To ask- why are some mothers like this?

(100 Posts)
SomewhereInYorkshire Tue 29-Jan-13 23:07:40

Just home from long weekend with old university friends and partners+ kids. Girls I've always got on great with, but rarely see nowadays due to work/location. We have kids ranging from 5months to 4 years.

It was all 'Charlie's sleeping though already' / Jessie can already do 1-10 and her ABCs / Lily's so mellow, I think it's because DP and I are so relaxed / Maya's so alert / Charlie hates biscuits, we just can't get him to eat one, he just says "apple mummy"

So much back-patting and boasting, I felt like the only one saying DS walked really late / currently only eats potato / rarely sleeps through at 17mths / is a highly strung little bugger... because you know what? I refuse to be drawn in to the boasting and perpetuate this shite maybe because I don't feel the need as I know deep down DS is the handsomest, cleverest of all

My own mother was highly competitive with me and I often felt like I only existed to make her look good and her love was conditional on that. I refuse to do the same to DS. He can be an annoying little shit but he is my little shit and I adore him.

So what has happened to my friends??? Why do they do it??

Ps little sleeping-through Charlie kept the whole house up most nights!

maddening Wed 30-Jan-13 07:51:14

Pirate - it's a reflection on their superior genes grin

RattyRoland Wed 30-Jan-13 07:59:40

Yanbu!I hate this competitive patenting. I have friends I've had to see less of because all I hear is 'Oliver can nearly walk/says five words/sleeps through' etc. My ds does none of these things and I find it quite rude that despite knowing this, some other mums boast so much!

Thinking your childs walking is solely down to parenting is crazy. I always volunteer that I'm finding sleepless nights hard, dc has been screaming all morning etc but get blank looks too.

ll31 Wed 30-Jan-13 08:01:33

its a combination of insecurity plus blind love plus still being in throes of my baby is wonderful... babies are different but so are their parents...

think its actually more annoying when their older tbh...

Benby Wed 30-Jan-13 08:24:20

My sil is like this she is forever telling everyone her dc go to bed at 7 o'clock what she neglects to tell them is that they then wake at 4.45am and are up for the day. My dd is 3 months younger than her ds and she thinks its a constant competition as to who does what first I'm so tired of it now especially as she's taken to lying about things she also won't discipline him and that really pisses me off so at the moment we're trying to visit mil when they're not there cause I feel sorry for dd's especially when I'm correcting them and he's getting cuddles for pushing my dd. anyway that's a different thread.
I don't get into bidding wars with other parents I never have I'm happy with my girls, they're meeting their milestones and are happy and healthy that's all I care about.

Unfortunatlyanxious Wed 30-Jan-13 08:34:15

Modesty is a virtue, I have never ever taken much notice of competitive parenting.

GirlOutNumbered Wed 30-Jan-13 08:34:44

I've never done it, but we had some friends round the other day and I noticed dh was going ds1 to count and say things and really just doing a bit of showing off to the other dads. I think he's just proud.

loofet Wed 30-Jan-13 08:35:49

Walking/rolling/sitting etc has jack all to do with parenting, it is all to do with temperament and genetics. So you're not an excellent parent if your baby walks at ten months anymore than the one whose baby walked at 18 months. I find it mildly amusing when parents brag about those milestones. Its not impressive at all, it would be impressive if the ten month old could recite the alphabet grin

I find the competition quite amusing now I am on my third. I think some of the time it isn't actually the parent being competitive and its just actually them making conversation. So say A says 'My Jack hasn't slept through yet' then B says 'oh really? Molly did from 4 months' it sounds braggy but actually B is just stating her experience. It would be better if B then said 'have you tried -insert helpfulness'.

I think its a natural thing really for mums to compare, especially first time mums. Its only bad if you feel inadequate because of it. Really some kids are just easier than others and its no reflection of parenting at all.

MortifiedAdams Wed 30-Jan-13 08:36:51

I hate competitive parenting. I get asked of nearly bloody everyone whether dd is walking yet, sleeping through the night yet, talking yet. Shut up!! I want to shout.

What exactly would you like me to do.about it if she is not, and if she is already doing it, will.knowing enrich your life somehow?

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Wed 30-Jan-13 08:39:44

Mother of 5 month old: "oh I'm so glad we didn't get a clingy one" Ahahahahahahaha Just you wait

grin if I had a pound for everytime I heard someone mutter this or similar when they witnessed DS roaring his head I'd be minted. Nearly always muttered by someone who's baby was very young and who hadn't gone through the clingy phase yet!

That said I was very smug that DD was sleeping through early and not clingy at all as a baby. Then something happened at around 2 and a half years old like a switch was flipped or something and she started waking in the night, clinging on to me by my hair when i left her at nursery and generally being a pain in the arse. Put paid to my smuggery I can tell you!

stubbornstains Wed 30-Jan-13 08:51:05

Compile a list of non-bloody child related subjects:

"So, do you think the Lib Dem/ Tory coalition will last to the next election?"

"Any signs of ash dieback in your area?"

"Cor, did you get caught in the floods where you live?"

"Do you think they will really find any hitherto undiscovered gas giants on the outskirts of our solar system?"

Anything, anything rather than tedious baby chat. They will thank you for it, really grin.

utopian99 Wed 30-Jan-13 09:03:31

We've got a month old and i have three friends due in March. Sadly i already know exactly how it will pan out - one will worry but love her child to bits and discuss with us the trials and tribs in a normal way (she also is really worried about competitive parents,) one will be fascinated by every milestone and likely to compare, but due to being into the development side, rather than for competition, and unlikely to big anything up beyond what it is, although i wouldn't be surprised if she has strong views on the 'right' way to parent, which will wind the first friend up.

The third is a friend from another group, one of the most competitive i know, and will be ruddy ghastly! She already likes to one up everyone over houses/jobs/holidays etc, despite me taking the non-competitive path of just telling her yes you're so much 'better' than us but we don't care. (i don't actually think this, she's just socially aspirational, although her husband is lovely.)
She drives me nuts and I'm not looking forward to her doing this about our kids - i can brush it off about anything else, but I'm not having someone slagging off my child to make themselves feel better about their own insecurity.

(dh and i will continue to secretly think our LO is, of course, The World's Most Perfect, but i plan to keep this to myself as i know it's only parental bias, plus everyone hates a smugster..)

utopian99 Wed 30-Jan-13 09:04:11

Sorry, that was a proper rant!

LifeSavedbyLego Wed 30-Jan-13 09:08:07

It is an absolute fact that the screamy little buggers that won't be but down and don't sleep are über intelligent and the most fun as they get older.

surely to Christ, I had two of these

tiggytape Wed 30-Jan-13 09:08:29

I hate to tell you this but walkign late, being highly strung and needing very little sleep at the age of 17 months can be the sign of a genius. I think your DS is destined to make you look good against your will grin

LifeSavedbyLego Wed 30-Jan-13 09:11:05

I also have a theory that all children sleep badly at some point either as babies or toddlers.

I've had many a smug friend who had a baby that slept be on their knees about a toddler that won't.

Procrastinating Wed 30-Jan-13 09:13:29

There is a competitive parent who has decided they are my friend at each school I drop off at.
stubbornstains yes, I wish they would bloody talk about something else. When I try changing the subject it gets a blank stare and a quick return to the wonders of their child. It isn't just babies, these are 5 -9 year olds.

Shakirasma Wed 30-Jan-13 09:13:29

You should console yourself that having an easy baby who sleeps, walks early, talks early etc bear no relation to the type of teenager they will be.

Parenting responsibilities last a whole 18 years [Grin] wink

ICBINEG Wed 30-Jan-13 09:16:13

I worry people think I do this. I am not proud or trying to rub anything in...I just like to talk about the amazing yet everyday things that babies achieve. Walking is fecking awesome! For instance and being obsessed with colours is also amazing.

I am equally prepared to be delighted and amazed by the everyday yet amazing achievements of everyone else's children!

Any kid taking their first steps or saying their first word is amazing...it doesn't matter how old they are when they do it....

drizzlecake Wed 30-Jan-13 09:17:54

But it goes on and on - The round robin at Xmas all about Tabitha taking a year out to help orphans in India or 'we were thrilled when James got a place at Cambridge', even who DD or DS married - 'Jane's delightful fiancee is a Captain in the Guards' - Yuck.
And then it will be the GCs.

I think we are all a bit guilty but up to a point.
Then you hear about someone's sad loss of a son or daughter and you get things in perspective.

socharlotte Wed 30-Jan-13 09:19:03

I have seen far too many genius toddlers grow up into mediocre school children.Smile and nod.
If you boast about your kids you are riding for a fall IMO

CailinDana Wed 30-Jan-13 09:22:37

I find the opposite and it's just as annoying really. I don't talk much about my DS at all, apart from to people who are actually interested like his GPs. But one friend in particular and DH's cousin have a tendency to compare my DS to their children, but not in a boasting way, in a way that implies their own children aren't doing as well as him. DS isn't unusual, he does all the things you'd expect a 2 year old to do. But said friend's son isn't talking at all at the same age and often comments on DS's language in worried way. It seems like every step that my DS takes language-wise worries her more and it makes me feel bad because I feel my DS is a source of stress for her. Similarly DH's cousin is quite negative about her little boy and has a tendency to comment on what a good eater my DS is (her son is picky) and how well-behaved he is (yeah right!).

I obviously don't mind people complimenting my son, but again it's about insecurity and competition and it does annoy me. It's hard to know what to say in these situations - I accept the positive things they say of course, but then I feel like they want my reassurance about their children. Seeing as I have no idea why DS is talking and friend's child isn't, what can I say? "He'll get there" just sounds lame and patronising. I tend to just smile and ignore now.

I honestly don't mind someone saying (as another friend has done) "I'm having a problem with this, do you have any idea how to solve it?" But comparing children is annoying no matter whether it's in favour of your child or not.

YouOldSlag Wed 30-Jan-13 09:29:04

OP- I bet your bragging friends are on valium and don't have sex anymore. There's a public face and a private face.

They are saying "Please approve of us, please like us, please think we are great parents."

What I want is a night in like Pom Bear described where you crack open a drink and say "Sudocrem works for piles and God I thought my nipples would just drop off with the pain of feeding. Don't talk to me about teething. Never mind the baby, I got two hours sleep a night if I was lucky" etc etc. Now those are MY type of friends.

I don't want to hear about perfect, I want to hear about REAL.

One mother I know used to spend every group meetup using her early talking dd as a party act; 'say biscuit Sophie, say chair Sophie, say banana Sophie'

Ds2 is the same age and severely speech delayed, needing surgery. She once did the head tilt when we were discussing him and said 'but he will talk eventually won't he?' .... Erm, well we don't know actually, he may not! (he did, still has poor speech though)

What infuriated me was that my elder two talked just as early as her dd, my dd was probably earlier actually, but I never assumed it was anything other than good luck. Whereas to listen to this woman you'd swear no child had ever talked as early and it was all superior genetics hmm

Kalisi Wed 30-Jan-13 09:33:04

Yanbu, infact I have slowly but surely dropped all competitive parents from my friendship group and now only associate myself with those who think their children are as horrible as mine grin
" You had 3 tantrums in town today?! Bloody Hell you're lucky!" These conversations make me feel soooo much better.

FragileTitanium Wed 30-Jan-13 09:33:55

Hi
Don't be too hard on your friends even though it does sound quite unbearable.
One of the things I think that is so difficult about having children (especially if one's worked before) is that you put in so much hard work, so much self sacrifice etc but it's nobody's job to give you any feedback, praise, promotion or money - so all the standard ways of measuring how well you're doing in a job are out. When one thing goes right with your child, it is like a massive validation of all your hard work and sharing it with your friends is a bit like asking for recognition of all the hard work you've put in.

Sometimes, people get so caught up in it, they don't realise how hard it is for other people to listen to. Quite often I will say to my friends,

"You've done so amazingly well [weaning/potty training/sleep training etc], all that hard work has paid off. Any tips for me?"

To me this acknowledges that they have indeed done a lot of hard work and they do deserve praise, but also, it seems to snap them out of that boasting cycle.

We need to support each other in the incredibly important work that we do.

Having said that, if any of your friends do nothing else but boast and are using you purely to boost their own feelings of superiority, then it doesn't seem as though they care about you - so might be time to quietly absent yourself from their company.

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