Jun 212013
 

One of the questions folks ask most often is:  G, I’m drowning in the mommy wars. How do I escape from all the mom-petition?

My answer is always this: If you need it to disappear, stop believing in it. Competition is just like shame. It only exists for people who believe it does.

I used to believe in mom-petiton so strongly that it left me more than a bit paranoid.

I remember sitting in the food court of the mall one afternoon when my three kids were very young. I was cutting cardboard pizza and life-threatening “chicken” into itty bitty pieces, wiping up a million sugary spills, sweating, sweating, sweating, trying to figure out if I could be arrested for leaving my kids’ side for one hot second to refill my coke, praying no one would have to pee because: THREE KIDS WHO LICK EVERYTHING IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM and just, well, UGH.

Out of the blue this women sat down at the table next to me with her quiet child.  The child wore a matching top and pants. With a matching bow in her braid. In her BRAID. Someone had BRAIDED this child.  While I stared and looked back at my ragamuffin children who sort of looked like nobody loved them – the woman pulled out a high chair cover. To protect her child from GERMS, I think. And then. And THEN. She pulled an avocado out of her bag. An avocado AND A SPOON. This woman had packed a spoon. And she used that spoon to start feeding her well-groomed child food that came from a TREE. Or the ground? I don’t know – where do avocados come from? I don’t know but I’m pretty sure it’s not from the food court.

And this SHOW made my face start burning. I felt as if this woman had materialized for the sole reason of making me look bad. I am telling you that I decided right then and there that this mother was feeding her child avocados AT ME. And that also she had matched her child’s clothes that morning AT ME. And also that she had likely disciplined her child effectively for years AT ME. And that as icing on her (likely homemade and gluten-free) cake she was enjoying a lovely, peaceful, well-planned, healthy lunch AT ME. I felt judged. I felt like her approach to parenting was maybe developed solely to shine a big old spotlight on my “not good enough” parenting.  She was parenting AT ME, I tell you!

For years I lived in world in which people lived AT ME. For example:

Craig worked out AT ME while I tried to enjoy the couch. So aggressive.

People discussed natural child birth AT ME because they could sense my previous sixty epidurals.

People attempted ATTACHMENT PARENTING AT ME. ( I still don’t know what that really is but it certainly doesn’t sound like something behind which I’d rally.)

People threw Pinterest parties AT ME.

People trained for triathalons AT ME.

People refused to eat carbs after 8 pm AT ME.

I was constantly under attack with all of these judgy people living AT ME.  I was living in a hostile world.

But after spending the last five years reading thousands of letters from mamas and the last year on the road hearing stories from every different “type” of mama -  I live in a different world. I believe differently now. I know that nobody’s parenting at me and nobody’s living at me. Feeling judged by other people’s decisions is an insanely ego-centric way to live. Like my dad always says, “Glennon, nobody is thinking about you as much as you think they are.” Everybody’s just doing the best she can, mostly.

Other mamas are just weaving together families using what the unique gifts and challenges and interests they have. Just like I am. They are much too joyful and scared and fulfilled and empty and tired and inspired and busy living their brutiful lives to concern themselves too much with what I’m doing.

I mean, after five years – I’m ready to consider the possibility that avocado lady might not have even known I was going to be in the food court that day. It’s not likely – but it’s a possibility.

What we seek we will find and if we’re looking for a world full of judgmental mamas –  we’ll find it. Parenting is the most important thing to many of us and so it’s the place we’re most vulnerable. But even when we’re scared  - we can still choose. We can choose to see each other as competition or as fellow warriors – fighting the same fight on the same team. One goal – many paths. We can learn from each other. We can even ENJOY each other.

I live in a world where women do that now. It’s cozier. Better. More peaceful.  And much more interesting.

And if you have a friend who makes you feel competitive or less than- just remember that it’s likely not because she’s bad or you’re bad – it might just be that she still believes, so she’s living in a different world than you are. But you don’t have to enter every world into which you’re invited.

Stand your ground. Stay in your world. Stop believing.

*********************

A Folk Tale About Worlds

A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.

“What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”

“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.”

Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.

“They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”

“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”

***********************

 PS. I still think you marathoners are running at me. Cut it out.



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  264 Responses to “Quit Pointing Your Avocado At Me”

  1. […]  It always felt like women were doing life AT me.  (Glennon Melton wrote exactly how I feel in THIS POST .) […]

  2. […] Wonderful piece about giving up on the mommy wars. […]

  3. […] Quit pointing your avocado at me! – a great reminder that people aren’t usually doing things AT you. They’re just going about their everyday lives and you can choose your perspective. […]

  4. […] I loved this post: Quit Pointing Your Avocado At Me, found via Stacey at The Veggie Mama, and as part of the Parenting Around The World series at A Cup […]

  5. […] and all wear burlap sacks? Definitely not. Another great blogger, Glennon Melton, put it best in her post “Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me.” She challenges the notion that other women are […]

  6. […]  This is my new favourite post in the internet ever by Momestry via Veggie Mama. Specifically for those times when perfect people keep pointing their avocados at you. Just read the post. You’ll get what I mean. […]

  7. Ha! This made me laugh simply because my daughter is 6.5 & I still carry an avocado & a spoon with me…no, not to point at people but because it’s about the ONLY goddam thing she eats :p

  8. I love this. I have lived by the motto ‘the only person you should want to be better than is yourself’ for years. It is such a cleansing thing when you start worrying more about what you think of you than what everyone else does, hand in hand with that you stop worrying what you think of other and have more empathy I think. You are spot on that thinking everybody is thinking this or that about you is such an egocentric way to live, I started walking a whole lot taller the day it dawned on me. You have put all of this into words so well! Love it!

  9. […] that all these pregnant ladies are being pregnant *AT* me (thanks for illustrating that perfectly, Momastery!) And accidentally pregnant, at that. My sister-in-law who was done with having kids, and then […]

  10. […] Glennon Melton so eloquently conveyed in her blog post Quit Pointing Your Avocado At Me that captured the attention of moms everywhere, your day doesn’t need to be chock-full of these […]

  11. […] the follow-the-rules comfort of unified theories of parenting, as well as continue to obsess over imagined avocado aiming. In this environment, anything that high profile mothers do differently is seen not only as […]

  12. […] favorite piece that Glennon wrote is Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me about the so-called Mommy […]

  13. If more people could think like this the world would be a much happier place. My fiancée and me always chalk it up to everyone parents differently. It helps that we have friends with very different parenting “styles”. Since we knew them “before kids” we know they aren’t trying to show us up. They are just doing what right for their kids and what’s right for their family. The same goes for our “attachment type” parenting.
    We’re all just trying to make it through this roller coaster known as parenting!
    Love that you have put this out to remind us of that.

  14. […] her amazing parenting post about stopping the competition and not being the center of the universe here. **Oswald […]

  15. […] Namely, I honestly do not care how other people choose to parent their children. I do have some caveats, and I will get to those. However, generally speaking, so long as your children are fed, safe, and not neglected or abused, your parenting does not affect me in the slightest. I know for a fact that no one is parenting at me. […]

  16. […] kids avocado with a spoon as the mom next to them feeds theirs pizza? If you don’t…read this blog post. I was with my BF, and our situation was similar(only no feelings of competition […]

  17. […] Truth : Quit Pointing Your Avocado At Me […]

  18. […] Read this.  Okay, so that explains the avocados.  (For those of you who don’t want to exert the […]

  19. […] Folk Tale About Worlds –reposted from […]

  20. […] Pick your poison, but basically any different decision can fling me off on a sling-shot roller coaster ride of fear/guilt/self-consciousness.  Another mom brilliantly (and hilariously) described this as feeling like other moms are “Parenting AT her.”  (“Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me“) […]

  21. for real! the sensation of being sized up and judged constantly by other moms is actually the most oppressive i’ve felt (and i was a jew in catholic high school- long story!) but legit, you’re only in the race if you register. let it sway you and you’ve already lost. i parent at my own speed and in my own direction. sometimes i feel self-conscious or anxious, but i always return to center because it is completely impossible for me to be anyone else.. for long periods of time. lol

  22. I quite like reading an article that can make people think.
    Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  23. One time I was at the park and my daughter was playing in the sand and getting all dirty. Another mom there was clearly upset that I was letting my child get so dusty and kept making her kids wipe their hands on baby wipes, and insisting on holding their kool-aid pouches while they drank so they woudln’t get them “mucky”. A different mom made a comment like ‘aren’t you self conscious when people do that?’. And I said NO. See, she is judging me because my daughter is playing in the dirt, and I am judging her for letting her kids drink coloured sugar water. It all equals out – SNORT!

  24. [...] And now, with the arrival of the Prince of Cambridge, despite the good intentions of the Let’s End the Mommy Wars moms, the battles will rage hotter than ever in the coming years. The world media will not even attempt to resist the link bait of the royal Cambridges, probably adding a Time magazine “Are You Mom Enough?” angle to augment the hit count of every story, leading millions of moms to think “Quit pointing your avocado at me!” [...]

  25. [...] Quite Pointing your Avocado at Me by Momastery [...]

  26. [...] analogy, so bear with me. Momastery blogger Glennon Doyle Melton recently wrote a post called “Quit Pointing Your Avocado At Me” (I encourage you to read it and return here to fully get my point), about how she used to feel that [...]

  27. [...] “Quit Pointing Your Avocado At Me” from [...]

  28. [...] I’m not talking about the whole Mom-petition. I want to talk about the lack of respect for Babies when it comes to the American Academy of [...]

  29. Hahaha! I’m the pinterest mom! I diy everything and am completely addicted to pinterest! Y’all know why? I’m freaking broke and love those cheap suggestions for a quick dinner, craft, party food, etcetc wonder why we bother to torture ourselves?? Lol thanks for letting me know I’m not alone! Been on the other side as well, feeling like I’m creating a competition, but I’m not…just sharing my story…I learn from others’experiences and typically think others do too…then I get that look, the look that tells me she’s either judging me or herself…note to self, gotta stop torturing others! Lol

  30. I’m laughing from the defensive comments from the people who missed the point of this article. Loved this!

  31. I think some people missed the point here LOL. yes when she was in the food court she was feeling judgmentally because she was feeling judged herself and you are reading how she felt THEN ,not now. she labelled avocado woman AT THAT TIME because that is how she felt THEN , she does not do that now, which is the point of the story.If she did not show you the labels and her thinking back then,how could she tell her story with the honesty and truth that shines through it.I personally was very moved, I could have been either woman depending on the day.
    I looove the very first comment from the poster who said she was avocado woman who felt judged that she couldnt afford the food court LOL what we do to ourselves,madness!!!

  32. I am a mom who carries an avocado and spoon in the back of the stroller. I am the last person who would be judging. Avocados are easy-no prep-and don’t spoil and i have a child who will eat them with no problem. :) and food courts are expensive, avocados cheap. We can’t afford the food court. A lot of times we split the avocado. I always think people are looking at me like someone who can’t afford to eat out. They’re eating out ‘at me’! :)

  33. [...] this funny and insightful blog from Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery - Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me!. She nails it! var dd_offset_from_content = 40;var dd_top_offset_from_content = 0;var [...]

  34. Heheeheh, perhaps marathon moms run to get away from their kids for a while!

  35. Sometimes it feels like us attachment parenting, organic buying, live off the earth mamas get judged the hardest because others feel that just by doing what we do, we are naturally judging them if they don’t do the same, re: the avocado mama scenario. I relate to avocado mama, but not because I did any of that when my kids were younger but I do it now out of necessity. I spent years dealing with my children’s health issues, allergies, autoimmune disorders, etc. which led me to a place of operating in what others sometimes deem an “alternative or homeopathic” lifestyle. I pack my kids own food, I buy organic, avoid sugars and dyes, etc. not because I think I am better than others but because I have to for my kid’s sake. I have gotten many comments from people close to me that are hurtful, and have taken a brunt of their defenses and projection but I realize now that it is okay. Lashing out at anyone for what they do is never the best response because we don’t know what situations have led them to do what they do. Maybe avocado mama’s little girl has terrible food allergies and as much as she wished she could feed her child what you were feeding your kid, pizza and chicken nuggets, she just can’t. Trust me, we often don’t know what is going on behind what we see so even more of a reason to not judge nor compare.

    That being said, I no longer worry when people think about how I parent my children. We should all be proud to do what we do and not let other’s fears halt us from being great parents.

    Wayne Dyer posted this today on his Facebook page:

    “Remind yourself that you will incur the misunderstanding and perhaps even wrath of those around you for having the temerity to march to your own drumbeat. Don’t take it personally even for one moment. It is merely a strategy to get you to conform, and when you fail to react, the wrath will quickly disappear. At the same time, allow those in your immediate sphere to have the joy of blissfully marching to their own beat.”

    PS G, you should learn about AP, maybe it would be something you could “rally behind” when you get to know the amazing mamas who do it. :)

    Much love to every mama here.

  36. I like your post. But, YOU sound judgmental of the “avocado mom”. Just calling her that is very judgmental. The basic principle is this; People care about different things, so care about what you care about and don’t worry about what others care about. The “avocado mom” has different beliefs than you… so?? I don’t think it’s your post that is making me feel that judged feeling. I think it is the comments. Calling another person “crazy” for not wanting to feed their child food court food is ridiculous. And judgmental. Which is exactly what we’re trying to get away from, isn’t it? Honestly, I have never felt insecure being a mother, so I have never felt judged and I have never paid attention to anyone else really. Every woman has to reach the point where she is happy with her mothering to not judge/feel judged by others. “People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.” Albert Camus.

    • Mary, did you read the whole article? that is exactly what she has learned. she is just being real and sharing what she was thinking and feeling at that time so she can share her journey with us. She would totally agree with you. Being a parent is hard and mostly we are all just doing our best- that was Glennon’s conclusion.

  37. I love this – I am sure that lady with the avocado isn’t perfect – I am sure she’s very very imperfect and crazy…..
    I think anyone who eats an avocado with a spoon when there’s a perfectly delicious food court available is just plain crazy

  38. [...] 14.  Momastery “Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me” [...]

  39. It always makes me sad when we compare ourselves to others. I do it, too, of course. But what’s right for one person, doesn’t work for someone else. I would never want to live like avocado lady. That’s not saying she’s doing it wrong. It just means that it doesn’t work for me. Do what works for you and be proud of yourself for loving your kids and your family YOUR way.

  40. I have an non-verbal, Autistic son and this article made me cry with joy. I sent it along to so many of my friends because it is perfectly done. YOU are wonderful for writing this. :)

  41. [...] you’re a mom and you haven’t read “quit pointing your avocado at me” by glennon of momastery, you need to. now! [...]

  42. Took me awhile to realize that I don’t know what goes on with other people and certainly not their parenting, that I only see a moment. So I always try to remind myself of this.

    Maybe the avocado momma really did get it. Or maybe she was really strict and that little girl was artistic and will someday spread acrylics and watercolor all over her antique furniture. OR, maybe that little girl HAD to have her hair braided every day, HAD to match, WOULD ONLY eat avocado with a spoon from home, and the mom took her to the mall and thought, I’m going to sit her next to those three kids so maybe, just maybe, she’ll loosen up and I can go one day without braiding her hair and hoping I have a perfectly ripe avocado in the pantry.

    I hope she really was that excellent parent, but you just never know.

  43. [...] Glennon: Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me! [...]

  44. I mean, where the hell is the mommy manual? Obviously the avocado pointing momma got it. If I had a copy, Id send it to you Glennon. I seem to get endless junk mail in my letter box, but the manual, I assure you (and so can my kids) that it NEVER came. But, thanks to your post, I am glad to know Im not the only one who didnt receive it! Great article! FUN!

  45. every mom should read this. :)

  46. [...] Don’t point your cake pops at me, lady. [...]

  47. Funny, and so true!
    I try to do my own best now, without worrying about others’ best seeming somehow better. But sometimes that feeling just sneaks up and slaps me in the face when I am not expecting it… Sigh

  48. Hilarious and so true!

  49. Love this. Keep writing at us!

  50. Rock on moms! We are awesome!!!

  51. [...] Quit Pointing your Avocado at Me by Glennon [...]

  52. Thank you so much for posting this. I recently had an experience where a dear friend – someone whom I loved and trusted – made some judgemental comments about MY style of parenting that was sudden and angry and most definitely AT ME, and it has left me completely blindsided and hurting for weeks. I have done my best to keep telling myself that there is NOTHING WRONG with how I raise my kids – they are healthy, they are loved, they are happy, they are good, thoughtful, loving, compassionate little people. I mean, I must be doing SOMETHING right…right?? And I really believe that each mama should listen to her own heart when it comes to her kids, and that what works for me may not work for you and that’s TOTALLY OK. But still, these mean-spirited words have dug deep into me and made me cry and question myself and question our friendship and has left something between us a little bit broken. I just really needed to read your reminder right now that I am enough, and that those words which were thrown so carelessly AT ME, were probably not really ABOUT ME at all, but about something in her instead. I need to stop believing in the mompetition and remember that the only person I need to try to be better than is the person I was yesterday. Thank you.

    • This article definitely hit home for me… but Jenn’s last comment will be carried with me “The only person I need to try to be better than is the person I was yesterday” Brilliant!

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