A few weeks ago I bumped into the mum of one of No 1 Son’s friends (we’ll call him Jimmy).
‘How is the revision going?’ she asked me.
‘I’m not sure he’s doing enough work,’ I told her frankly, hoping for a bit of support.
‘Oh Jimmy is doing LOADS of work,’ she replied. (Which is odd, because No 1 Son told me Jimmy was on Facebook an awful lot.)
Yesterday I bumped into her again.
‘Have you had prom yet?’ she asked. ‘Yes, but I haven’t seen any photos,’ I replied, rolling my eyes.
‘Oh I’ve seen LOADS of photos,’ she said. ‘And Jimmy has had TWO proms.’
There are some mums who will never tire of telling you how brilliant and perfect their kids are. If your child does well in a sports competition, theirs will have won a cup. If yours is rude, theirs is the Golden Child. It starts when your children are small; their offspring reaches ALL their milestones before yours – they sleep through the night, use a potty, crawl, walk and talk. And they can’t wait to tell you about it, usually after asking an apparently innocent question which leads you straight into their trap. It continues through primary and secondary school and continues even when their kids are fully grown adults (my mum has several friends who are constantly boasting about their brilliant children.) Every time they tell you about how marvellous their child is, there’s an implied challenge to you to raise the stakes. They have what I call Competitive Mum Syndrome.
I’m very proud of No 1 Son, but I’ve never felt the need to show off to other parents about his achievements. I’ve always been mindful that all children develop at different rates. I’ve never compared him to other kids, because I only really care about him, and how he’s doing.
And the truth is, I’m not really interested in how brilliant Jimmy is. I refuse to play the Competitive Mum game.