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 Post subject: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:21 pm 
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I overheard a mother at the park today talking to her friend about another friend. She was saying that her (their?) friend was talking about how tired she was because her toddler wasn't sleeping well and her other kid was sick, and the woman telling the story was all "I just can't feel sorry for her. I mean, I have kids too, plus this little thing on the side called a FULL TIME JOB."

I just... what?

I've heard this kind of thing over and over, and it never fails to make me experience a myriad of emotions. Angry, sad, frustrated, hurt... I hate it. Why do some moms (and dads) feel the need to compare? It's a hard job, no matter how you do it, can't we all just respect each other?

So, post your frustrations with competitive parents here.

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:38 pm 
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Semen Strong
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ARGH! I had one of these for my friend.

My friend is having the worst time with chronic lack of sleep and insomnia exacerbating a chronic health condition. She needs to night wean in the worst way, because she hasn't gotten sleep for over a year. So we are at a playdate and my friend, who looks exhausted and run down mentions not getting any sleep (she also works full time), and another mom says "Oh, none of us get any sleep honey, you'll be fine. Mine is 2 and he never sleeps."

I have no idea what your experience is, but shaming someone into continuing to do something that doesn't work for her is shitty. Especially if you have exactly zero information about her life and experience. And I said that to my friend and she said "You know, I am so tired, I totally didn't hear her." Ha!

Each kid is different and they all come with their own challenges. If yours is easy, then just appreciate that. Don't assume that your kid is easy because you're a great mother and that if every other mother did what you did all their kids would be great too. Its dumb.

I saw a great post too, that so many of the things we compare ourselves on (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, how "good" our kids are at eating or sleeping) has nothing to do with whether we are raising kind and compassionate people. And that is something worth working on and modeling for them. Not patting yourself on the back and making someone else feel bad.

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:12 am 
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Competitive parenting is my biggest annoyance. Parenting is hard. No matter what, it's hard. Every kid is wonderful in most ways, and really challenging in a few ways. And those challenges are hard, and if your challenges are different than mine, then you are not a better or a worse parent, you are simply a different parent to a different kid.

What boggles my mind is when I see parents with more than one kid do it. With my first, I think I put way too much stock in parenting, both good and bad. Then I had my second. I am the same me, DH is the same DH, and yet the same parenting yielded vastly different results. I got a huge dose of perspective about just how little of any of this is in my control.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:36 am 
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Here's something to maybe make you feel better in general around this kind of thing:

http://www.themompetition.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:11 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
My friend is having the worst time with chronic lack of sleep and insomnia exacerbating a chronic health condition. She needs to night wean in the worst way, because she hasn't gotten sleep for over a year. So we are at a playdate and my friend, who looks exhausted and run down mentions not getting any sleep (she also works full time), and another mom says "Oh, none of us get any sleep honey, you'll be fine. Mine is 2 and he never sleeps."

I have no idea what your experience is, but shaming someone into continuing to do something that doesn't work for her is shitty. Especially if you have exactly zero information about her life and experience. And I said that to my friend and she said "You know, I am so tired, I totally didn't hear her." Ha!


See, I would totally say something just like that with the best of intentions -- not to shame them, but to encourage them and let them know that it's okay to have a kid that doesn't sleep through the night. Because most of the time if you say you are tired, you are hit with all kinds of advice* on how to get your kid to sleep and mompetition comments about what a great sleeper someone's kid is and how you are doing it wrong/a bad mom for having a kid that doesn't sleep. People act like it is so bad when your kid doesn't sleep, it's nice to hear some encouragement and for someone to say, "hey, it's okay, you'll be fine."
Obviously, she doesn't know about your friend's health condition, but it really sounds, from what you've written (obvs, I wasn't there), like she was trying to be supportive.


* I was recently told that to stop breastfeeding and to use formula and pacifiers and to give cereal in a bottle at night was a great way to get kids to all sleep through the night at 3 weeks. This goes against everything I do, so I didn't make any harsh comments (I did say I would continue to stick a boob in their mouth and call it a day).

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:01 am 
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Semen Strong
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It was said in a really dismissive tone, and she was telling her that she didn't need to nightwean.

And for me, it was like the thing that PB posted - one woman refusing to honor the struggles of another by saying "i did it, so i'm not going to have any sympathy for you."

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:32 am 
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I don't understand why people cannot manage a simple, "I'm sorry. That sucks to get no sleep."


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:19 pm 
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It never seems to go away either.

The other day I was "scolded" for the way I am dealing with my 18 year old. The person who did the scolding has no real idea what my kid struggles with or our history of dealing with him. But they have an 18 year old that they had "similar" issues with (not even close actually).

I have perfected the "please stop talking now" smile.

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:16 pm 
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Oi. Situations like this are why I have more fun playing with the babies than the moms sometimes. :)

It's hard not to get down/defensive sometimes too, in response to these idiotic comment. Freya only just in the past mm, two weeks, started any sort of real crawling (it's still not very often and kinda awkward, but yeah). She was nearly 11 months old at this point. Now, I feel confident in my child development knowledge and had no real concerns about her crawling delay. She moves around, and is happy standing/scooting, so her muscles seemed to be working fine. Yet, every week at the freaking baby group that Freya loved there was "she's not crawling yet?" blah blah blah. This and the "wow, she's an Amazon" type comments gave me lots of practice in the "water off a damn duck's back" philosophy of parenting ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:41 pm 
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We've already gotten comments about Scarlett not rolling over yet at 4 months (which I don't even think is late... but whatever). I seriously think it must be harder for a big chubby baby to learn to roll over and crawl than it would be for slimmer baby! So I'm anticipating that other stuff taking Scarlett a little longer, too, and that the comments will continue to come.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:52 pm 
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A friend of mine pointed out the distinction between developmental skills that all children will eventually develop and practical ones that children develop because they practice them. The developmental ones may come at different speeds but everyone gets them, and it has nothing to do with anything the parents do.

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:48 pm 
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I'm entering the mompetition to tell you all that my child wins the prize for poor gross motor development. Lucy never crawled. She did a strange scooting thing (and didn't do that until about 11 months). She also literally NEVER rolled over as a baby. And she's now 3.5 and can get from point A to point B just fine. I guess it makes some people feel better to brag about how little Johnny slept through the night at 3 days old, but I firmly believe most of these people are totally full of shiitake. One of the many reasons I love the ppkparents is that everyone here is supportive and accepting without the need for one-upping. If only we had our own vegan island....

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:52 pm 
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Semen Strong
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I do think that people just misremember stuff. When Mr T told his mom that Leela was walking at 10 months, she promptly said that all her children had walked at 9 months. She is the worst one-upper. I give her no information, and generally prefer if Mr T doesn't relay it to me, because it is dumb.

She basically thinks she was the best mother ever and that no other mothers even like their kids. Oh and her first born was a genius who was smarter than all the teachers. And she really did have crazy births - one son had jaundice so bad his entire blood supply had to be drained and replaced and another had Hirshsprungs. No one can compete with her.

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Over the summerwehung out with a couple with a perfect angel baby (by our standards). They thought grey was awesome and they were totally frazzled. We thought Braden was awesome and we were totally frazzled. That's when we realized it doesn't matter what baby you have, they are all hard and frazzling.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:17 pm 
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littlebear wrote:
Over the summerwehung out with a couple with a perfect angel baby (by our standards). They thought grey was awesome and they were totally frazzled. We thought Braden was awesome and we were totally frazzled. That's when we realized it doesn't matter what baby you have, they are all hard and frazzling.


:) Its so true. I can't imagine what its like having had to deal with GERD and allergies and undersupply like you did, but I'm still frazzled! Even with a baby who sleeps well, eats like a champ, and is healthy and chunky. Hahahaha, the universe only gives you as much frazzle as you can handle perhaps!

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:44 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
A friend of mine pointed out the distinction between developmental skills that all children will eventually develop and practical ones that children develop because they practice them. The developmental ones may come at different speeds but everyone gets them, and it has nothing to do with anything the parents do.


I'm not sure what your friend meant by practical skills, but I'm guessing like signing? Even though kids learn practical skills from adults and their environment, even these skills are not possible until the child is developmentally ready.

I bump up against this issue a lot in elementary school. Students today are expected to master so many academic skills by a certain time of the year...sometimes the individual child is just not developmentally ready no matter how much teaching or practice they have had.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:08 pm 
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I never crawled. Bum scooted and walked late. I'm doing fine now.
Also, I am not a parent, but I've worked with kids who have "invisible disabilities" like autism spectrum disorder and the looks I've gotten when the kid is having a melt-down are awful.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:09 pm 
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Maybe a practical skill is something like crawling? It's not developmental in the sense that a child doesn't have to develop it and some children don't (or don't develop it until way after they develop other movement skills like walking).

It is frustrating what's expected of babies and toddlers. People really expect toddlers to be more "civilized" than they possibly could be. Some toddlers are just normally quieter or move less or are less inquisitive (i.e. destructive), but that's not because they've been trained better!

Whenever people are admiring Malka's movement abilities and acting impressed that she walked at 10 months, I tell them I didn't walk till 14/15 months and that normal has a wide range and it doesn't seem to matter when babies figure out walking.

My MIL does vicarious competitive parenting like crazy, generally by telling me about other people's children and how stupid they are. She's doing better lately about not comparing Malka to her cousin, though. That was really annoying.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:14 am 
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Ariann wrote:
People really expect toddlers to be more "civilized" than they possibly could be. Some toddlers are just normally quieter or move less or are less inquisitive (i.e. destructive), but that's not because they've been trained better!



I had a lady without kids tell me that because her niece was a delight at age 2 clearly the terrible twos were a lie and any little kid who misbehaves is just a result of bad parenting. My first born wasn't even a toddler yet, but I could already tell he was enough of an individual that it wasn't going to be up to me. I gave the woman my best "You're bananas!" eyes and walked away.

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:40 am 
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it gets so much better as they get older i think. my circle of friends and acquaintances has gotten so much more relaxed as our kids pass two and head into three. once in a while we hang out with someone with a little baby who is going on about how they're going to "do things right" and we just gently smile and nod. it's pretty easy when you have one young baby/toddler to think you've got a lot of the answers (or conversely, if you've had a tough infancy, to think you are a huge parent fail).

i mean, we all indulge in a little judgement now and then. the first post made me think of a woman we know who does get bitched about a little, and someone who didn't know her and just overheard us might think we were horrible harpies, but she really is unbearable when it comes to trying to win the "i have it hardest" olympics.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:57 pm 
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Butternut wrote:
I bump up against this issue a lot in elementary school. Students today are expected to master so many academic skills by a certain time of the year...sometimes the individual child is just not developmentally ready no matter how much teaching or practice they have had.

Oi, this right here is the main reason we're planning to ditch the UK before Freya hits school age. The testing/skill inventory mentality is insane. The kids at baby G's school were expected to be reading by the end of Reception year (kids turning five during the course of the year). Baby K's mom was talking to me after their parent/child conference about how the teacher was insisting that her daughter didn't know her numbers properly up to 100 (age 4). Now, honestly, I think she does know them and just didn't feel like cooperating; she has a most excellent blank stare, but still....jeezus. If your kid can do those type of things, great, but this idea that your kid is failing/behind/the product of poor parenting is just over the top.

Whew, sorry this really really gets me worked up some days.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:16 pm 
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littlebear wrote:
Over the summerwehung out with a couple with a perfect angel baby (by our standards). They thought grey was awesome and they were totally frazzled. We thought Braden was awesome and we were totally frazzled. That's when we realized it doesn't matter what baby you have, they are all hard and frazzling.


Yes. I love my in-laws to pieces. They are really wonderful people. But they drove me a little nuts when the Emperor was a baby by telling me all the time what a wonderful and easy baby he was (or seemed to be to them). I know it came from a place of love (and also a place of not being the people caring for that thing 24/7/not having all the pieces of information) but they just kept saying it and I kept thinking well, if this is an easy baby, I must be the world's shittiest parent because I am not able to handle even this.

In hindsight, he really wasn't a very easy baby in many ways. And I really do believe that NO baby is easy 100% of the time.

(Also, he was really really fat and he crawled just fine around 8 months. I'm not misremembering! I have video footage! He never really rolled though.)

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:32 pm 
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The twins I nanny for were late-ish walkers--one didn't walk until 17 months. Later than average but still in the normal range. (Also when I learned how to walk, coincidentally!) If I had a dime for every jokey comment about how she had to learn how to walk from a random parent or other person, I could probably throw a lot of dimes in people's face angrily. First of all, NORMAL RANGE, and also, this kid's developmental milestones are actually the business of her family and doctor and to some extent me and not really anyone else.

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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:49 am 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
(Also, he was really really fat and he crawled just fine around 8 months. I'm not misremembering! I have video footage! He never really rolled though.)


Ha! Awesome. So my theory has been disproven. And it's good to hear there are other babies out there who aren't into rolling over.


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 Post subject: Re: Competitive Parenting Ventilation Thread
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:55 am 
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littlebird wrote:
it gets so much better as they get older i think.


I've noticed that parents tend to compete with the bad stuff more as kids age. It always starts out as innocent venting and ends up trash talking. Leaves me thinking I'm the only person who still adores her 13 year old.

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