An Open Letter to Competitive Moms

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Dear fellow moms,

Hope you all are doing well and your little ones are thriving too. I am writing to you all to let you know that I am withdrawing myself from the competitive parenting race. I quit, right at the starting point and would no longer be running the race with you.   I accept that I am a bit nervous for you all might judge me and my child for quitting, and what more might label us as losers too. But before you jump to it, would you please spare a few minutes to read this until the end? It's a tad bit long but then I wanted to make my point and had a lot to vent out!

I have not played any games on a competitive level, and I am not ashamed of accepting it. I enjoy playing games only until it is all at a friendly level. However, I didn't realize when I got caught into this game of competitive parenting. I think this competition nowadays starts right at the pregnancy. Who had the most awesome baby-shower with the maximum number of guests? Who looked the fittest and prettiest in maternity wear? Whose labor was the quickest, and who survived it without any PDA? This lap I managed to survive somehow.

Then came my little bundle of joy who was the prettiest thing I had seen and also elated that we managed to reach the healthy 3kg mark, but then some of you just took that opportunity to brag how yours crossed the 3.5kg mark and mine is slightly below the normal. You stole my moment of joy. I lost to you.

You came visiting us few months after the birth, my Little G must have been 4,5 months and was struggling to roll over but failed every time she tried. Out of serious concern, you told me how my baby seems to be slow in reaching her developmental milestones, as yours could roll over and do a back flip when he was 3.5 months. I was happy for you and felt instantly guilty for not pushing my Little G enough. I knew every child is different, but the way you gloated, I conceded and lost to you again.

I met some of you again a few weeks later and was so super excited to tell you how now my Little G can roll effortlessly. But we were lagging behind again. Your little ones were crawling and how you all were gushing about it. And how you have already enrolled your babies for the swimming classes. I can't forget an instance, you sucked all the fun out of our meet up, how little I had felt and how the efforts of my Little G seemed not good enough. I felt defeated, again!

I went back home with a heavy heart but something changed in me forever. Your apparent concern which instead of making our relationship feel supportive always made me feel bad, I realized now that all this while you were mocking my parenting. You all are running a race trying to be faster than others and I was made a part of this competition, without even knowing it.

Since when has parenting become a competition? For me, IT IS MY JOURNEY WITH MY CHILD AND NOT A COMPETITION WITH OTHER MOMS. I WOULD RATHER LIKE TO WALK ALONG WITH MOMS (OK JOG OR RUN SOMETIMES) WHO SUPPORT, MOTIVATE AND INSPIRE EACH OTHER ON THE WAY. What you are doing is just pulling me down, time and again. Tomorrow when the kids would go to kindergarten, you wouldn't stop raving about how your kid is the smartest and fastest amongst his peers. Then it would be your kid getting most of the trophies and medals, excelling not just in academics but also in every possible sport. It would never end, I know!

If it would have stopped at just you gushing about your kids ostentatiously, I wouldn't have any issues. We all are damn proud of our kids and whatever they achieve- big or small, we want to share that with the world. But it does not mean we have to compare our child's achievement with others and bring them down to feel ourselves bigger and better. This is really not my idea of parenting.

I would always be happy for your child's success, encourage mine and also push whenever needed. There is enough success for everyone and I am not an insecure parent.

My Little G would win some days and not be that good on some, she might be better than others in some things and not so good in some. We would take it all gracefully. I just want to let her grow up doing things she really enjoys doing without the pressure of being a part of every race. And then she would not just survive, but thrive!

I can't avoid meeting you but next time when I would see you, I would like to thank you for shaking me up, opening my eyes and I promise not to get into a defensive competitive lapse.

Wish you goodluck.

Yours sincerely,

A relaxed mom.

Culled from