Q of the Week : Handling Competitive Motherhood?

Today is the first day of homeschooling, and I’m fighting myself to take it easy.  To not overwhelm, or copy what my friends do, or even do much.  Just settle into a new routine, slowly, and keep it from being too much of a routine, which I don’t think is for us.  It’s rather overwhelming, and I didn’t sleep too well last night. 

Over the last week, I’ve gotten a lot of supportive comments and calls and questions about how it’s going.  Asking how we’re going to do it, and lots of resource recommendations.  It’s all helpful, but I have to make myself file it away for when I’m ready for it, rather than dive into right now and add to my overwhelm. I need to do this gradually.

I’m jumping into a whole new pool of mothers, the homeschooling ones, and I’m struck with how much I feel like I have to do this new job well, because everyone is watching.  It’s not a good reason, but the feeling is there just the same.  Feeling eyes on me at the park, wondering why my son is there and not in school.  Feeling like I have to explain (but I don’t).  Feeling like I have to prove that he’s visibly (to them) learning.  This is just a whole other layer to the good-mother complex.  Argh!  It was complicated enough!  I already parent in front of an audience almost 24x7, thanks to housemates, and it does get to me, this feeling of being watched and often judged. 

Motherhood is NOT a competition, but it’s hard at times to erase that from our psyches and actions.  We see another mom doing something we wish we were, or handling something better, and we feel like we’re behind somehow, or less of a mom.  We compare ourselves … we do!  Some more than others perhaps, but it’s in there somewhere.   I’m realizing that this new venture is going to put even more of a screw into my naturally competitive nature, and I’m hoping that identifying it will help a wee bit in keeping it in check.  I’m so sensitive about how I’m perceived as a mom, it’s hard to be immune to caring about it.  When starting something new, and somewhat against the norm, it’s even harder! 

It is what it is however … it’s my chosen road, and I will do my best.  So-so life the norm rather than the exception?  So be it!  And if it doesn’t work, may I have the grace to go back to public school with a smile and a shrug. 

So how do you handle competitive feelings as a mom?  Or just fess up and admit you have them sometimes!  I’d feel better if you did :).  Do tell …