Competition

One thing that surprised me about motherhood is how it often feels like a competition. It’s so strange though, sometimes I am not sure if I have signed up for the competition and am in it or if it is happening to me.

I find myself totally in it when I don’t expect it. A while ago a friend was over and her son (a month younger than Gus) and Gus were playing and we were chatting. I don’t remember how this came up but she said something about how another kid was not smart like “our boys”. I caught Lesley’s eye and we both gave a little eye roll. Whoops. That’s totally involved in the competition, eh? It’s not that her kid isn’t smart, I’m sure he is – but I have never seen him do anything extraordinary. He’s also a toddler so, you know, who am I to judge his smarts as I am no toddler expert.

Yesterday Lesley posted some pictures of Gus and someone commented that he is so happy. A friend with a 10 month old commented that her kid is like that too. No tantrums at all. HA. Ten months. Tantrums aren’t a thing for you yet, love. I commented something about how I could have said the same thing about Gus at that age. But really, do I need to say anything? Why burst her sweet naive bubble? Is it to show her that sure, sometimes she sees Gus lose it but she should know it is coming for her? I have no idea.

These are examples where I feel myself playing into it but I often walk away and wonder “Are we competing and I don’t know it?” It’s weird – it’s often right there under the surface and I am not sure if it is real or just me.

I really hate it when people compare their kids to Gus. I think a lot of it is, because try as I might, I think he is special flower and your kid is not him. On some level I think when people compare their kids to him it minimizes his specialness.

I am the parent I have always hated.

 

 

 

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Posted on August 30, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Eh, I think kids benefit from having parents who think their kids are super awesome special flowers instead of just like the million other flowers that surround them. It makes kid feel proud & loved & keeps them from developing into serial killers, which is pretty much always a positive in my book. 🙂

    • It’s so snotty to me when I act like this though. Gus is pretty advanced in a lot of ways and I feel like people are trying to drag him down. Which is absurd because they are children. But he’s so so so special!

  2. Gus is a special flower!
    If I ever annoy you with comparing Gus and Ali, just tell me to knock it off 😉
    That being said, I think comparing is pretty normal, I do it all the time. I think I’m more honest than most about my kids’ shortcomings, if you want to call it that, but I totally gloat over how much more awesome they are than other kids. Usually not out loud though…
    I try not to burst any mom bubbles, but I slip sometimes. Just like all babies will eventually sleep through the night, all toddlers will throw epic tantrums. In public. Regularly. It’s just part of it.

    • Ali is the older kid so I don’t think comparisons with her are bad at all. And the comparisons with the boys are different because you do acknowledge similarities and differences. I guess when it bugs me is the “one up” stuff. I catch myself doing it and try not to!

  3. My ex-best friend has a kid a few months older than Charlotte and last night I pulled up an instagram picture of him so I could show Val’s aunt how much cuter Charlotte is. Much as I want to sit here and say I’m not competitive about my kid, I totally am. Of course, I’m also conscious of her shortcomings. Very conscious. Like, my kid may be cuter than her kid, but maybe her kid actually understands what sleep is. I think it’s just a part of motherhood, whether we like it or not. We compare our children to other children in an attempt to quiet parental insecurities or to determine whether we need to worry about “x” or to remind us that we should really work with our kid on “y.” After my cousin’s kid was SO MEAN to Charlotte at Easter, I made a mental note that if Charlotte is going to stay with the nanny for another year, I REALLY need to work with her on sharing so she doesn’t end up like my cousin’s kid. Healthy competition. 😉

    • I am all for judging as parents! Things like your cousin’s kid is what tells us “Hey, we don’t want to be in this situation and need to do something different.” When I find myself saying something to another mom about how my kid is better at something I try to follow up with, “But I totally love that your kid does _____. I wish Gus did that.” But that’s annoying too because why do I need to put my kid down? Maybe the key is just to make sure I keep my snark private.

  4. I find it hard to talk to parents who have children at a similar age. I try not to talk about milestones etc, because Roo is so far ahead of the average child. Sometimes I say she’s older than she is (when meeting strangers at the park etc) so that people don’t feel bad. It’s much easier to celebrate her achievements when talking to people who don’t have children. I do compare Roo to older kids myself, and find it helpful for ideas of what she could learn or be capable of.

    • That’s interesting. I asked my friend (kayrosey in the comments) if she at some point had to stop talking about Ali because how advanced she was made conversation awkward. I was expecting her to think I was an asshole but she replied that she did. It’s kind of weird. I find myself looking forward to Gus turning two in a month so I can answer that he is 2 and people accept that as a wide range (I say he is 2 now though). I just feel like it creates weird dynamics in relationships with other moms. I know I play into it, too. I tend to roll my eyes about kid’s accomplishments that Gus accomplished a long time ago. I get annoyed when friends with younger kids talk about how similar our kids are. I totally admit my fault in this!

    • Oh, also, I’m not really into babies…. that might play into this some.

  5. I’ve been really conscious of this lately. I’ve actually refrained from posting stuff on social media because I don’t want to do the comparing thing or hear shit about my kids that i’ll have to “ante up” over. Especially with my sister, who’s daughter is 5 weeks older than the boys. “Noah is talking in full sentences? Senia isn’t, BUT she is reaaaaaaally expressive. Show them a sad/mad/happy/excited/scared face!” and on cue, she’ll do it every time and i’ll say, “Awww…so cute!” but in my head it’s like, “Yeah, she has to make those dumb ass faces cuz she can’t fucking TALK!” and it’s MY NIECE!!! So, i totally get this, this sort of silent but not really competition thing. I’m not sure if it’s to justify that my kids are smart/funny/well-rounded AF or if i”m trying to convince myself that they are better than they are if that makes sense. Being parents is so freaking weird!

  6. I always feel super awkward around people with kids J’s age because she is so advanced – I don’t want to make other people feel bad because their kids are doing things on a different – and completely normal – schedule, but I also don’t want to play down J’s abilities. I’m proud of her, and yet I feel like telling people our one year old says 20 words is so boastful, but if she only said 4 words it’d be okay. I try to remind myself that competition aside, everyone thinks they have the best kid, regardless of ability. I totally think she’s a special flower – but I would no matter what, right? I wouldn’t trade her in for an even smarter kid, or one who sleeps more, or doesn’t have tantrums, etc.

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