Are Moms Too Egocentric?

I ask, are moms too egocentric? Do we take things too personally because we are so focused on our own worlds? Are we viewing every comment made to us through our own filters and insecurities? Do we think it’s “all about me” when it really isn’t?

 

Are moms too egocentric?
Are moms too egocentric?

I was at the health food store picking up some red worms I won during a cake walk…yeah, that sounds weird. Anyway, I was standing around waiting for the worms to appear when I sort of bumped into another mom with an adorable baby. She had him in one of those cool sling things I never quite mastered and her little boy was waving and making googly eyes at Tiny-Small. I commented on his general cuteness and then asked his age. I think she said 7 months or something like that. I smiled and said, “He’s almost as big as my daughter and she is going to be two soon.” Well, that was the wrong thing to say and I realized that as soon as her face fell and she started lecturing me on how kids don’t grow as fast once they are two and that her son was just in a growth stage where he looked big for his age…. I felt terrible because I had obviously struck a nerve with my innocent comment. What I think she heard was, “Your boy’s too big.” What I was actually thinking when I said it was, “My girl’s too small.” Somehow the small verbal exchange between us turned into a major miscommunication and ended with hurt feelings. I just nodded as she went off on me and sadly noticed how she ignored me when I left the store. She even ignore Tiny-Small who kept screaming, “Bye Bye, Baby!” I never meant to hurt her feelings. I was just passing the time and making small talk. If anything, my comment was a reflection of the worries and concerns I was having over my daughter’s weight and size. Her child looked perfect to me. I never thought for a moment that he was too big.

 

Recognizing our human nature as beings whose happiness is dependent on others, we learn to open our hearts, and in so doing we gain a sense of purpose and a sense of connection with those around us.     -Dalai Lama

 

I hear about, read about, and experience these types of miscommunication occurring between mom’s on an almost daily basis. I’ve come to the conclusion that as a species mom’s are a little (or maybe a lot) egocentric. Including me. We tend to think we are at the center of all things. That every statement another mom makes is somehow about us or was made just to insult us. Then there is the whole we think our way is the best way and sometimes the only way (or the only right way). If you pop into a dozen blogs right now you will see half a dozen people arguing in this manner. One mom works and is offended when another mom says she could never put her kid in day care. Meanwhile the at home mom is offended that the working mom thinks daycare is really good for her child’s social development because somehow she interprets that as a put down on her own child’s social development. In actuality each mom was talking about her own experiences and her own choices. Neither mom meant to take anything away from the other mom’s experience, or to be offensive to her. Most of these arguments seem to stem from insecurity and defensiveness (we all think we could be doing better) and often misinterpretation of the other person’s intentions.

 

Disturbing emotions not only disturb our own state of mind, they also disturb the minds of others. Self-centerdness gives rise to fear and insecurity, which in turn creates distrust. This is why having an altruistic attitude brings a great sense of happiness and peace of mind.     -Dalai Lama

 

It’s deteriorating our interactions with one another. I don’t know if it is because we are sleep deprived and overloaded, but we need to work on reducing the number of times we are offended on a daily basis because sometimes a statement is just a statement without any malice behind it or any judgement. People should be allowed to communicate their own experiences without it offending someone who happens to be having a different experience. One experience does not reduce the significance of another experience. At least I don’t think it does. I think mom’s are just doing the best they can to survive and to provide their child with a good life. Is that going to look different for each mom, child, and family? It sure is. We all have our own circumstances and obstacles to hurdle, we have our own concerns and values to negotiate, and we have children who are unique with different strengths and weaknesses to contend with.

 

The practice of patience protects us from losing our composure. In doing that it enables us to exercise discernment, even in the heat of difficult situations. It gives us inner space. And within that space we gain a degree of self-control, which allows us to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner rather than being driven by our anger and irritation.      -Dalai Lama

 

I am waving my white flag in surrender. I’m not a perfect mom. I make mistakes all over the place, but I’m not trying to offend anybody when I am out at the store and see a cute baby. I am just looking for a kindred spirit, another mom, someone who can relate to what I am going through. I’m not here to judge whether you are being a mom in the “right” way. Half the time I am just winging it myself and trying to get the job done anyway I can. I’ve decided to make an effort not to assume all comments are criticism’s and that all mom’s are out to prove me wrong. I know they aren’t. I know most moms are just really wrapped up in their own lives, views, and parenting concerns. Most of the time they don’t really care about my choices concerning my child because they are focused on their own choices and their own child. I could have argued with the woman at the store or got angry with her for lecturing me. I decided to just let her vent. She must have been having a really bad day and maybe she just came from the pediatricians office and had been told her child was overweight or something. I’ll never know for sure what upset her, but there was no need for me to make it any worse.

 

If each of us can learn to relate to each other more out of compassion, with a sense of connection to each other and a deep recognition of our common humanity, and more important, to teach this to our children, I believe that this can go a long way in reducing many of the conflicts and problems that we see today.      -Dalai Lama

 

If we don’t start giving each other the benefit of the doubt and making more of an effort to be supportive, accepting, and respectful of each other we’re going to be bored to death talking about the weather and other such banal subjects. Life isn’t black and white. There is more than one “right” solution to many problems. Let’s work on building each others confidence and offering support instead of tearing each other down and apart. Motherhood should not be used as a weapon. We aren’t high school girls and this isn’t study hall. Let’s stop attacking each other and also, let’s stop assuming we are being attacked. Let go of the defensiveness and grab onto to the things we have in common. It will make the experience much more satisfying and enjoyable and maybe a little easier for all of us.

What do you think, are moms too egocentric?

9 thoughts on “Are Moms Too Egocentric?”

  1. Great post. It's not just moms, though. It's people. We seem to internalize every little statement everyone says. If we could all just realize that it's not all about us, and stop being so self-involved, we'd all be a lot happier!

    1. You are so right, Judy! I really could have written this about people in general because it is not just moms. I think you are right about happiness. We have to stop internalizing things and walking around all upset over something really minor or often nothing at all!

  2. I had this happen with a friend except I think over time as a mom, you have to make the choice, like you said, to not take it personally. Yes, it's hard when someone brings up something about their kids and it's the other end of the spectrum of what my kids are going through so I want to stab them in the eye. But I don't anymore. I might have to make a little extra space in the relationship — resorting to texts and emails while my emotions sort themselves out. But I don't speak out. I also learned to temper how I say things. At first I stopped saying things, but now I just make sure to phrase it very specifically as “my experience”.
    Also loved these lines: “I am just looking for a kindred spirit, another mom, someone who can relate to what I am going through. I'm not here to judge whether you are being a mom in the “right” way. Half the time I am just winging it myself and trying to get the job done anyway I can.”
    Thus endth my blog post comment.

    1. It certainly takes time to reach the point where you can control the urge to stab people in the eye. I know I still have a ways to go, but I think using the words “in my experience” certainly helps and can go a long way in keeping the peace.

  3. Oh, yes. Sure all of us are egocentric to an extent, but once a woman gets pregnant it’s a whole new level of egocentrism. Her belly and therefore herself too become the centre of the universe. And later her baby and her. Nobody else really matters, even the father of her child, he only matters as much as he can provide help around the baby, he doesn’t matter as a person. So do her parents. There’s that enormous expectation of help that grandparents are obliged to. It often makes me wonder how many of today’s mothers asked their parents’ opinion when they decided to have a baby. Not many, I am sure. My life, my decision & Don’t tell me how to live my life – we like to say. But when the baby arrives then all of a sudden the grandparents are obliged to help. And those children, my lord, they will be even more precious snowflakes when they grow up than the millennials.

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