The weird part of this exchange was how proudly she made this statement, as if it were a major accomplishment being a seriously overprotective mother. (And please, keep in mind we live in a pretty safe little town.) On top of that, she implied that THOSE types of moms, you know, the ones who actually ~gasp~ let their kid walk around the block, are somehow inferior to her.
Fast forward to today when I dropped a meal at a friend's house. She just had a baby a week ago and told me how she was going to have to take her newborn to Wal-mart this week for grocery shopping. I asked her why she couldn't leave the baby with her husband. She responded with, "Patty, I can't LEAVE the baby. I just can't do that." Apparently, she thinks it is wiser to expose her newborn to the scary flu germs than to leave him with his father. While I disagree with her logic, that was not what mystified me. Like the mother at the preschool screening, J was totally smug and condescending. Her tone implied that I was either incredibly stupid for assuming she would leave her son for an hour (with his father, for pete's sake!) or I am a totally negligent mother, since I regularly place my children's lives in the hands of their father.
I am not a stranger to women who are competitive, especially when it comes to motherhood. We all know that mother who looks down on us because she thinks her mothering skills are far superior to ours. But when did it become en vogue to believe the most neurotic mother is the best? I am not judging people who are neurotic. Please. I definitely have my fair share of neuroses, but I have never looked on them as a badge of honor proving me to be a stellar mother. I have always been a bit sheepish and embarrassed when my neuroses have been revealed. I hoped they made me quirky and charming, but I never thought they demonstrated my superiority as a mother.
If you are going to judge me, base it on something important. Look down on me because I let my kids eat way too much sugar, or because I yell at them regularly. Judge me for my impatience or my grouty shower. That would all make sense. But to assume you are a better mother because your kids are going to need years and years of therapy because you won't let them go to the park? Just doesn't make any sense at all.