Who's The Best Mother Of Them All?
Your Baby|January/February 2020
We all want the best for our kids. It’s easier when we have the support of women trying to do the same. So, why do we compete against each other all the time? Lori Cohen investigates
Lori Cohen

ON YOUR MARKS, get set, go! Once you announce you’re pregnant, it can feel like you’ve been thrown headfirst into a race where you’re competing with other moms-to-be. Who can put on the least weight? Who can set up the baby room to be the cutest designer pad? Who had the more “natural” birth?

For some women, this is just their first glimpse into “mom shaming” and the pressure we feel to ensure our kids are as cute, smart and stimulated as other babies whose moms are clearly acing it at parenting. It’s unexpected. Aren’t we all supposed to have each other’s backs?

A WHOLE NEW WORLD

“My baby and I had a rough start. She was a poor sleeper, and I struggled to breastfeed. I joined a baby group for support, but I was surprised when I started to dread the weekly meet-ups. Other moms would share how their baby was sleeping through the night, or they had so much milk they could donate it to a milk bank. I started to feel really uncertain about my ability as a mom. I didn’t realize how competitive other moms could be,” says Denise.*

Shrugging off her insecurities as part of her adjustment to motherhood, Denise, like many of us, found that the subtle jostling to be “mom of the century” intensified as her daughter got older.

“I know people are proud of their children. But when I saw friends on Facebook sharing that their child was already walking at 10 months, or what foods they were eating, or their elaborate first birthday cake, I couldn’t help feeling that I was losing at a game I hadn’t even wanted to take part in,” she continues.

We all have times when we feel inadequate as a parent. To balance this, we often put on the supermom facade.

“People express their feelings of inadequacy in different ways,” says Izabella Gates, author and founder of Life Talk (lifetalk.co.za), a local nonprofit that promotes proactive parenting.

“Some deal with the emotions by putting others down. But most mothers who appear to be competitive are simply trying to gauge their child against others to reassure themselves that all is well.”

For some mothers, the shift in lifestyle can push the A-type personality button.

“If you’ve been working and suddenly you find yourself at home caring for a child, your whole identity can become wrapped up in how you’re performing as a mom. A change in role can make one feel very vulnerable,” Izabella says.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM YOUR BABYView All

Who's The Best Mother Of Them All?

We all want the best for our kids. It’s easier when we have the support of women trying to do the same. So, why do we compete against each other all the time? Lori Cohen investigates

6 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

Where Is Dad?

More and more children in South Africa are being raised by single moms, leaving them with the burden of having to answer the many endless questions from their children about their absent fathers, writes Kate Sidley

6 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

When Chubby Isn't Cute

Those round cheeks in babies and toddlers are very cute, but with the childhood obesity epidemic on the rise, paying attention to those few extra kilograms is more important than ever, advises registered dietician Lindsay Archibald-Durham

4 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

What's The Buzz On Baby Groups?

A regular gathering for the littlies can have great benefits for your baby – and for you. Kerryn Massyn finds out why and what kinds of classes are out there

8 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

Self-Care For Mama

Taking regular bits of time off for ourselves should be one of our top new year’s resolutions for 2020. Here are some super ideas to take care of ourselves…

3 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

Parents I-C-E...

There have been many shifts in the traditions of what it means to be a godparent. Make sure you and the chosen godparents see eye to eye on the role, writes Genevieve Swart

5 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

Mommy Wine Time?

The wine-mom culture has become a symbol for the modern mother’s idea of selfcare. However, it has since been reduced to puns about pinot noir and knowing when to pump-and-dump, making it more destructive than one can think, writes Samantha Herbst

6 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

Get A Head Start On School

A new school year is exciting, but it can also be daunting to get back into the swing of things. Here’s how to tweak your routine, so you’re both ready and prepped, writes Lori Cohen

5 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

Generation Next - Tech-Savvy Geniuses Or Illiterate Dumb-Dumbs?

Our children are being born at the peak of an unprecedented technological revolution. Samantha Herbst explores how growing up in a digital world may help or hinder our children’s future

7 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020

Don't Be Rash

While nappy rash is a common complaint, it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with in order to know how to treat it, writes Tori Hoffmann

3 mins read
Your Baby
January/February 2020