Several weeks into the class, through a serendipitous set of circumstances, I come to find out that at least one other mom is talking about me and the Russian girl in the class behind our backs because we're the only two moms wearing two-pieces out of about 15 moms in the class. "Who wears a two-piece to Baby Swim?" was this mom's way of judging myself and the other woman who see no problem with moms wearing two-pieces.
The thought of being judged by other moms for wearing a two-piece bathing suit not only makes me laugh out loud but also kind of makes my year, mostly because Matt and I predicted this could happen. In a larger sense, though, I am bothered by this statement because of its broader cultural implications. The thought process seems to fit into this American cultural mindset that moms give up their identity on the delivery room table. And the people who especially perpetuate this belief are other moms.
Moms wear one-piece bathing suits. And mom jeans. They don't do their hair or their make-up or wear nice clothes. They get mom haircuts that require little to no maintenance, and they buy frumpy clothes that hide their bodies.
And that's just the physical stuff.
If and when a mom decides to go back to work, she better not be a high-powered executive like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, because clearly her desire to have a career demonstrates that her priorities are out of whack.
She better breastfeed for a year or more, because how long you breastfeed is a symbol of how much you love your baby and how much you're willing to sacrifice.
She better not trust anyone else to babysit her child, because no one can do it as well as she can, and time for herself, for her husband, for her friends can wait until her children are in college.
I really believe in my slightly over one year as a mom that fellow moms are each others' worst critics. I am not saying I am not guilty of this at times as well. We believe our decisions are the best decisions, and out of lack of confidence, or jealousy, or both we judge other moms for something as simple as a two-piece bathing suit to something as complex as a career choice. In our relationships together as moms but first and foremost women we need to nurture all sides of our personalities and identities. And we need to applaud the new moms who are ready to jump back into their two-pieces.