We all know at least one mum who’s child did it first, those parents who like to tell you that their child has been sleeping through since the minute they were born, talked when they were 3 months old or walked when they were 5 months. We also all know that the majority of the time they are exaggerating. For example, one mum once told me her 11 month old had been walking since she was 7 months old, I was very impressed until she showed me. She was not walking at all, rather she was taking steps whilst being supported by her mum. Now this is lovely but it is not what she told me.
This isn’t a recent thing either, this is something I noticed from the minute Luca was born and I’m sure every other mother in the world has noticed. From the minute your child is born people start asking questions like how long were you in labour? How big was he? Did you have pain relief? Then the point scoring begins. It seems that if you had a super fast labour or a ridiculously long one you get a point. An average length labour isn’t worth anything. You get an extra point for every pound your baby weighed over 7lb and if you managed with only gas an air grab yourself 10 points, no pain relief at all you get 50. I’m not sure what these points equate to exactly and who made the rules but apparently they exist secretly, either that or I never received my copy of the manual.
I find it extremely sad that there are some mothers out there who feel like they need to point score and prove to the rest of the world that their child is the best. All babies are equally as special as one another no matter their abilities and all will be better at one thing than an another, just as we are as adults. Variation is what makes the world go around, right?
When these mothers are spouting about how fantastic their child is I often wonder if they ever take into consideration the way they may be making other mothers feel.
One of the questions I regularly get is, “Is Luca crawling yet?” To which my reply at 10 months old is “No, he isn’t”. The reply is always the same, those three patronising little words that so easily slip out of other mothers lips, “He’ll get there”, whilst their ‘perfect’ child crawls around attempting to steal whatever Luca has in his grasp. They say it like I should be worried he isn’t and quite frankly I’m not. I’m secretly a little glad that I can safely go into the kitchen without worrying about where he is off to, it definitely makes my life easier. If he never crawls it won’t bother me either, some babies don’t and that’s just fine.
The mother asking this question never takes a second to think whether or not this is something that may upset me though. It could be something I am worried about as it’s a milestone he is yet to reach like some other new mums I know. Them pointing out that my child isn’t crawling yet whilst all the other babies around him are is not in the slightest bit sympathetic or caring. I have two friends who are worried about their babies, one is yet to move onto more solid foods and the other who has a little girl yet to say her first word. Instead of pointing these things out every time we see them we talk about other things that they are good at and wait for the mum to raise the subject. Then as friends and mothers ourselves, who understand the anxiety that goes hand in hand with being a parent, we offer supportive, constructive advice, not spout off about how quickly our children did these things.
Yes, milestones exist to give you an idea of where your child should be in their progression into little people but it isn’t actually set in stone. They are just guidelines, indicators as to what should be happening around what age. Some babies do things early, some do them late, others do them right on time and there are some who will never do them at all.
Motherhood is tough enough without it becoming a competition. So next time you encounter a competitive mother don’t get drawn in, just remind yourself of how lucky you are to have the child you have and how perfect they are to you.
Motherhood may not be a competition, but I feel like I’m winning!