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to wish I had never had this conversation (alpha mother alert)

(52 Posts)
fixarupa Tue 22-Jan-13 12:00:49

I was having a general catch up with one of my friends (alpha mum) this morning. Usual stuff about kids, work etc. Then we got onto the subject of our reception age kids and how they are getting on at school.

Oh how I regret ever saying " My Ds has not started getting books from school yet" This was met with suprise and then the all the comments started coming about how well her DS is doing with his reading and he has been getting books from school for ages.

I so wish I could learn to keep my big trap shut when talking to this particular person about the kids. They are the same age, and although I know my Ds is doing Ok I also feel insecure that he is not yet reading apart from just a few words. I know that early reading is no future predictor of achievement at school. I have read the stuff on how pushing reading too early can be detrimental.

So why do I feel like an inadequate mum?

Tweasels Tue 22-Jan-13 12:05:10

Because you're talking to the wrong people. She must feel inadequate to feel the need to say those things.

For the record my DS was like that, it took ages to "get" reading. Was 2-3 stages behind others and now in year 3 he is ahead of what is "normal" for his age. Just took longer to get there.

ApocalypseThen Tue 22-Jan-13 12:05:39

Feeling inadequate is the price of mum-dom. Listen, I used to have a class of kids that age, and early reading is no indication of anything. All children develop at their own pace, and while her child might be ready to read, yours is probably more advanced in another area that you didn't happen to discuss.

Also, not everyone is always 100% honest about what their child is doing.

Numberlock Tue 22-Jan-13 12:06:30

Next time tell her he isn't getting books from school as the school are happy that he is reading War and Peace (in Russian) independently at home. That should shut her up.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 22-Jan-13 12:08:19

Why do women do this to each other? It's so pathetic. There's no such thing as an 'alpha mum' and anybody who applies that label to themselves has esteem issues.

Kids pick things up at different times, at different speeds and, as we know, they all catch up eventually. Some kids like to read from the word 'go', some are not so keen at the start - and some never like it.

I really hate all this 'comparison' crap - and that's what it is. Wrongfoot this stupid woman by saying brightly, "Oh, that's such a shame, nevermind" to ANY and EVERY boast she comes up with, and then quickly change the subject... she'll be so confused. grin

... and there's no need for you to feel inadequate, is there? Stop it, you're doing fine and you're the only one who needs to critique your performance if anybody does.

Why do you feel like an inadequate mum - because that's how she wanted you to feel.

I assume your DS has books available to him at home so its not as if he never sees the written word. It really doesn't make a big difference when they get older. DS1 was way behind with his reading up to Yr2 and now in Yr5 is reading age appropriate books and holding his own in class.

Be thankful that your own life is full enough that you don't have to make yourself feel better by comparing your children with others.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Tue 22-Jan-13 12:08:54

You are not an inadequate Mum. Maybe your LO just hasn't caught on yet, that doesn't mean he wont. Don't push the reading thing, just make sure he has lots of books to play with and look at if he wants to, and maybe when you're playing with your DS you could pick up one of his books and start to read it yourself? If he sees Mummy doing it he might want to get involved too.

YAB a little U. Maybe your friend doesn't want to make you feel bad but is just one of those women that doesn't think before she speaks? Just comes out with how her little one is really clever for his age because she feels proud of him - not to make you feel bad about your LO.

You know Einstein didn't speak until he was four years old. Says a lot.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 22-Jan-13 12:09:09

... WHY do I have that silly advert song in my head now... "GO compare, Go compare...." aarghhh angry

LifeofPo Tue 22-Jan-13 12:10:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prozacbear Tue 22-Jan-13 12:12:25

You're not inadequate at all, but YABU to give this woman ammunition when you know what she's like.

So your DS doesn't get books from school - as you say it isn't a future indicator of future academic achievement at ALL. And different children are good at different things. I was reading independently at a freakishly young age; I still can't attempt my times tables in my twenties. Focus on celebrating what your DS is good at, and supporting him in what he isn't, and AVOIDING alpha mothers.

PoppyWearer Tue 22-Jan-13 12:13:13

Next time, drop in a comment about how Norway is one of the most literate countries in the world according to Wikipedia but the children don't even start school and learn letters etc until age 6. So you're not worried.

Then tell her to fuck herself.

ShamyFarrahCooper Tue 22-Jan-13 12:14:06

So it's a one-way conversation? You can make an observation about your child's progress but she can't about hers? Did she mention your child?

I was talking to ds' friends' mum the other day. DS' friend gets more homework. They are at different schools, so I assume they do things differently. DS gets one book a week home (he is 5, in primary one, Scotland) and I'm sure others get 2 sometimes.

I don't care either way, as long as ds is trying & ENJOYING it, which he doesn't really with homework so he does a little as he can.

fixarupa Tue 22-Jan-13 12:14:44

Ha Ha thats a good idea Numberlock. Thanks everyone for the sensible perspective. Its what I come on MN for!
I think the secret is to just never get into the conversation in the first place. Sometimes I want to just scream at these mums. Its like they are not playing fair by talking up their child's abilities. There are a number of brags I could say about my kids but do you know what? Its just mean to say how well your child is doing, when you know others are worried about their own child.

lolaflores Tue 22-Jan-13 12:16:15

UK only country in the world (?) where kids start so young. Studies show that there is nearly no point starting a child to read till they are closer to 7. so there.
in yer pipe missus.
bullshit.
i think if it is a friend you can bring up kids progress without being made to feel stupid or having done the wrong thing.
OUTCOME; she ain't no friend, leave her to the alpha group who don't listen to a blessed word anyone says anyway. just lots of noise

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 22-Jan-13 12:17:33

Yes, don't get into these conversations, there's no need, is there? They always end up in a 'brag fest' and somebody always feels hurt.

DeckSwabber Tue 22-Jan-13 12:19:19

Enjoying far more important at this stage than anything else.

LifeofPo Tue 22-Jan-13 12:21:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Backtobedlam Tue 22-Jan-13 12:23:03

It's only a competition if you're competing. My child struggles with reading, but I don't get upset if someone else is telling me their child is good at it. There will be some things your child is better at than hers and visa versa...why us it boasting? I'm proud of my children and their acheivements, why shouldn't people say so.

MissMarplesMaid Tue 22-Jan-13 12:23:55

Dont worry LifeofPo, I have a late reader. He only really got going when he found something he wanted to read rather than he had to read.

Pandemoniaa Tue 22-Jan-13 12:25:00

Definitely don't get into these competitions with anyone who makes a competition out of being a parent. You will never beat their achievements or those of their children and if you don't come away feeling dispirited you'll feel deeply irritated instead.

I knew two women like this when ds1 & 2 were small. One was a friend, the other an acquaintance. Both of them were deluded and both could bore the pants off you. Neither of their children grew up to be Einstein, incidentally.

LifeofPo Tue 22-Jan-13 12:25:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lolaflores Tue 22-Jan-13 12:27:47

do not feel any need to justify your childs reading. it is what it is, their own unique path. look back in a few years and you will see.
<patronising older mummy, nods to self , strokes chin beard>

changejustforyou Tue 22-Jan-13 12:28:06

uh, maybe she didn't realise that not everyone had a reading book/her dc was "advanced" in reading and was genuinely surprised about it. What would have been an appropriate response, say nothing? Say dc didn't have any books either?

DeckSwabber Tue 22-Jan-13 12:32:00

Take the long view. Some of the 'cleverest' kids in my children's primary school were off the rails in Y10, Y11 (they were fine in the long run but they were a worry to their parents at that stage). On the other hand, one of the slower readers picked up the English prize in Y9.

MarcelineTheVampireQueen Tue 22-Jan-13 12:32:16

I really hate competitive parenting. I thought it ended when babied hit their developmental milestones so I had a right shock when my PFB went to school!

My DSis is having a baby and asked me what the worst part was (thinking I would tell her childbirth) I told her the truth-judgy superior parents.

And never feel inadequate. I dont remember the times that my mother pushed me to do homework or read beyond my level. What I do rememember are the fun and happy times we had. And I'm a fucking genius!

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