I heard through my friend the other day that she's struggling a bit with motherhood. And do you know what my first reaction was? Sympathy? Nup. Wry empathy? Not even. It was smugness. "Oh, is little Miss Trendy Princess finding it hard with one kid, no job and a great hubby?"
As soon as I felt it, I squashed it, and then felt terribly guilty. I have railed before at how stupid it is for women and mothers to judge each other, and here I go doing exactly that. It's poisonous, and really pisses me off, so why the hell was that my first reaction?
Was it because I didn't really warm to her? Does that somehow mean she doesn't deserve any sympathy from the one group of people who know how hard it can be? That, however rewarding, motherhood can sometimes be sheer bloody hard graft, an endless stretch of sleep deprivation, drudgery, frustration and feeling lost at sea. What sort of bitch would feel some sort of sick schadenfreude that another woman was suffering?
Was it to make me feel better about the job I'm doing? If so, why can't I be proud of the job I'm doing as a Mum without feeling smug that someone else might not be. Believe me, I've struggled some days, and I was even told afterwards that my Mum had everyone on PND-watch with me, because I was the personality type most at risk of this; controlling, perfectionist, need to be good at everything and don't like asking for help type. The first couple of weeks of motherhood slapped that right outta me though, and I am actually pretty proud of the job I'm doing as a Mum. So why couldn't I feel the sympathy I feel for this woman straight off the bat? Am I really a nasty piece of work, or is this Mums-judging-Mums thing that I hate more part of our nature than I thought?