In my ‘uppers’ category I put: working mums, mum-entrepreneurs, mums who look hot despite having baby’s snort on their cheek, and now a woman I don’t even know who lives somewhere in England and has 4 planned children under 4 year old. Insane. My friend Tess called me: ‘Girl, I found a new benchmark. You are off the hook. This woman pushes a double stroller with kids in it up the hill to go to pre-school every day while having the newborn in a baby carrier and holding the hand of a toddler!’ I truly feel awful but this made my day because next time I am telling people I am doing OK I will be thinking of Lady Rose – that’s how I call this crazy and I am sure wonderful woman catching up her breath on top of a hill with 4 kids in tow.
What most people think is often not what they feel. What most mums say is always never what they feel. Why?
1- because we are probably afraid to scare our partners, husbands, wives shitless. If husbands, partners etc. start looking at you worryingly it’s better to say you are fine, right? I mean, do you really want to see their loving look of concern turn into a look of complete sheer panic (e.g.my wife is crying and is acting psycho on me and I don’t even know how the washing machine works or what the kids are eating these days!)??? Nope indeed.
2- because we certainly do not want our own mums to intervene and move in.
What do we do then to get by? After some conversations with mama girlfriends we agreed that the following was of huge help: wine and any various types of strong liquors (all of us drink, the only differences are what we drink and what time we start), lots of coffee, headphones to cut off the screams, food, online shopping, medication and benchmarking. Benchmarking is the process of determining who is the very best, who sets the standard, and what that standard is.
In business, this can help you find your core competencies, increase customer satisfaction or analyze your competitors.
In life it is a little trickier. Turns out that many girlfriends admitted that when they hit a rough patch, they think of DH and I with our 3 babies and then stop whining. I feel both weirdly proud and unsettled that I am the benchmark for ‘losing control’ .
As for me, I have two types of benchmarks, the ‘downers’ i.e. those which unfortunately make me wallow in self-pity and the ‘uppers’ i.e.those which make me feel better and energized. These days, my ‘downers’ contain pretty much everyone but these are the big guns: child free gay couples, women in their twenties, Knicks season ticket holders (unreasonable tickets price raise + cost of baby sitting + cost of stadium food = me saying bye bye to my season tickets) and parents who have one child. During our last date night, DH and I were ogling at this couple with their toddler son in a high chair. I was jealous not because the kid was disgustingly well behaved, eating and drawing on his own, not because the dad was relaxed nor because the mum was smiling but because the parents were eating with BOTH their hands. BOTH their hands. Of course they left the restaurant on a tandem bike with the kid in the back, DH hissed ‘Show offs…’