Why are mothers so competitive?

United States
December 5, 2007 10:59am CST
Does it mean you are a better mother if your 17 month old knows his colors, or if your 2 year old can sing the ABC's? Does it make you feel good about yourself to look down on a mother whose toddler has a tantrum? Do you feel like you are doing the best for your child by Demanding that people give you what you want? Wouldn't it be easier if we were supportive of each other, had someone in whom to confide our fears and mistakes? Oh, how I long to meet another mother who could be herself and not try to make me feel bad about myself and my parenting skills.
6 responses
• United States
5 Dec 07
I dont know why people do those things, i think sometimes it is very intentional and others it isnt intentional at all. It is great to be proud of your kids and the accomplishments they make, but it is also nice if someone can be kind and gentle enough to help you through tough parenting times without making you feel like you are inadequate. I am a bit of a perfectionist both in my personal and business life so i may be one of those mothers that make others feel inadequate but I hope not as that is not my intention.
• United States
6 Dec 07
It's definitely unintentional sometimes. But when it seems like it is intentional, that bothers me. It is so childish to make someone else feel bad in order to make yourself look good.
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
5 Dec 07
I think alot of mothers can be this way. I try very hard not to...as I know it's never fun to be on the other side, realizing that your kid doesn't quite measure up. I think parents (especially mothers) feel like their kids are a 'progress report' of sorts, on how well they are doing as a parent, and in order to let others know that they are quite competent, mothers walk around boasting at what they have "done" (: also, an even more disturbing trend is that many mothers feel like that if there child doesn't do exactly what the neighbor's kid can do, there either must be something wrong with the child, or with the parent.. and they try to fix something, that isn't broken. making themselves, and their children frustrated and upset. Comparing children is never a good idea, because early skills are rarely an actual indication of genius or a higher intelligent child, it just means that the child was ready for it at that time. Most people assume that if a child can recognize his abc's early, that he must be genius, or if he learns his body parts early, he's gifted, but really, it usually just means mom and dad spent some extra time with him and He WANTED to learn that. I can try to teach my son piano all i want, but he's not interested (he's 15 months old) his older brother LONGS to learn, and will throw a major tantrum if he doesn't get school time, because of his longing to learn things, he is more advanced than other children his age, I of course was available to teach him, but it has much less to do with me, than his drive to learn. I think parents get hung up on that too much, and someone walking around gloating "look what my kid can do better than yours" certainly doesn't help.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 07
'... I know it's never fun to be on the other side, realizing that your kid doesn't quite measure up.' I do not think my son doesn't measure up because he doesn't know the alphabet at 14 months old. It's other people who think he doesn't measure up. He does not need to know the alphabet right now; he is busy learning how to walk and talk and eat with a fork. I am not and never will be one of those mothers who tries to force feed academic concepts to my child before he is ready simply to impress the other mothers on the playground.
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
6 Dec 07
if you were offended by my comment, I apologize, you must have misunderstood. I simply meant what you are saying, that not every kid will be doing the same things at the same time, and parents ought not to compare their child to another, regardless if their kid is excelling, or not in any area. I agree with you, a 14 month old doesn't need to know his alphabet, and I have yet to meet one who does, I must say I would be surprised, but neither one of my boys were big talkers at that age.. they said mamma and daddy by then and a few words on occasion, but they were too preoccupied with playing to want to learn something like that..
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 07
That's exactly it- other mothers make comparisons. I feel just fine about how my child is doing. Then I see other mothers giving me a 'look' because my son would rather play than sit with a leapfrog computer and study concepts that are as foreign to him as greek is to me. Lots of children are not talking by a year old. My son says about a dozen words, but mostly he points, gestures or whines when he wants something. Some people would be rushing to the doctor for an evaluation, fearing autism when their kids are not using full sentences by 16 months. What they don't realize is that the pressure they are putting on their children is going to come back to bite them in a few years.
@nica269 (1399)
• United States
7 Dec 07
fortunately, I have friends who don't boast and that are supportive and helpful when I have questions or concerns. It IS hard to find humble mothers. And I have to agree that sometimes it does seem like a competition on how's 'parenting' better. I ignore mothers like that and go on with my life and most importantly try to do the best for my child.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jan 08
You are very lucky to have friends like that. I have a couple too. But somehow that's not much comfort when I am getting disapproving looks from strangers. I need to train myself not to care what strangers think. On most topics I don't care. But I a very conscious of all things related to my son.
@wisedragon (2328)
• Philippines
6 Dec 07
I think life in general has become more and more competitive - jobs, sports, poilitics, business. As a result there's more pressure for kids to become either geniuses or athletic superstars. So naturally the parents themselves have become so competitive as well. But I don't think abilities at such an early age are the indicators of the future success of that child.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 07
True, I do see it in all areas of life, it just doesn't bother me except when it comes to children. It feels like exploitation. I agree that abilities at such a young age do not indicate success later in life. Thank you.
• United States
5 Dec 07
I know what you mean. There is a lot of competition between most mothers. It drives me crazy! My son didn't start walking till he was, well till last week :-P (16 months). Now he is walking like crazy. It hasn't been that long since he started really trying to communicate and learn new words. It has nothing to do with how much time I spend with him, but how much he wants to do those things. It's worse. I live with my mom who thinks she was the best parent in the world. She tells me that she used to spend three or more hours a day working with me so that I could learn my colors, abc's, reading and all of that. However, some of her stories contradict themselves. Um...she worked, I had a nanny. My dad supposedly took care of me while she made dinner, cleaned, and such because dad could only do one thing at a time...But she is constantly making me feel looked down upon because she thinks that because I am a stay at home mother and housewife I should spend his every waking moment teaching him something. It doesn't matter that I am working on bringing in an income from working online... Sorry...I feel frustrated too!
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Dec 07
It is definitely harder when it comes from someone close to you. At least with strangers it's usually one time and you never see them again. I'm sorry you have to go through that, but it's comforting to know I'n not alone.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12065)
• India
18 Dec 07
Each child is different and each mother is different. I've been a kindergarten teacher and I know quite a bit of problems that mothers have. I don't judge a child or the mother based on what the child does or doesn't do. But when I do think to myself when I see that there is absolutely no effort on the mother's (or even the father's) part to correct a mistake that the child is doing. Usually, I try to talk to them about it (they probably are not aware of what to do)...but even after that when I find that they are not responding, I try to do the best I can for the child. I can understand mistakes (we all make them...I've got 2 kids myself and know how hard it is to be an ideal mother and we all slip up sometimes). But not being bothered about how a child is shaping as an individual..that gets to me. But I'm all for being supportive and being there for each other. I had a friend who would lose her cool and take out her anger on her then 4 year old daughter. Even though she was trying, she couldn't control herself. So, we figured out a way....everytime she would go into a rage, she would call me up and I would bring her daughter over to my place till she cooled down.
@SViswan (12065)
• India
18 Dec 07
I'm sorry...I took it as a general discussion. If you mean the competition at school and some moms being smug that their child knows things better than yours - thankfully I haven't been at the receiving end. Most of the parents I meet at school are nice people and we enjoy the discussions about kids and help each other out when we are having problems. But it definitely isn't right to judge a mother on if a child knows their ABCs. I'd rather help my child (or any child for that matter) be a child and enjoy the little things that children do than sit and teach them the alphabets and colours!
@SViswan (12065)
• India
4 Jan 08
I understand. I wouldn't brag about my child because I know that if there is one area that he is good at (compared to other kids his age), there are other areas that he isn't able to handle like other normal kids. I'm not sure about the parents of my students but the parents of the kids in my son's class are very nice in the fact that they help each other to cope with their kid's areas in which they aren't good at and whenever possible..try to involve their kids too so that the kids help each other. I think that's good because the kids learn from each other and learn to help each other too. I'm sure I'd avoid a parent who was bragging all the time.