21 Nov 2014

Competitive Much?


Gosh, it's competitive out there in the world of parenting, isn’t it? Whether you’re surrounded by a gaggle of pushy Mums and Dads or not, inevitably there will be times where as parents you question how you measure up.

From developmental milestones, academic achievements, variety of toys and gadgets to parenting styles (and resulting child!), most parents – subliminally or consciously – will compare (mental) notes at some stage or other. I guess it’s natural to draw parallels within peer groups, and we all want the best for our little ‘uns, as well as some kind of reassurance that we and them are doing ok. But as Becky gets older and her social circle wider, I’m picking up on rising pressure to “keep up” to an extent (thanks heavens Alex is too young for all of this yet – the most we compare in our mummy groups are sleep patterns and the frequency of poos!).

And there’s a lot of stuff you can get wrapped up in.
 
Which school is Becky going to go to next year?

Is ballet class enough, or should we also add swimming, gymnastics and violin to the mix of extracurricular activities to make her an accomplished 4-year-old?

Will she be at a social disadvantage because we haven’t taken her to Disneyland yet?

Does she have enough “Frozen” collectables and toys to match her friends?

Are we bad parents because we only recently cottoned on to the fact that “Micro Scooters” are the “it” scooters every little girl and boy needs to be seen with?

I could go on, but you get the picture. And no doubt, the older Becky gets, the more will be added to the list.

I’m really trying not to let myself get consumed by this, and particularly where Becky’s development is concerned, I’m really not bothered about pitching her against other kids. I know she’s a clever cookie and meets all age-relevant goals, even exceeds some, and anyway, each kid develops at their own pace, right?

But I do put John and I as parents under a degree of scrutiny. I often wonder whether we are facilitating Becky’s development enough, her talents, personality and growth as a little character. Are we offering her enough experiences that will help shape her into a well rounded person? Are we doing enough, amongst the every-day realities of jobs, chores and time constraints, to help her realise her potential?

I guess there’s nothing wrong with a bit of self-analysis and a constructive look at your parenting now and again.

But at the end of the day, parenting isn’t a competition, a rat race or a tournament. So I will try to focus less on ticking boxes and more on just letting Becky be her own, unique little person.

 
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2 comments

  1. I love this and agree so much. I want to raise our children to know their worth, and to not feel the need to match up to anyone or to society. I think it's only natural for us parents to be aware of the differences in parenting choices, but I think we need to restore faith in what we do, if something needs fixing, fix it. If it doesn't, you're doing great. All in all it's what suits you and your family, never live up to anyone else's expectations to parenting. That's what I say anyway x

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Natalie! Yes, I agree, I think the focus needs to be on giving our children a sense of worth, confidence and happiness, and that doesn't translate through material choices or competing against other kids or parents. x

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