Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mom's Competitor

I've been a competitor probably my whole life. However, there was never a point where I was necessarily the best. Maybe when I was ten on the pitcher's mound. When I recently took a trip down memory lane I was reminded when I first started pitching at age nine I was probably as close to the best as I ever got. I was also reminded how even at age 10 how competitive I was when I wrote how a run scored on me for the first time in nine games, yet even though we were still winning 10-1,  I cried about it because I was so upset that I allowed my first run. Now obviously I also played with some pretty top competitive 9-10 year old girls who helped with that kick ass record. My dad says they kicked us out of the league because nobody could beat us. Obviously we needed to go somewhere that challenged us more.

We found that when we headed to the city to play competitive ball for the rest of my softball career. There I would see that no, I wasn't the best. When I started high school ball, I was definitely not the best, but me and four other girls I grew up playing ball with were brought up as sophomores to start on a varsity team that for the next two years would make it to the state championship. That first competitive field,  which for me was the ball diamond, was where I learned it isn't necessarily always about being the best but sometimes it's more about pushing ourselves to be able to compete with the best.

I am not a trophy for everyone kind of girl, but I also don't think second is the first loser. Shortly after I took my trip down memory lane searching through the box my mom had of trophies and plaques(earned ones like they gave out in the old days) and mementos from my athletic days, Averi got her first thank you for participating trophy from her tball season.  Even though it wasn't for her competitive ambition to be the best, if you ever listened to the girl talk or saw her determination to do something she's a competitor. I think it will serve her well as she goes through life.

We need competition. Competition pushes us. As we move away from the playing fields though, I see the relevance of it being about competing with the best, not as much as being the best. Whether it's related to our roles as mothers, in our careers, or in our fitness and creative ambitions, there is no winner, no I'm better than you. The playing field has changed and we're not all on the same one anymore. We're all up against a different opponent now. The competition isn't about being better than her. But it's more about seeing what is about her that makes you want to be better than what you are and then pushing ourselves to be better for ourselves.

Every now and then in multiple roles in my life someone will say something like they're trying to compare me to someone else like it's some sort of competition. Every time this happens I really  just want to shout back that it's not about them, it's about me whether it's something I do in my career as an educator, mom, wife, or in my creative outlets with writing and attempting photography.  I have tons of people I look up to, many role models, and yes they inspire me everyday to try something new to push myself either harder or in a different direction. Some of them definitely do bring out my competitive nature.  But it's not because I think I need to be better than them but because I want to be better for myself and/or my family. I am a confident person, maybe even a little arrogant to some, but I have no desire to be anyone else in this life than me. So whether it's our fitness goals, career goals, personal goals as a wife and/or mother, or creative goals, we're all competing against ourselves to just be better, to grow, to improve so we're right there with the best of them.

When we step off those athletic fields and into the adult world, our competitive natures are still an asset to us I believe because they drive and push us. The real world is harshly competitive at times, and maybe when it comes down to job promotions the whole who really is the best is really how it is. But in a time where there's concern for girls and their unhealthy self image and mommy wars about who is better we have to remember everything isn't about a competition with others but sometimes with ourselves to push ourselves to be better than we were yesterday. As adults we definitely still need that competitive nature in our lives, but just remember the playing field and the opponent is a little different these days.

Check out these similar posts

Push to be the Girl on Fire

For the Love of a Game

You Can't Score if you Never Swing

The Love of a Game: Finding that Drive

My book, Moms, Monsters, Media & Margaritas, even though mostly for mothers of any age (suggested by an older reader's feedback) focuses on women today accepting who they are. It examines how our 21st century digital world shapes our perceptions and expectations of our capabilities as mothers, wives, employers, and women. It will leave you with a humorous and inspirational look at the individual journey of motherhood that takes each of us from the girl we were to the woman we become. The book is also now available on the Amazon kindle for $3.99 and the Barnes and Noble Nook for $4.99.

1 comment:

  1. I'm constantly striving/competing against myself. I think as long as we don't beat ourselves up too badly, that it's healthy to set goals, to strive, and to achieve. This is also how we learn. Even if we "fail" miserably, it's never truly a "fail" because we've learned something in the process.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.