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dealing with super competitive mums

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mamaellie
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dealing with super competitive mums

Postby mamaellie » Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:58 am

I need your tips/experience for dealing with this. Sorry it's kind of long.

I hate going to baby groups. I mostly go because Juliet gets to see other children and new toys and whatnot, but I start dreading it the day before because it seems like all the adult conversations start out comparing weights and heights and then quickly become all about one-upping and proving one's baby is the best thing ever.

Don't get me wrong-- I am really proud of my baby and think she's the smartest, cutest, etc., but I just don't know what to say when it's constantly, "Oh, she's not crawling yet? How old is she?" and "How many milk feeds have you cut out since you started weaning?" and "Just wait until she's climbing out of her cot." Then there's the patronising ones, like, "Oh, you don't want her to crawl, she'll never sit still again," (from, of course, a mum whose baby is crawling younger than mine!)

I admit to having anxiety problems anyhow, and usually when I leave there I just feel like I'm failing my baby. When I'm at home with her, I don't worry about what she is and isn't doing, but after groups I feel panicked about these things and wondering what I'm doing wrong. I even came home once and gave her pureed veg because I was convinced I was somehow stunting her development with BLW (luckily she wasn't having any of it and I snapped out of it).

Not all groups are like that, right? Should I keep trying different groups until I find one I like better (we're on our fourth one at the moment)? Am I just being too sensitive?

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Velvetsteph
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Re: dealing with super competitive mums

Postby Velvetsteph » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:49 am

mamaellie wrote:Not all groups are like that, right? Should I keep trying different groups until I find one I like better (we're on our fourth one at the moment)? Am I just being too sensitive?

Yes and no...

I think as mums especially first time mums we are all very sensitive as the only guidance on whether our baby is developing normally is from talking to other mums - and it's nice to natter about the monkeyish things they get up to and share that your baby has now found her toes or whatever but it can of course be worrying when your baby isn't doing what ALL (haha) the other babies are doing...

Isabelle was 6wks prem and had reflux so her development was nothing like that of my friend's baby that was full term and formula fed from the 2nd or 3rd feed... She fed more often, cried MUCH more, slept worse, and developed MUCH much slower even when you adjusted for her prematurity and there are many things that Grace is doing that Isabelle never did...

All babies are different anyway preemie and other issues aside so it's wrong to compare them so precisely - they all develop different things at different rates for example Isabelle has always been great with her food but was slow to start with physical development whereas I have friends whose LOs the same age were just not interested in food (and still aren't great eaters) yet walking and crawling long long long before Isabelle was... So it kinda balances out in the end...

It's like the 'sleeping through' thing and that STUPID question people always ask you "is she good" well what the hell is that supposed to mean?! She's a baby she doesn't know any different!!! *sigh* sorry personal bugbear of mine ;)

So yes on the one hand don't worry about it and try and develop a thick skin and ignore it somewhat...
But OTOH do try and find a group with more like-minded parents but honestly unless you find an AP type group (like for me the sling meet mums are) then you're unlikely to find a group where the majority of the mums are BLW, BF and understand things like cloth nappies, EC, slings etc...

I gave up trying to find a normal baby grop a long time ago and just (try) and feel confident in trusting my own instincts and methods as a mother and smile a smug smile to myself (yes I know) at my infinately better behaved child (once she was older naturally) or cuddly smiley baby who is interested in the world...

The trouble is if you DON'T join in the stupid competitive conversations you can get shut out or shunted to one side... But when you do join in and say how proud you are that your child is eating NORMAL food like a normal person when they ask how weaning is going you often get looked at like a loonie!

So I have got used to being seen as a bit of a loony by mainstream parents and don't let it worry me anymore...
A lady in the doctors the other day told me I was BRAVE for breastfeeding! Not for feeding in public as it turns out but for doing it at all as she 'couldn't be doing with that - I've done my bit now'... :shock:

Well each to their own I guess...

And as for crawling walking etc babies all do it at different ages... Isabelle didn't walk until she was 18months and didn't really crawl or even bum shuffle at all... Which was frustrating but she doesn't sit still now and it doesn't matter when they do it as it all evens out in the end and afterall they're only babies for such a short time why would we want to speed them on their way to adulthood...

Sorry if I'm rambling on and on and on ;) (Grace is asleep for now so I've got the keyboard to myself!)

I guess parents are proud of how their babies develop and half the time they just want someone to tell but unfortunately that can turn into competitive parenting all too easily...

I don't go to baby groups anymore except the breastfeeding group, slingmeet and we've just started tiny-talk (not sure if we'll continue tho' as it's a bit rubbish) oh and occasionally the library because it's a friendly group and baby sing time so there isn't too much time to sit and natter comparing babies :giggle:

Perhaps try and find a more focused group like baby rhyme time where it isn't just a playgroup if that makes sense... You may find those better...

And just remember you are NOT failing your baby - take a look at her and se how happy she is and how she interacts with you and the world and take pleasure in what all your hard work has done...

There endeth my ramble ;) :giggle: :oops:

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melly
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Re: dealing with super competitive mums

Postby melly » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:07 am

what you describe is exactly why i stopped going to playgroups with my son. i found it frustrating and boring at the same time.
i joined activity based groups(tumble tots) after that and found there wasnt really time for the one-up-manship type conversations.
should it matter how long it takes to talk/walk/drink from a cup,etc?!....they all get there eventually :wink:

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dawnsmummy
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Re: dealing with super competitive mums

Postby dawnsmummy » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:15 am

my toddler group wasnt like that but i did feel excluded from the other mums. i was one of the only young single mums. the only other girl has been going for yrs so is part of the clique now. theyre not rude, but i dont feel as accepted. they all meet up outside of toddlers, but im never asked etc.
i should lend u the momzilla book i have :giggle:

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AnnetteandBen
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Re: dealing with super competitive mums

Postby AnnetteandBen » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:32 pm

I know some of where you are coming from as I have a child who doesn't really talk, especially given his age and his prem. But he gets his point accross, so I normally just say he doesn't talk and yes I have spoken to the speech and language thearpist and I am keeping an eye on him.

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emmalala
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Re: dealing with super competitive mums

Postby emmalala » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:36 pm

dawnsmummy wrote:my toddler group wasnt like that but i did feel excluded from the other mums. i was one of the only young single mums. the only other girl has been going for yrs so is part of the clique now. theyre not rude, but i dont feel as accepted. they all meet up outside of toddlers, but im never asked etc.
i should lend u the momzilla book i have :giggle:

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same here :-? specially so after they saw i was using cloth. no one said anything but no one was interested either. i went to a good group that was activity based and that was fun as there was'nt enough time to gossip.

and stacey, the momzilla book sounds funny! :giggle:

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Diner
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Re: dealing with super competitive mums

Postby Diner » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:44 pm

Wow! :hug: for all you gals who feel under so much pressure from other moms. I found that I only spent time with a few close friends and that definitely helped (by default rather than a specific decision). Even then there was a bit of competition but not too bad. To all of you: your babies seem to be healthy and very well developed for their ages! I had one child who did not sit until after well after 6 months, another who never said a word until 2 and now at 2y 4m he is speaking in sentences! Just remember, every baby is different and they all get there in the end. :hug:

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flutterby
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Re: dealing with super competitive mums

Postby flutterby » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:58 am

:hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: For you, I've never really felt any pressure, but just excluded, the mums n tots I go to (when SIL manages to persuade me :giggle: ) is very cliquey we've been going 3 years and only just feel comfortable there, it's mainly childminders so they don't do the competitive thing.

Your are a wonderful mum, doing a wonderful job for your little girl!!

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mamaellie
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Re: dealing with super competitive mums

Postby mamaellie » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:57 pm

Just wanted to say thanks and I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels a bit like I'm back in school at these things! As an update, we went to our first nappuccino yesterday and I nearly cried with happiness on the way home-- it was soooo much more relaxed and the mums seemed much more in line with my kind of parenting and thinking. Too bad it only meets once a month, but I'll definitely be going back!

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