Weekend Vibes

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 82: The One on One-Upmanship with Other Mothers.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: Le Quilted Backpack.

I’ll do a more complete review soon, but I am already so impressed with my latest acquisition: the MZ Wallace Metro Backpack, seen above.  I got mine in ink black.  It is featherweight, intelligently designed, and comfortable.  But mostly it has greatly simplified solo adventures with mini where the subway is involved and I am forever grateful.  Plus, it’s CHIC!  The first non-designer backpack I have found where I thought: “Ah, that looks goooood.”

You’re Sooooo Popular: My New Favorite Tee.

The most popular items on Le Blog this week:

+My new favorite tee, which I own in multiple colors.

+Comfiest pajamas.


+Black jeans.  People LOVE this brand and this cut.

+Super chic loafers.

+Everyday luxury in the form of $100 cashmere.  (The ice blue is en route to me now!)

+Darling costume for a baby.

+A splashy cocktail number for your next event.  (You’d be the life of the party in it.  AND.  It’s $100!)

+Love my NY sweatshirt 🙂

+Give your shower an upgrade

#Turbothot: Can We Not.

I love spending time with other moms because then I don’t feel compelled to apologize when I find myself five minutes into a story about a nanny situation, or pre-school applications, or a disastrous blowout — basically, the kind of content that any other person would rightfully glaze over and tune out.  In general, I try to keep a sense of perspective, even when with other moms, and will often cut myself off — “Anyway, that’s enough about strollers” — but there are many times when I crave the companionship of another mom who has been through a similar experience to nod and laugh with me at the intense and crazy and frustrating and hilarious minutaie of motherhood.  My sister and I will occasionally call each other: “OK, I just have to say something –” and then share a completely boring story about something that happened at the playground or in music class or at lunch, and it just feels good to bond over our motherliness.  I have learned so much from these conversations (and also from observing, quietly, the interactions of moms with their children at the playground or in music class, as I explained here), and have found comfort and camaraderie in them.

But can I say something?

I absolutely dread a comment I routinely hear from other mothers.  It goes something like this:

Me: “Oh, yeah, mini is doing great; she’s doing [xyz].”

Other mom: “Oh, just wait until she starts…[xyz]”

The “just wait until” comment drives me bananas, and I hear it constantly — even before mini was born!  “Oh, just wait until the third trimester…that’s a doozy.”  And “You think you can’t sleep well now?  Oh boy, just wait until the baby comes.”  And then:  “Oh, just wait until she’s crawling.”  And: “Oh, just wait until she’s standing.”  And: “Oh just wait until –”

AHHH.  I believe myself to be fairly forbearing, but this kind of one-up-man-ship kills me.  It takes the wind right out of my sails.  It makes me feel embarrassed, a greenhorn among experts, an adolescent among adults.  It shrinks me and my experience.  It feels like a slap on the wrist, as if my concerns and struggles are petty compared to whatever the other mom is enduring.  I know, of course, that the other mom doesn’t intend her comment to be cruel; it’s most often a way for her to redirect the conversation to whatever is top-of-mind for her on a given day.  And maybe she sees it as a kind of reassurance: “Oh, you’ll be OK.  You can get through this.  I did and look at me now!”  Or maybe she sees it as a gentle scold, a reminder that things are actually quite good right now and that I should appreciate it.

But it bears noting that — in my opinion — every phase of mini’s life has been balanced with its own pros and cons.  I remember a mom telling me, when mini was about six weeks old: “Count your blessings now.  She can’t move!  She’s immobile!  Just wait until she’s on the go.  Life really changes.”  And I thought to myself: “Well, that’s true, but you’re also not waking up every 2 hours in the night right now; your baby sleeps from 7-7!  I’m still in the early weeks of sleeplessness.  And I feel like CRAP!”  In short, there’s always a tradeoff.  Of course, it’s easy to forget the tough parts of early motherhood, and I would do well to remember this the next time I hear a “just wait until…”  I think back now on those first few weeks with a kind of Hallmark haziness, too.  So many mornings spent in bed until 9, just snuggling with my little family, drinking coffee, watching The Great British Baking Show.  So many cozy evenings watching movies and enjoying my first few glasses of wine in our basement.  So many afternoons cuddling with mini on the sofa while Mr. Magpie cooked something for dinner.  The sharp pain I was enduring around my incision?  The exhaustion?  The quiet sobs of an overwhelmed, overtired mom?  The soreness?  The emotional toll of breastfeeding and recovery?  I literally have to force myself to remember those unsavory bits at this point.  So much of my memories around her early weeks are now awash in joyful nostalgia.

But still.  As a collective of mothers, can we not with the “just wait until” comments?  Much better to listen and nod in assent, even if we are burning to throw down the gauntlet and showcase our more complicated travails in motherhood.  Much better to just say: “I hear you, and I was there, too.”

Anyone else?

#Shopaholic: The $60 Boho Dress.

+This oversized blouse-y dress looks super high-end, especially paired with Hermes Orans or a pair of pointed-toe flats.  (Under $60!)

+There were a lot of feathers on the runways this past fashion week — including at Marc Jacobs and Attico (#swoon) — and it has led me to consider this fun little fluffball as an evening bag for the winter.  So fun.

+I have a navy cableknit sweater similar to this (slightly long/baggy) that I love to wear with white skinnies, even in the fall.

+Love this versatile piece in the camel or pink.  The kind of thing you can keep at your desk and throw on over anything when cold.

+Heart eyes for this chunky, oversized scarf.  I like the idea of matching it to whatever color your favorite coat is for a monochrome look.

+I mentioned this elsewhere, but I’m in LOVE with this striped shirtdress!  Gucci vibes for $100!

+Mini has just recently outgrown all of her shoes.  I loved her Elephantito Mary Janes (she had them in silver) and am going to buy a new pair in this cool, classic brown color.

+Random, yes, but I just ordered these as a space-saving solution.  A smaller footprint than the classic box!  Genius.

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8 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 82: The One on One-Upmanship with Other Mothers.

  1. This is my experience with one ten-month old, too – thank you for describing it so eloquently.

    Re: the mention of your incision, I’m reading Deborah Harkness’ new book and came across this quotation that I sent to a friend who had a c-section as well. It’s about vampires, but no matter:

    ‘No act of creation has ever been painless,’ she continued. ‘Miracles should leave a mark, so that we can remember how precious they are.’

    Thanks as always for your blog!

    1. Oh! I love that quote. Thank you for sharing. And thanks, also, for chiming in that you’ve experienced something similar!! xo

  2. Ugh I truly despise this mode of conversation and it happens all the time. Certain people in my life discount any challenge my family faces because we only (also hate that word in this context) have one baby and they have two – so they just categorically have it harder, should dictate plans and schedules, should get to cancel or change plans at a moment’s notice without explanation or apology, etc. It drives me crazy! Why on earth do people feel the need to compete about whose kids are more challenging or demanding?

    1. Hi! Yes! I’ve heard that a lot, too — “you think it’s hard with one? try having TWO! One is nothing.” I do understand life with more than one child is invariably more complicated. As my brother put it (he’s father to two): “There aren’t any economies of scale. It’s just twice as much of…everything.” So I do empathize. But the one-upmanship of it all! It drives me crazy!!! xo

  3. Oh my — that would drive me crazy, too. I haven’t experienced newborn motherhood, but I can only imagine how comments like those would raise my hackles and drive me nuts! It’s also so interesting to hear about how you’ve “blocked” certain unpleasant aspects of early motherhood, especially around a c-section and its aftermath — I suppose this is how our species has continued! If we remembered all of the less-than-comfortable moments, we might not continue bearing children. At least, that’s how I make sense of it!

    I received my MZ Wallace tote the other day — I’m saving it until I start a new position next month, but I’m impressed with the quality, fabric, color, etc. — can’t wait to start using it, and I’d love to have a backpack as well! Ha! And I’m a little bit jealous of your ice blue cashmere sweater — WANT! I think my next purchase might be a checked blazer, though; I found one by Madewell that looks intriguing and I might pop by a store this week to try it on. 🙂

    1. Yes to all of this! I think you’re right that we are somehow genetically coded to forget about the unpleasantries of birth and early motherhood. All of the weight of that time has given way to a mushy sentimentality…

      Yay for a new position — congrats! I think you’ll be happy with your MZ Wallace snag 🙂 Now that I’ve bought mine I notice them frequently on well-heeled women around town. A super practical, lightweight, chic solution to everyday schleppery…



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