Actress Mayim Bialik has an interesting theory about why mothers are so competitive.
In a video recently posted to her Facebook page, the “Big Bang Theory” star described how, after the birth of her now 12-year-old son, Miles, she left a mother’s support group “in tears” because she felt so out of place.
“When I was a new mom, 13 years ago, I went to a ‘mom’s group’ at a local retail store. I instantly felt out of place,” Bialik recalled. “I used cloth diapers. I didn’t use pacifiers or bottles. I didn’t have fancy clothes and neither did my baby. I didn’t have a manicure. I mean, I barely had time to shower. How was I gonna have time to get a manicure?”
The competitive nature of her fellow mothers unnerved her.
Bialik was struck by some of the questions asked of the group’s moderator, such as “Why does my baby want to be held so much?” and “How can I get a three-week-old baby to sleep through the night?” and even questions about shampoo.
“As for me, I assumed my baby wanted to be held so much because it was a human mammal baby,” she explained. “I didn’t want my three-week-old to sleep through the night, and I made my own shampoo from Dr. Bronner’s soap and essential oils.”
Mothers were encouraged to brag about their child’s tiniest accomplishment, from “pooping” to “rolling over, sitting up, and smiling.”
“Everything was a competition,” Bialik said. “These were not my people. I left in tears.”
“Moms are so competitive!” the actress said. “Why is that? Is it because we’re just catty and combative by nature? Is it because we’re bored and we have nothing better to do? Is it some evolutionary drive to like be the best and leave behind those who aren’t made for survival like we are for the betterment of the species?”
Bialik has an interesting idea as to the answer:
“I think that competition comes about because we are the first generation of women who were raised after the revolutionary turmoil of the women’s movement and were the first generation who was constitutionally raised to believe that we can and should do it all.” Bialik reasoned. “My mom was not raised in a time which she was taught to believe she could do it all, but she raised me to believe that I could, and I believed her.
“And I’ve done a lot of things in my life that I’m super proud of, but being raised this way actually prepares us best to compete in the workplace – we can do it all – and so when this generation became mothers, and removed ourselves from the career work, we took that competitive drive and we seem to have superimposed it on our lives as mothers,” she added.
And consequently, many have “redefined” what’s best as whose baby “breastfeeds the most,” “talks first,” “walks first,” etc.
Instead, the “Big Bang Theory” star believes mothers should find “more meaningful things to connect about as a society and especially as moms.”
“Let’s get back to a model of camaraderie that reduces competition, fosters friendship and empathy and increases the success of a society that is built on the foundational principles of woman-to-woman support, which has sustained our species for so long, so well,” Bialik said. “We can only do this together.”
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