There's a new word going around to describe the rivalry that mothers feel toward one another: "mompetition."
It's elucidated in a hilarious new series of viral cartoons, in which an uptight mom and a laid-back mom try to one-up each other on the playground.
If the charged dialogues bear a resemblance -- in tone, if not in subject matter -- to those between rivals at scientific meetings, it might not be a coincidence.
Mompetition's creator, Valerie Stone Hawthorne, holds a doctorate in cancer biology and cell biology, according to a recent Timearticle. She is now a stay-at-home mother of 2-year-old twins.
"Competition is a way to regain what they had in the work world," Stone Hawthorne says in the article, referring to mothers who have traded careers for child-rearing. "We want to impress each other because we need validation."
Scientific facts make an occasional appearance in the videos, thanks to the laid-back mom (whom Stone Hawthorne most resembles, although she admits to having some of the uptight mom in her, too). The uptight mom then ignores or distorts them.
"Have you seen the news?" asks the uptight mom in her robotic, Type A voice. "Almost all children are kidnapped and killed at some point in their lives."
"That is not true. Only one in .0000007 children are," replies the laid-back mom (also sounding somewhat robotic).
"I know. I am scared."
By Chelsea Wald on October 19, 2010 2:33 AM
Get frequent updates from the science-career trenches including advice, opinion, news, funding opportunities, and links to other career-related resources. Our bloggers include Science Careers editors and staff, and select outsiders, including:
Jim Austin, Editor of Science Careers, @SciCareerEditor on Twitter
Elisabeth Pain, Barcelona-based Contributing Editor