Your son is better than mine … I get it

I get it, all moms seem to have this desire to share with everyone how great their child is. What I have a problem with are the mothers that find it necessary to tell me that their child is in some way better than mine. If you’ve not yet experienced this, you’re lucky.

Flashback to my son’s first swimming lesson. This is at a point in my son’s life where we have yet to discover that he has a high amount of anxiety about…well, almost everything. He’s probably around three years old. Standing in that extremely hot and humid pool side viewing area, I am beyond thrilled to watch my son embark on this milestone. We’ve been to this pool swimming dozens of times and he loves it.

“Aqua Turtles”, yells the instructor.

I look over and my son is biting his hands, something he has never done before. I walk him over to the class. He starts crying. I encourage him to get in the pool with the class, so he walks down the ramp into the shallow pool. He then has a complete meltdown. The class carries on without him going to the other end, leaving him alone in the pool with no life jacket. So here I am, kneeling at the side of the pool, sweating my ass off, with my butt hanging out the back of my jeans for all the other moms to see, demanding that he gets out of the pool. I can feel everyone’s eyes on me. Now he is hysterical. No one helps. No lifeguard comes. I can’t leave the side of the pool and have no one watching him. I’m now begging him to get out, threatening him, doing everything I can. I am totally unequipped to handle this first time anxiety attack. Eventually a lifeguard comes over and gets him out of the pool.

My son is now screaming hysterically to the point he is gagging. I am trying to get him dried off and settle him down, when this other mother comes up and starts talking to me. I’m thinking she must be coming over to help.

“Does he do this all the time?” she asks.

“No. He loves swimming,” I reply.

“I was so worried my son was going to be nervous, but he is doing so well,” she states.

Are you kidding me right now? My son is now hugging my leg for dear life begging me never to bring him back again. The mother continues to talk to me ,

“Oh, there he is right there, see, in the green swim trunks. He is doing so good, look he just put his head in the water. I’m so proud of him.”

Seriously? Are you really that dense to see that this is not helping at all. I’m not sure if she was just plain stupid, or just wanted to make sure I knew that I was obviously a terrible mother. I got my son dressed and headed home.

Here is the moral of the story. If your child is doing wonderful at anything, take that as a gift. You do not need to tell another mom who is struggling how great your child is. You know what I needed… help. I needed another mother to go and get a lifeguard, or just ask me how they could help. I needed another mom to tell me that I did a good job and to commend me for my patience. So next time you see another mom is distress at the swimming pool, please do me a favour, don’t stare or point. Try to be helpful or supportive in some way. And please, do not tell another mom how much better your child is than there’s. Instead, put your judgement aside and tell another mother that she is a great mom.


Your son is better than mine … I get it — 20 Comments

  1. Very well stated. Someone should have helped you for sure. Regardless, I bet you’re proud that he got in the water and tried even though he didn’t want to 🙂 Hopefully, he will be better adjusted next week. If not, there really is no rush nor shame in waiting a few more years before lessons.

    FYI – My middle son did not pick up swimming until he was in Kindergarten. In fact, he was not much for getting in the water at all before then. He was fine dipping his bucket at the steps, but would not go in the water, so I used to pick him up and just walk him in the water with me, so that I could cool him off. People used to give me the “evil eye” because he screamed liked crazy when I did 🙁 Meanwhile, I had another child that loved to swim, so we all needed to be at the pool. Never a suggestion of how I could do it better; just looks and talking.

    Anyways, I found your blog from Blog Moms on Google+. It is a pleasure to meet you through your blog.

    • So proud indeed that he tried. Each day he grows out of his anxiety and into such a confident little boy, but it is a process. This ‘swimming’ event actually happened a while ago, but I too have received many ‘evil eyes’ since then as well. At the pool, the store, the dentist. Many public places. A simple kind word would have made all the difference for me. Thanks for your comments.

  2. My oldest daughter has high anxiety over everything, too – she has literally thrown up at the SUGGESTION of trying a new food. She’s like that with most new things. I love this post, though – the message it sends. Mothers need to lift each other UP, not bring each other down!

    • Thanks for your comments. I so wish someone else had shared an experience or offered some helpful advise through all my son’s anxiety. He is slowly growing out of it, but it has been a long road with lots of patience required. Can’t wait to post more, and offer helpful tips that may help other moms.

    • Indeed, we need to lift each other UP. I love hearing from other moms that have experienced the stress of having a child with anxiety. It makes me feel like I’m not the only one. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Just discovered this blog, and this is SO true. My children are raised now (26 and 21; well the 21-year-old is almost raised….), but when they were young I struggled so with the mompetition. I truly felt that I was the only one in my social group with parenting challenges. Every sports event, every concert, every parent gathering you could name, all I heard was that everyone’s kids were better than mine. No one seemed to be raising regular, ordinary kids, and as a young mom I found this so frustrating. Still do sometimes, looking back…..

    • I love the phrase ‘mompetition’. It’s so hard as a mother to not fall into this terrible habit of competing with other moms when it seems to be such a common occurrence. Wouldn’t it be so great if we could all support instead of compete??

  4. i loathe the competition! it started as early as when we get pregnant. those holier than thou mothers’ comments and then of course your birth choice (c-sect vs natural birth) le sigh.

    hello anyways! i am loving your blog. stalking you now. eheh

    • Thanks for the comments. I love the mention about birth choice. I received so much criticism when I opted for a c-section with my second child. Hope to hear more from you.

  5. I think some people are just oblivious to the world around them. She likely just cares about herself and anything that will boost their ego. I’m not so sure that she even noticed that your issue. She was lost in her own self-centered world.
    It’s really unfortunate that we’ve so self-absorbed we can’t help each other out like we should.
    It takes a village to raise a child, they say. Where the hell is that village?

    • Thanks again for the great post…gave me inspiration for my first ‘quote of the day’ post!

    • I seriously start my day out now reminding myself to put judgement aside and simply try to help each other out, even if its just a kind word or smile.

  6. Just found you through bloggy moms. And I love your whole “tell another mom..” philososphy. This morning I took my two youngest kids to the library and had to listen to two other mums reading at the top of their lungs to their kids in what can only be described as Battle of the Mums. Seriously it was like they were trying to out-read each other. And all I could think was how when I was a kid the librarian would come over and threaten to kick you out if you talked above a whisper. So I totally know what you mean about the mummy competition.

    • Battle of the Moms…ha! That’s so true. The mommy competition seriously doesn’t help anyone. Not ourselves or our children. Love that so many people can relate.

    • So true. I’m interested to see the response when I write this week about how jealous moms can be of one another. THanks for the comment!

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