Now, I feel that it is safe to say that we are all very proud of our children and of their accomplishments, whether big or small. I also feel that it is safe to say that most adults would be happy to hear about accomplishments that other children have achieved, whether they received straight A’s on a report card, or have become an accomplished musician or athlete, or if they are just an all around great kid. However, what do you do when you come face to face with a hard core "Mom-petitor"?
What's a Mom-petitor? Oh, you know.....one ofthose mom's who likes to compare her child to everyone else's, just to make sure that they are where they should be, which in her mind is ahead of yours.
Have you run into any of these lovely women? I must say that so far my experience in Franklin Lakes has been very pleasant, although I can't say the same for some of my girlfriends (pssst....don't worry.....what goes around comes around....)
Now, when I was a kid, I was an unwilling participant to the "let's compare our kids" madness. Mind you, my mother was a "Tiger Mom", albeit a lenient one and all her friends were pretty much the same. Unfortunately for my dear mother, I never seemed to be considered one of the "top" kids in our group of friends. It was always, so and so scored a perfect SAT score, so and so got into Harvard, so and so got into Medical school, so and so surprised her mother with a brand new Mercedes for her birthday...can I barf now? Ugh, seriously....a Mercedes why not the Porsche?Please…
It wasn't that my mom sought out this information that made me feel totally inferior, on the contrary, she tried her best to avoid these discussions (I would too if I had a daughter like me, but that's a story for another day). However, when you're standing face to face, or stuck in a corner with one of these competitive, no EQ type of mom, you have no choice but to listen and try to smile politely as you secretly grind your teeth and wring your hands, hoping that something catastrophic would occur so you could make your escape (which of course never happens).
I grew up hating...absolutely despising some of the kids in our community. Even to this day if my mom mentions "so and so's" name I cringed! I know, I know, I'm older now and I should be able to look past all that, but those crazy "mom-petitors" made my life miserable when I was younger and I honestly think that they scarred me.
In fact, one evening a bunch of our old college friends got together for dinner in New York. We were having a blast, talking and laughing while the kids all played nicely in the family room. All of a sudden a friend of ours says, "Hey kids, let's all come to the piano and have a little concert. You can all play a piece that you have been working on. How does that sound?" WHAT!? How does that sound? It sounds awful!
As I watched the children file into the living room, everything suddenly went into slow motion as if in one of those action movies.....I leaped over the kitchen table, stumbled across the hallway into the living room, yanked my two kids from the lineup, glanced at my imaginary watch, hollered to the hostess that we had to leave because it was getting late, as I tossed our shoes and jackets into my bag and flew out of the house. Made it….we’re safe….whew! That was close!
Have you ever been in a situation where you fled the scene of an impending "kid comparison" setup? How did you cope with the situation?
Alright, perhaps I overreacted just a tad, but I never liked being compared to other kids when I was younger and I don't want to put my children through that either. I want my kids to be confident in whom they are and not undermine them by comparing them to others. Now, mind you, I am by no means saying that I don't occasionally compare my kids to other children...I am, after all, still human.......I'm not perfect (believe it or not....hee hee).
So to all the "mom-petitors" out there, I'm happy that your child was potty trained right out of the womb, and that they can speak 3 languages at age four, take college courses while in elementary school and earn $60,000 just over the summer......but, can they do this?!......oh, right.....you can't see me......oh well, it's probably for the better....
*This is an article that I wrote for an online news site