least women who appear to have their acts together.
Because nobody has it all together.
We all have weaknesses. They are just different.
I have snickered and judged. Sometimes I’ve done this internally. Conversations with only myself.
Other times I’ve done this with other women. Out loud.
I have a good friend who I love to death. She is the sweetest, kindest, most empathetic and least judgmental person I know.
A couple years ago I was taking a class with her at the Y, and there was a woman there who worked out regularly and took really good care of herself.
I didn’t know her name, and while I saw her there often, I had never spoken to her.
Neither had my friend.
But you know what my friend did?
She walked up to that in shape woman who had a seriously nice set of gams and she said, “I just wanted you to know I think your legs are amazing.”
I’ll admit I was kind of blown away by that.
How often does that happen?
How often do you tell another woman who is kicking ass in some department (especially one that you aren’t) that you really admire that about her?
I can tell you that I personally do not do that very often.
Maybe because I’m envious.
Or more likely because my ego is threatened.
That is not an attractive quality to possess.
And aside from not being attractive, our children are watching us.
Especially our daughters.
I don’t know what it’s like in other sports, but I see this so often in the swim community. Especially with girls.
Young girls often have a very hard time when their peers are better than them. And they will often cut these girls down and look for ways to find fault with them.
Why does this happen?
Well, I think we parents — and especially us moms — have to take a good look at ourselves.
Our girls are learning that behavior from someone.
We need to really be aware of how we talk about other women. And how we talk to our kids about their friends.
Do we help them appreciate the strengths of their peers, or do we encourage an atmosphere of competition, jealousy and hostility?
Do we encourage our girls to build up their friends?
Do we teach our girls that other talented girls are not threats? That they are gifts, really?
I mean, if you are the product of the five people you spend the most time around, don’t you want to spend your time around people who are better at stuff than you?
Isn’t that what helps you to grow and push yourself and improve and become a better person?
I have spent many, many years feeling threatened by other women who are kicking ass not only in areas that I’m not, but in the areas that I’m doing okay in.
It’s not a competition.
We are all in this together, People!
There is plenty of room for women who are good at the same things in this world.
I mean a whole bunch of women who are good at the same thing could really make this world a better place.
And what we often forget is that those women who appear to have it all together?
There is a very good chance they feel the same way about us!
The next time you see a woman who is really getting something right, don’t let yourself feel threatened by her.
Instead, let her know!
Build her up.
Teach your kids — SHOW your kids — and especially your girls, that life isn’t a competition.
It’s a team sport.
We’re all in this together.
The more you surround yourself with talented people, the more talented you become.
And what you put out there is what comes back to you.
To the overachieving room mom, the bento box lunch making mom, the perfectly themed birthday party mom…
I have said some kind of shitty things about you in the past.
And you know what?
It’s all been out of jealousy or insecurity.
I actually think those things you do are really cool. And deep down inside, I just wish I had the creativity or the drive or the talent to do that stuff. And your kids are pretty lucky to have a mom who would do those things for them.
Maybe someday you can teach me your ways.
Until then, please accept my genuine apology.
And thanks for helping me learn a little bit more about myself.
You are helping me to become a more self aware person.
And now that I’m having a moment of clarity about this, that is probably what I admire and appreciate about you the most.
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