Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sharing Or Comparing?

When should a mum NOT feel proud of her child? When should she keep her mouth closed and not share her childs achievements, for fear of offending other mothers? Is it all in the way we say things, and not so much in what we're actually saying? And should i feel that horrible " mothers guilt " not for the way i parent my child, but the way my childs development makes other mothers feel?

These are all hypotheticals of course - i dont think i've actually said or done anything thats made another mum feel horrible ( at least, not intentionally ). I only ask because i wanted to leave a comment on another blog this morning, but i hesitated before my fingers hit the keyboard. See, this post was in regards to a beauitiful little childs development, all the things they were learning and milestones they had hit and, as another mum, i wanted say " job well done! " and share my experiences. After all, isnt that how conversation starts?

Learning to stop and say " cheese " when he sees a camera. Yep - i'm so proud! ( Even if it is when he's totally naked, running around Poppys backyard ... )

But then i paused - if i mentioned how Flynn was doing, was that me trying to compare our children? Would this other mum take that as me saying " Anything you can do, i can do better ". But then i though i wouldnt feel this way, i wouldnt hesitate, if i was saying " good job - Flynn isnt up to that yet ". No, i was only feeling that mother guilt because, in comparison, Flynn is a little further along the developmental path in one particular area than the other child.

So - should i feel bad that i left that comment? Should i only be proud of my son when his success isnt quite as good as someone else's, so i cant be accused of gloating ? ( Not that anyone has accused me of that, this all in my head thus far... ). Or should we just keep our traps shut when our children do something well, and only mention what we think will make others feel good? And how do we navigate the mothering landscape, learning and sharing and developing, without doing our bloody heads in worrying about what other mums are thinking of us?


  1. I would like to tell you otherwise, but the answer is, we keep our mouths shut.

    Because no matter how nicely you try to say something you will just sound like you are saying "my child is better than yours."

  2. In all honesty, I don't keep my mouth shut. I am immensely proud in leaps and bounds of my children, farther along, stalled or right on schedule. I don't want to feel like I need to hold back, and I don't.

  3. As you know... I'm not a mother.

    But I WILL say this.

    As a small child I was a late developer. I started walking later than most, talking later than most. My reading wasn't great for ages. Now I'm probably more intelligent (in my opinion) than my peers who DID pick all that shit up quicker.

    I don't think you can make others feel bad if you're proud of your kid being faster at picking things up. it ain't a competition, it's you having pride in your kid. Nothing wrong with that. :-)

  4. Interesting post.

    Our boys {well my older one and Flynn} are a similar age and I maybe wrong here but you could even be referring to something I posted but even if that is not the case here is my 2 cents.

    I think it is fine to say "Well done, your child does this so well.....Mine isn`t doing that yet but his gross motor/fine motor/language development or something is coming along well" - maybe not go into so many details but still comment. I mean as long as you are not saying. That way you open it up for conversation but don`t push it too much? I think if you have keep it relatively positive then where is the problem?

    Comparisons are always going to happen. I mean I know I shouldn`t but I compare the development of my two boys...not necessarily in a negative light and as they get older I will definitely have to be more careful about this but I think comparing is always going to happen. I mean in my case when they go to school they will be compared against full-Japanese kids- ie if one of them is struggling with writing I know they will get "Oh it is because their mum is not Japanese" even though they might have a full Japanese child next to them having the same struggles.

    Sorry bit of a tangent there.

    Kids develop at different rates and as mothers there is always going to be something that we are worrying about. If Flynn is ahead or advanced in something you should be proud though!

    I like what the poster said above about there is nothing wrong with having pride in your kid. There isn`t!! You should be proud of yourself and Flynn, no matter what!

  5. I never know how to deal with this situation, I guess with mums i know well Im happy to brag but mum's I don't know so well, Im cautious. At the end of the day, it is ok to be proud of your children and you shouldn't have to feel bad about that.