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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!

blackeyedsusan England Tue 29-Jan-13 23:11:30

console yourself, the really bright children that need stimulation and do lots of learning tend not to need as much sleep.

or comment that sleep deprivaton makes people delusional!

i hate friends like that.

SomewhereInYorkshire Tue 29-Jan-13 23:11:56

Pps sleeping-through Charlie and apple Charlie are different babies - baby name change fail!!

Oh and best quote - the 9month old in the group was screaming when her mum nipped to the loo.

Mother of 5 month old: oh I'm so glad we didn't get a clingy one

Ahahahahahahaha

Just you wait

Wouldn't it be lovely if they'd all arrived, hollow of cheek and dead of eye, and slumped into chairs and said "OMG why did nobody TELL us?" and sympathised with each other over the sheer unending drudgery and lack of sleep that small children bring? Cos I just bet you anything you like, that's what they all wanted to do, and if just one of you had cracked so to speak, the others would have followed. Then you'd have cried on each others shoulders, recommended pile/cracked nipple rememdies, opend gin for the non bfers and boiled the kettle for the bfers and generally had a whale of a wallow time...
Maybe next time wink

steppemum Netherlands Tue 29-Jan-13 23:16:14

it is actually underlyign insecurity.

If their child isn't doing well, then ergo they are not good parents.

It takes a certain confidence, or else 3 kids and you are past boasting to not care what others think of your parenting.

boast first before someone criticizes you

Fakebook Tue 29-Jan-13 23:18:26

Or maybe, just maybe, their children really are that well behaved?

Dd was a dream baby. She slept through at 9 months, started walking at 10 months, was talking by 1.5 years and never ever gave me any problems in regards to food/milk. She was a brilliant first child and she also loved and still loves apples over a biscuit.

I get pissed off when I read a lot of posts claiming people lie about their babies achieving things. Some people do have easier babies. Why get pissed off with it?

(And no, I'm not showing off. Just stating facts).

steppemum Netherlands Tue 29-Jan-13 23:18:38

oh yes PomBear.

and in groups that are like that you feel better at the end instead of crap

SomewhereInYorkshire Tue 29-Jan-13 23:18:51

POM not a chance- i tried to initiate many of these moments but I got a little head tilty look and a "oh we are so lucky we don't have to deal with that with our DC"

steppemum Netherlands Tue 29-Jan-13 23:19:39

fakebook

but it isn't whether their babies can or can't it is the showing off element.

LouMae Tue 29-Jan-13 23:19:40

I think it's more of a middle class trait. You don't really hear groups of working class mothers talking like that.

SomewhereInYorkshire Tue 29-Jan-13 23:20:51

fakebook sure but did you feel the need to tell everyone, all day?

MakeHayNotStraw Tue 29-Jan-13 23:21:54

Is that true about bright children being livelier and needing less sleep? Good lord, dd must be a genius <hollow laugh>

Fakebook Tue 29-Jan-13 23:22:09

Ah ok. No I didn't. <shame faced>

SomewhereInYorkshire Tue 29-Jan-13 23:22:44

MakeHay yes it's absolute fact

*I hope

manicbmc Tue 29-Jan-13 23:23:40

In chav circles, it is more like 'eee look our little Chavny has learned to open her own can of redbull' grin

fattybum Tue 29-Jan-13 23:26:20

Unfortunately i'm guilty of this, and yes it is insecurity. Particularly with dc1 I feel that everything he does/doesn't do is a reflection of my parenting. Would love to not give a crap. Much more relaxed about dc2.

hrrumph Tue 29-Jan-13 23:27:05

because it's all they have

KC225 Tue 29-Jan-13 23:30:30

I've just decided to cut off a playgroup acquaintance for that very reason. Three of us who used to hang out and after an age, met recently. Our kids are now at school, two of us at different state schools (which we are both happy with) and one at private school. We were talking about school teething problems, ie my daughter being obsessed with a dominant girl (school being very good about it) other mum saying school had mentioned her daughter's lack of social skills (think over excited puppy) and we were laughing about it. But the private school mum was all - what level books are they at? What languages are they learning? How good is their writing? They are 5. On the way home she told me that after talking to us, she was so glad she had decided to go private and our stories only reinforced any doubt she may have had.

We had sort of drifted apart but I decided to cut her off, a true friend does not use my children (and other friend's) to make herself feel better. Just because you are at the same stage does not make you of the same mindset.

MooMooSkit Tue 29-Jan-13 23:36:48

I don't know but I do understand what you mean. My little one was late walking (think about 18 months) and talking was really behind but suddenly cropped up over night, I seemed to be the only parent that would admit to things at the time. I remember one friend going on about how her child could walk and talk who was the same age as mine and when I saw her he could take a few steps (hanging on to something) so was exaggerated. It's like people are in a competition. Now he is doing slightly better I don't really say much as I'm proud of him and that is all that matters.

One of my best friends was always like this and its biting him on the bum now. His DD (3 and a half) will repeat all her 'accolades' back to him when he asks her to be good.

"But I AM good Daddy. I am too little to understand being naughty. You said so."

And then he agree's with her!!! Hearing too many good things about yourself can only lead to failure when they realise they actually aren't the best at everything sad

fattybum Tue 29-Jan-13 23:38:12

I have to say I don't usually do comparisons like what levels are they on etc, just maybe talk about dcs good bits more as a cover for all the doubts!

DaveMccave Tue 29-Jan-13 23:45:25

I think lou is right. I live in a very deprived town and have never really experienced this boasting in my 6 years of parenting. I read about it open mouthed on various parenting forums but not in real life. it's more competi over who's kid is the hardest work. Or maybe that's just me.

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jan-13 23:51:36

Apple Charlie is a scratcher. One that sleeps through the night screams like he's being stabbed if you try to feed him anything other than purple jelly...

There's a reason why there's a strict ration of one AMAZING story per child.

kickassmomma Tue 29-Jan-13 23:54:48

I have many friends like this! I have a dd who is behind and various medical problems. I, discusted to say, felt so bad that u use to stage photos of dd sitting and standing and rolling over just so people wouldn't say 'why isn't your dd not doing that? Are you jot encouraging her enough' I honestly used to think I wasn't a good mum because of mums that boasted. I now try and ignore all there my child can do this can yours? Photos on facebook etc .
People just like to know there kid is better when Infact everyone is equal! I think it is sometimes a mummy thing though! Pride takes over when you know someone who is not
Doing what you Dc is x

PiratePetesPotty Wed 30-Jan-13 07:42:53

I don't understand why people think their child walking/rolling/sleeping etc is a reflection of their parenting. DS1 was fairly late do things and I have never once thought it had anything to do with the way I parented. He is who he is.
I know you can influence childrens behaviour, choices, have an effect their on confidence etc but at what age they start crawling does not reflect the parenting unless the parent has actually prevented them from doing it.
My SIL is mildy competitive, I love her though, her DS1 did things quicker than mine and I know she's a little smug about it but I really don't care! If she wants to be smug she can be!
I presume it makes her feel better about her parenting and that's fine as long as she keeps it to herself.

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.

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

Berts Wed 30-Jan-13 12:11:41

Just as bad as the competition over who's kid is the best, is the refusal to admit that they're anything other than totally happy and fulfilled by motherhood and everything about it is great, no downside.

I confided in one of my oldest friends that I'd been suffering from PND. It was really difficult for me and she was one of the first peole I'd actually admitted it to.

Her response? "Wow, I can't even imagine that. I've just absolutely loved everything about being a mum. I find it really interesting and fulfilling." Then changed the subject.

FYI, everytime I see her, she does nothing but complain about how difficult her kid is and how my kid is so well-behaved and easy in comparison (which she is - my top parenting tactics of crawling round the floor crying 'I hate this!' and eating lots of biscuits have resulted in a lovely happy toddler who slept through from 5 weeks and very bright and funny - maybe I should write a book...grin)

PatButchersEarring Wed 30-Jan-13 12:37:55

Berts- that's brilliant! Yep, I can see that book on the bestsellers list as we speak! :-)

I don't understand it either. I do think it's done out of insecurity and lack of other stuff going on in people's lives.

Me? I honestly couldn't give a shit which child is doing what when. As long as whatever your child is doing isn't affecting my child, I really couldn't give a flying fuck --because deep down, I know that DD is light years ahead of her peers, and that is down to receiving both my fabulous genes and my fabulous parenting. So why would I need to show off?

naomilpeb Wed 30-Jan-13 12:39:32

I know it is hard, but it is probably best to think of this as a manifestation of insecurity on their part, rather than an attempt to make you feel bad, if you want to carry on spending time with them much! Out of my group of close friends-with-children, there is one woman like this. After almost five years, I understand that she does this to make herself feel good about her parenting and the choices she has made. Why she needs to do this, is all about her insecurities and worries, not about making us feel inferior. And, because I love her for the funny and opinionated woman she often is, and all the times she has brought me cake when I've been down, I'm OK with that now. Which isn't to say that it isn't hard at times and I've had months when I've had a bit of 'down time' from her to keep sane! I guess it depends on whether they have other redeeming features!

I know that I err on the side of 'moaning' rather than boasting, and I need to stop myself sometimes too, or I'll become boring and miserable (because no one really wants to know the ins and outs of my children's lack of sleep every week) and do my wonderful children a disservice. DP calls me up on it, and he's quite right. I have managed to stop myself from saying to friends with new babies 'just you wait', but I have thought it oh so many times. It's a tricky balance...

Susan2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 12:46:06

"o what has happened to my friends??? Why do they do it??" Genrerally most parents come to the realisation that their child is rather normal, this means they must desperately try and prove its so much better than everyone elses... you can try dissausion techniques. as follows.

Other: My child is walking at 6 months!
You: Oh dear, thats so sad hell probably hav joint and limb problems when hes older I hope you didnt encourage it.

Other: Charlie hates biscuits, we just can't get him to eat one, he just says "apple mummy"

You: Oh dear he doesnt understand how to ask for something properly yet?

These will stop te boasting but also often end up with said parents not talking to you.....which might be good.

Ionasky Wed 30-Jan-13 12:54:15

Berts - shocked at your friend's response - i can understand people saying the wrong thing inadvertently, but that's really lame. the other people must be right - some people can't acknowledge a hint of a less than wonderful reality otherwise they'll crumble. Sucks for you. my bf had pnd (as did my mum) and it was awful, good luck with the recovery.

SamSmalaidh Wed 30-Jan-13 13:04:40

I'm so glad none of my friends are boasty types (not middle class enough grin).

I have two friends with same age children. Of our three - 2 walked early, one walked later, a different 2 potty trained early, one later, 1 talked early, 2 a bit later, one slept through early, one at a reasonable age, and one barely even now (mine!). So a total mixed bag, and no bragging about who was doing what first.

Zipitydooda Wed 30-Jan-13 13:19:37

It's also so, so boring to spend your time talking about and listening to the minutiae of other peoples' parenting/children.

Maybe you have all drifted a bit and conversation is not natural anymore? Too few other shared interests etc

Thumbwitch Wed 30-Jan-13 13:35:32

I'm so glad that the mums I know don't do this, mostly. If anything, we "compete" about how shit our lives are, and what the children aren't achieving, or how badly behaved they're being. (This might be almost as bad, not sure).

But if anyone did try that shit on me, I'd still just be honest and say that whatever DS1 has/hasn't done, it's because I'm lucky; not because I'm so fab at parenting. I'm sure DS2 will soon start to destroy any illusions I may still have about my own parenting skills, anyway! grin

Bakingtins Wed 30-Jan-13 13:48:19

I think it's more prevalent in women who've given up or suspended a high-flying career to be at home with kids and therefore their whole "raison d'etre" is the kids making stellar progress. Worst offender in my group of friends is now a SAHM, all of us who have since returned to work have other fish to fry!
Have decided that most of it is heavily exaggerated or edited, so smile and nod and in your head fill in what they are NOT saying.

CockyPants Wed 30-Jan-13 13:50:37

I had to stop going to my NCT group reunions. The other 4 mums did nothing apart from harp on about my 'late' walking DD (she walked at 13 months which is normal); her breast refusing (I was last to stop BFing at 16 months); her late toilet training ( she was dry during the day at 3yrs). The last straw was us choosing private school for DD. The venom...

Thumbwitch Wed 30-Jan-13 13:59:12

I think that's maybe too sweeping a generalisation, Bakingtins - although you did say SAHMs who have given up/suspended a high-flying career, so maybe not - most of the mums I know are SAHMs but without the ambitious career, so no need to justify anything to anyone and they don't do this.

OrdinarySoup Wed 30-Jan-13 13:59:42

Thumbwitch - I think the negative "boasting" can be worse! Normal boasting to me is easier to dismiss, but the competition between women to be having a harder time than everyone else is pretty demoralising - the implication often is "you've got it so much easier - what are you moaning about". I have actually broken contact with someone who constantly complained about how tough she has it. Moaning was not for support or solidarity but for airtime and weird one-upmanship. Yuck.

Thumbwitch Wed 30-Jan-13 14:05:39

Oh no, that's not what I meant, Ordinary! We don't do that. More the "I'm such a slattern, DS wasn't even dressed before 10am", "I have the children's channel on for DS far too much during the day but at least it helps when we fly back to the UK"
It's all self-deprecatory rather than "my life is such shit no one can have it as hard as I do", which is what you are talking about, isn't it?

Beamur Wed 30-Jan-13 14:06:32

grin at Lafaminute and Mumupmanship! So true and funny when you put it like that!
I love my DD to bits but rarely get to do the 'my DD is better than this at other kids' boast - because she rarely is!! Her best friend however, is brilliant at everything! Luckily she has a sweet, funny, down to earth Mum who I've yet to hear boast.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 30-Jan-13 14:06:49

It doesn't get any better as the kids get older. I see a lot of boasty mums of secondary school kids. Mainly on FB, there's a couple of parents who every week day are putting something on along the lines of - well done Lily for getting 99% in your maths exam, well done for getting 4 praise slips this week, well done for getting the Year 8 award for the most annoying mum best child in the world ever.

You could forgive the odd one, but it seems non stop at times. And even though the messages are addressed to the child the kid doesn't have a FB acc. So its not exactly for them is it? Its so everyone else can see how wonderful their child is.

Pride comes before a fall.

If I ever mention one of DD's good qualities or abilities then I can guarantee that I will be disproven within 24 hours. If I say "DD sleeps through" she will be up 3 times that night. If I say she is rarely ill, she will vom down one of us by nightfall. She even unlearnt counting to 10, which she could do perfectly well 6 months ago.

She is an easy child (I don't mean this boastfully), so I don't have tales of woe to use in the competitive parenting discussions I seem to come across. I really have nothing but good things to say about her. But I don't want to seem competitive about it or make people feel shit.

OrdinarySoup Wed 30-Jan-13 18:42:06

Ah, Thumbwitch - got you. Sorry it triggered a rant about a pet hate of mine!

Hobbitation Wed 30-Jan-13 18:52:06

I think really though it comes of being proud of their kids and thinking they are amazing. I'd prefer that than the alternative. It's just a learning curve of new social skills for new parents. I always had to make a positive effort not to show off, (I still do at times) and to feign interest in other people's kids as I largely wasn't interested at all, only in my own PFB.

Hobbitation Wed 30-Jan-13 18:56:12

Have to say I'd never come across competitive housework until I joined MN. My friends are like "Oh God, my house is a tip and I can't be arsed".

Whereas quite a number of people on here are like "I wash 4 beds every day and iron for 6 hours, if your house isn't spotless you are letting your family down"

Oh rite hmm

It's so much easier to ignore competitive housework. I know my house would look better if I spent more time on it, I just don't care. However implied faults of DD are not from lack of effort and I do care about that.

kerala Wed 30-Jan-13 20:03:03

Bollocks Bakingtins. I am (and know) several SAHMs who gave up high flying careers and we are definitely not competitive parents what a cliche.

OP dump them. Honestly lifes too short. I have binned all the competitive parents I had as friends - not before baffling them with non competitiveness though they hate that grin

FlouncingMintyy Wed 30-Jan-13 20:04:22

If you happen to have one who smiles early, sits up early, crawls early, walks early, sleeps through early, potty trains early, eats well early, reads early, you must never ever talk about him/her (even if you have no clue if it is doing it early or late) in case a.n.other Mumsnetter feels vulnerable. Gavel.

MrsKeithRichards Wed 30-Jan-13 20:04:48

I'm the opposite. As the mum of my second dream baby I feel totally left out of the competitive misery that goes on at toddlers.

MamaBear17 Wed 30-Jan-13 20:17:51

I agree that the competitiveness is not nice and I hate the idea of people comparing their children and judging each other. However, I am a first time mum and I know I am guilty of banging on about my dd and how brilliant I think she is. I think the reason I am so in awe of her now (she is 18mo) is because we had such an awful start. I didnt produce milk so failed at breastfeeding (was ordered by my GP to stop, it was genuinely a medical issue - clearly you can see how insecure I am about this because I still feel like I need to justify it to a bunch of strangers over the internet!) DD also had colic and she cried all day long. It was literally a two hour cycle of her screaming, me doing everything I could to try and soothe her, struggle to feed her (she wouldn't take more than an ounce at a time, even at 4 months old) and then walk up and down the living room holding her until she fell asleep for twenty minutes, before the whole soul destroying cycle started again. At 10 weeks we were prescribed Colief which helped a lot, and by 5 months she was slightly easier I was coping better generally. Then she started to do things like sit up, crawl, giggle, babble, and then walk, talk, play, kiss and cuddle and I was just over the moon. Partly because I was starting to discover the joys of motherhood, but also because I was so relieved that there actually wasn't anything wrong with her. It was just colic, it did pass and she was hitting developmental milestones left, right and centre. I felt so inadequate in the early days, I think I am just guilty of getting a little carried away with my PFB. She still doesnt sleep through the night though, I will admit that much!

utopian99 Wed 30-Jan-13 22:39:04

Kerala - that's the key to these people; the thing they seem to hate the most is you not caring and not competing back!

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