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New-Mom Envy

It's not easy being green?

With all due respect to Kermit the Frog, I beg to differ.

I find it as effortless as zipping up my "transitional" pants. The green I mean is that of envy, a deadly sin that loves new moms like gluttony loves an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Not that I, or any mother, invites the dreaded green-eyed monster to set up a pied-á-terre in her heart. It's just that the beast finds exceptionally comfortable living conditions there, says Richard Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. "If you're ever going to be uncertain, it's going to be when everything is new and you don't have any experience to hang your hat on," he notes.

Even women who have logged mommy time, or have at least trolled parenting websites and dog-eared page after page in their baby bibles, can feel rudderless when they see other moms managing to hold what looks like a steady course. "Some women keep the house clean, work, cook dinner every night, and don't ever seem tired," laments Danielle Spears of Indianapolis, who considers herself a relatively competent mom.

Perhaps these ├╝bermoms have time and energy to spare because they don't waste either on envy. Or perhaps they're just better at hiding their own green-eyed monsters (say, in the expandable waistbands of their transitional pants). One thing is certain: Whether you feel it or are the object of it, for most moms, envy is inevitable.

Contributing editor Kitty O'Callaghan is Babytalk's "Girl Talk" columnist and a mother of three in White Plains, NY.