Do parents need to make everything a pissing contest?

Do parents need to make everything a pissing contest?

Do you have friends that no matter what you've experienced or accomplished, they've done it too, only better?  Instead of purging those people from my friend list, I kind of like having them around.  I'm not sure if I actually like them, or find it more of an amusing game because I like testing to see just how far I can take it.  I remember when I was in college after an exhausting dinner with my one-upper friend and there was not a thing that I did that was unique, so I finally said, "I'm currently training to hike Mount Kilimanjaro."  She brushed off my attempt to gain the upper hand by saying,  "Well, really Everest is more challenging - I've been there before."

Now that most of us are parents, I've noticed that there seems to be a transfer in the ownership of being Master of the Universe.  At the mere mention of something positive or an accomplishment, you'll immediately hear the retaliation.  Now it could be in your face, or very subtle, but just listen.  It's always there.  I was at the park with my son and heard a group of moms talking that were part of some sort of playgroup.  One woman exclaimed, "Bella learned how to ride a two wheeler bike a yesterday!  It only took a few times and she was off."  The in-your-face mom says, "My Michael learned ages ago, good times."  The more subtle mom says, "Oh that's so wonderful.  Molly wanted to catch up with her older sister, so we went through that excitement last year."

One of the many reasons I don't do playgroups.

It goes far beyond playgroups.  Academics get crazy with parents talking about how many accelerated classes their child is taking and how bright each and every one of them are.  How are there so many straight A students out there?  I'm just about to forge into the ACT and SAT result comparison - can't wait for that one.

But the absolute worst are sports parents.

I don't mind competition - in fact I love it.  I just don't care for parents being unable to celebrate another child's success without talking about their own offspring. My daughter is on a new soccer team and had a game this past weekend. While watching, I told another parent that her daughter made a great save. Completely unsolicited, another mom blurts out, "well my daughter came from Eclipse - only the best club there is!" What? I then had to hear countless stories of her success and instead of being impressed, all I could think was, then why'd you leave?

I think swim parents are the funniest because you can't fake anything.  Quite a few like to say what huge swimmers their daughters are and how much they're in demand by a number of colleges.  Hmm, I see their times on paper, I know what the times are from those colleges - how can you possibly tell me that if they choose Iowa, they'll be the fastest swimmer there?

This contest works the other way as well.   Just try walking into the middle of a group of parents at any given practice and complain that you have such a crazy schedule.  I guarantee you'll be met with a barrage of:  You think you're busy?  We have soccer, horseback riding, water polo, softball, football AND piano lessons - and that's just Tuesday.  You're schedule is nothing, do you know that I ran the bake sale and no one baked but me?  I have so many people to keep happy that you couldn't possibly understand.

So even when you're complaining and miserable, the one-upmanship parents have to make sure you know they are more over scheduled, more involved and simply more miserable than you can ever hope to be.

The madness needs to stop.  If you find yourself talking about your own child when someone mentions their child's accomplishment, just take a second and pause.  Tell them that's awesome, and try to mean it.  Step out of your own world and compliment a child when they do something great.  Just because one child succeeds, it doesn't need to take anything away from your own.  There are all kinds of achievements out there and plenty to go around.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to dash to my kid's rock climbing lesson so we can start our preparation for Kilimanjaro.

 

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