Saturday, June 13, 2009

Domestic Goddess and Competitive Mothering

I've met lots of Other Mothers over the years. And although I don't understand The Collagen Mums particularly well, there is another group I understand even less.

They are the Competitive Mothers.

If they were competing for themselves, perhaps I could understand it. But they don't. They compete via their children. Almost like Munchausen-By-Proxy thing where mothers fake illnesses in their children. Fortunately, these mothers don't do that.

They just compare notes on just about everything their child does in relation to what other children do. And it starts young.

From the earliest of childhood milestones. Like "Little Joey smiled when he was just 6 minutes old you know" to which the competing mother will say "Well Little Lisa smiled when she was 5 minutes old actually. I was so proud."

And thats the thing. ALL mothers are proud of their kids' achievements. Even if its something as simple as smiling on cue. But the difference with Competitive Mothers is that they will insist their child did it earlier, first, better et cetera et cetera. And its not only with milestones.

They do it with other things too - like bringing the best gift to the birthday party, or having their child dress in the latest clothes. Not because their child necessarily wants to, but simply so that the mother can talk about it.

Big topics for Competitive Mothers are things like walking, potty training, talking and then, when at school age, how much they can read, write etc etc.

Heaven help the kids when they get older, and start participating in sports and after school activities. Such pressure to perform, conform and out do! I've developed an immunity to it.

Mostly because my older daughter taught me that kids do things when they are ready, and not a minute before. She did things in her own time, at her own pace, and not necessarily in the "order" that childcare books tell you that kids should do things.

I worry about these 5 and 6 year olds that are constantly being compared and pushed. Sure, a little competition is healthy, but enough is enough.

Just this week I was discussing my older daughters chicken pox with another mother whose child had also been through it. Before you could blink, she was comparing everything from the number of spots, to the size of the spots, and the height of the fever the children had had, thus inspiring this Confession.

Do you know Competitive Mothers? What do you think?

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