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!

StinkyWicket Wed 30-Jan-13 09:36:54

I rarely talk about my children because I'm worried people will think I'm a bore. Most of my friends are childless or have older children.

I'm with pirate though - I just don't get how you can boast about your kid getting a tooth before another, or already walking?

Spice17 Wed 30-Jan-13 09:40:24

I go to a baby club with my cousin and friends every Tues, they said they couldn't believe how quiet and good my DD is (3 months)

When I told them she's lovely all day but grizzles and cries from 5pm to 9pm every night, they all said ' Oh good, no offence but you've made me feel better' I appreciate that kind of honesty and the moaning part of our club (I'm knackered, he/she won't feed properly/DH is doing my head in etc) is very cathartic!

Don't get all this competitive malarky!

pictish Wed 30-Jan-13 09:47:07

Fakebook I agree with you.

Heaven forbid someone should find parenting a pleasure and have well behaved mellow kids. Strike them down for being proud and pleased.

Fwiw - my three kids are all good, and pose no mangement problems outside of the usual stuff.

To make myself very unpopular, I DO think that just maybe I have something to do with it. I'm by no means perfect...I'm actually off the lax parenting school, but I still reckon I'm a good mum with my head screwed on and the kids are a product of that.

You may now all hate me for being smuggard. I don't care.

MrsHoarder Wed 30-Jan-13 10:03:59

See, I try to say "yes he sleeps through, but I have to undergo hours of cluster feeding" or "the constant sicking is driving me up the wall" and I get told that DS is such a delight and perfect. I know that, I'm his mum. I just want to moan about some of the harder parts not boast about how early he got his teeth (which he mostly uses for biting us) because when he is grizzling at 11pm or biting me I have to be calm and content.

Do I get gin too?

YouOldSlag Wed 30-Jan-13 10:06:03

pictish, even good mums with their heads screwed on have unruly kids. My eldest can be a total nightmare. Am I not a good mum with my head screwed on?

I think sometimes its nature, not nurture. My DS1 and DS2 are as different as could be, yet I used exactly the same parenting methods on both.

Miggsie Wed 30-Jan-13 10:10:55

I also hate groups like this - I have been tempted to say in the past "well, DD is doing ok, she hasn't started shitting marble yet, but we think she's on course."

I didn't though - now I just avoid groups like this.

Lots of parents are unable to detach their own desires and emotional needs from their child's and end up claiming all sorts of inflated rubbish about their fairly normal offspring - who would much prefer to play tunes using their armpit than read books thei mother approves off.

pictish Wed 30-Jan-13 10:13:03

That's not what I'm saying.

I am saying it is ok to enjoy being a parent and to be proud of your child.

I very rarely talk about my kids. It's dull as fuck to other people. When I do though, I cannot rightly say I will complain about it. My observations of parenting are positive.

I can't be arsed with competitive parenting at all....bit sometimes when a parent is pleased and positive with their kids, it is just that.

There is this weird thing going on where you are not allowed to find pleasure in parenting or your kids, because it's 'showing off'.
Well I don't think it always is. Sometimes it's just happiness.

TandB Wed 30-Jan-13 10:15:23

We have some family members who actually made stuff up about their PFB. They claimed that he was crawling at 4 months, walking at 8 months, talking at 10 months. Unfortunately for them he was actually within the normal range for all these things - but towards the later end of the range.

I know kids do things once and then steadfastly refuse to let anyone else see them do it, but 8 months to 14 months was a long time to never see him actually walk when he'd apparently been doing it for ages! I think they were convinced he was a child prodigy, so when he pulled himself up on the table they were sure he was days away from walking and jumped the gun a bit. They went very quiet on the subject after a few weeks!

stubbornstains Wed 30-Jan-13 10:15:38

Playing tunes on their armpit? That's terribly advanced.DS is nearly 3 and he can't do that yet (wibble) grin

havingastress Wed 30-Jan-13 10:16:20

I hate the reverse..

You know the, 'Oh just you wait' comments.

My dd is brilliant! Sleeping through since she was 5 weeks (by that I mean solid 6 hrs sleep, 11.30-5.30am) and now sleeps 8 hours a night. She's a happy little thing.

I don't boast. I haven't mentioned really to any of my friends because they all go on and on about the lack of sleep etc. If I do say, well actually I'm really enjoying motherhood, I then get the 'Just you wait' comments about how my dd will be a little terror by the time she's walking, and toddler years are awful.

Why of why do mothers try to make other mothers worry about how hard it might be??!! I might find that I don't have these problems! Can't I just be left to enjoy my daughter!

I tell you what else I hate too...the 'How much does she weigh?' comments, normally off family. I've now stopped telling them. She's actually on the 50th percentile, but you wouldn't believe how many comments I got saying 'Wow what a whopper' she's turning into etc etc! So now I refuse to answer and just say I don't know!!! As if you'd go around asking friends how much they weighed all the time!

tbh I think a lot of parents are quite boring and have nothing else going on in their lives. Hence the constant 'my dd does this, my ds does that'

TandB Wed 30-Jan-13 10:16:31

But I agree with pictish - sometimes people are being snidey, competitive arses and bigging themselves up at someone else's expense - but sometimes they're just pleased and excited and wanting to share.

Kalisi Wed 30-Jan-13 10:19:46

I see smug parents, they're walking around like regular parents. They don't even know they're smug! grin

minkembra Wed 30-Jan-13 10:23:01

there is so much pressure these days- bf is best, (well it is but what if you can't?) babies should do this that the other, they should never watch telly, they should listen to radio 4 and the other million things that are supposed to make your baby a genius and your life bliss. and if they don't sleep/eat properly it is your fault, they will end up in some dire mess (or more likely pretty much like the rest of us)

there is just to much best practise advice out there. and it is all do x and baby does better. do y baby does worse which is already setting you up to be competitive.

consequently people are deluded into thinking that everything their baby does is their responsibility and everyone is really worried about not being a good parent- particularity when they are under 1 (what with all the - it is the first 6 months that sets them up for the whole of the rest of their lives!! etc. etc.

and then they feel overwhelmed...so they are desperately trying to ward off the idea that they might only be good enough parents.

and also they are looking for signs of progress because they don't want this to go on forever. (even though everyone keeps telling you enjoy them when they are young- this is the best bit- it is over so quick...ahhh the joys of rose tinted hind-amnesia. (well you do need sleep to lay down memory)

as you astutely pointed out- they only have one story per child because they are spinning the one USP their kid has to try to stop themselves dropping into a chasm of self doubt and despair and weeping uncontrollably.

but yeah it is much better if you can find some mummies who will admit the terrible truth- you love your kids but they are hard work! and it is frightening.

You could always take their boasting time as an opportunity to have a nap;-) just nod off and then boast that you can totally sleep anywhere now and it is brilliant because you are never tired.

Fecklessdizzy Wed 30-Jan-13 10:23:51

You get competative miseries too! No matter how bad you've had it, they've had it worse ... Just as pesky and irritating!

Bobbybird40 Wed 30-Jan-13 10:28:27

In answer to your original post SIY, it is because they are tedious, herd following baffoons who, for all intents and purposes, are dead from the neck upwards.

Chislemum Wed 30-Jan-13 10:29:07

my 6 months old sleeps through but drives me insane during the day as he is so demanding (but lovely). nonetheless when i meet mothers that are 'like' that i also feel obliged to say "yes, he sleeps through - every night". however, he just did that without me doing anything. just happened - why, i don't know. i state that and then get the response: "what, he sleeps through without you doing baby whisperer, gina ford or other esoteric method... maybe he is ill or autistic? have you had hi checked?" whatever you do, it will be wrong. i feel with you. not sure what the answer is. grin xx

anklebitersmum Wed 30-Jan-13 11:08:11

Kids do different stuff at different times. DS1 was potty trained within minutes of being 18 months and dry at night too. DD1 was fine during the day but still had night issues at 5.
All of them walked and talked earlier than DS1 but then they were essentially chasing each other and as DS1 and DSS talked non stop it's no suprise that DD1, DD2 and DS2 were quick speech-wise.

To be fair all mine slept through very quickly but it took effort on my part to keep it that way (in bed at bedtime and not up at the sparrow's f*rt).

I get the sympathetic head tilt and toned "Four, really?" (for which read 'Aww bless her, no brains') off the Perfect Brigade in the playground and the "How do you afford them?..mind you the supermarkets do do nice clothes now-a-days don't they?" usually while looking what I call sympathetic-smug as Prince and/or Princess run riot in Gucci jeans and Hunter wellies with Perfect Mum screaming "Don't get your wellies dirty Darling" (no, really that wellie comment happened).

I have learnt to ignore it to a large degree. In my late twenties with DS1 I was intimidated by it, in my 30's I actively tried to ignore it and in my 40's I'm mostly amused by it.

Even if I do sneak a peek at Perfect Junior's reading level when they come to play. Everyone's children have their talents.. wink

grin

sashh Wed 30-Jan-13 11:17:30

Just say to them.

Oh I'm really really glad miniYorkshire isn't like that. I mean what are mummies for if the dc do everything themselves and everything early. It quite takes your job away doesn't it?

BTW I remember a neighbour being smug at her dc being dry at night 'already', but for some reason his pyjamas and sheet were washed and hung on the line every day.

Evangelinadreamer Wed 30-Jan-13 11:23:47

I find it best to just avoid people like that and keep them at arm's length. There is a certain type that behaves in that way, but equally there are plenty of other 'types' that don't behave like that and do just want to chat without comparing children, and I go for the latter type as my friends.

I've come across two main competitive parents: first was at a baby group yeras ago. Four of us there (was a HV-run postnatal support type group), all with girls. Competitive mum had a girl who was sleeping through from 2 weeks' old, on the 90th centile, doing everything ahead of the other, and didn't we get to hear all about it. It was all done in a stealth boasting way; "Oh look at all those babies laying on the mats, I wish little X would just lay there but she's so active and inquisitive. She's too grown up for her own good"

Second mum was someone I met more recently, through a friend. She has a child the same age as my youngest child and got very nasty and snipey over a few things. Her competitiveness wasn't just out of insecurity or wanting everyone to think she was great, it was out of her being a very nasty person and wanting to put others down and make others feel bad. I'm talking things such as suggesting loudly to another mum in our group of friends that perhaps her child was autistic and did she blame herself for how he'd turned out. And making quite personal comments about the other childrens' looks. All in quite a sneaky way, dressed up with a syrupy sweet smile.

Again, I distanced myself from her too, and have nothing to do with her now.

Ionasky Wed 30-Jan-13 11:29:14

i hate the competition, it gets me down, wish people would just be supportive. All my in-laws are like that - they also are always saying what a breeze my DD is, which is a snide way of telling me what an easy job I've got (they hardly ever see her due to the distance apart we live and she loves going new places/being out - nursery certainly isn't under the impression that she's an angel). SiL gave dd tonnes of chocolate and cake at Xmas, then got a quick picture of dd sitting on her lap, and now they are all talking about how much DD loved her! How nice and validating for her...

anklebitersmum Wed 30-Jan-13 11:31:44

sashh they're brill aren't they?

I flapped about when to potty train (hence DS1 early) after a smug friend of mine said hers was already clean and dry at just 12 months.

Well! Her DC might have been 'clean and dry' but her carpets certainly weren't. Going where and when they like does not (imo) a trained toddler make.

Lafaminute Wed 30-Jan-13 11:32:58

This is called MUMUPMANSHIP!! Very easy to get sucked into and to find yourself frantically searching for anecdotes in which your own little wonder trumps their wonders....and then you hear yourself spouting similar tripe and realise how ridiculous you all sound. I'm 10 years at this parenting stuff and STILL find myself sucked into this occasionally blush.

Evangelinadreamer Wed 30-Jan-13 11:34:41

LOL anklebitersmum grin

Tanith Wed 30-Jan-13 11:40:24

"Is it true about bright children being lively and needing little sleep?"

No sad

Some do, some don't. DS is terrifyingly bright and always napped 2 hours solid in the afternoon right up to school age, then straight through the night for 12 hours.

Horrific sleeping as a baby, though. He slept, but woke several times up until he was about 2.

We're just about to enter the teenage years... shock

wanderingcloud Wed 30-Jan-13 12:02:04

IME it's all in the way it is said.

I have a really great group of friends who are happy to share the ups and the downs. There is plenty of boasting when out LO's do something AMAZING (like roll over) but equally we all share our downs and offer advice.

I have another group who I have distanced myself from to some extent as it was always horribly unpleasant boasting and looking down your nose at parents who were struggling. Well done OP for "keeping it real" in the face of boasty mums. I found being in that group brought out the absolute worst in me as I was just as bad as everyone else when I was around them. I literally couldn't wait to show off my son walking before everyone else's precious bundles, just because it was such a big milestone and my hopelessly non-sleeping, screaming, clingy DS did it first Hahahaha! In your faces! blush

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