|Image from here|
Since I found out I was pregnant with Essie, I’ve been aware of the ridiculous phenomenon of competitive parenting. I thought it might just be a US thing, but a recent conversation with some moms here in Spain revealed that not to be the case.
As with most areas of life, there are so many options. Breastfeeding or not (and how long); daycare, nannies, stay-at-home parenting; aspirin yay-or-nay, vaccines, ditto; screen time- what and how long; plastic vs wooden toys; what kind of diapers, what kind of food, where your kids sleep and how long…. The list goes on and on and on. And for every choice, there is a team of experts to support why one way is better than the others.
I feel fortunate that for the most part, my actual exposure to competitive parenting has been fairly limited, and I try my best to keep it that way. When I do come across a mom who wants to engage in parenting competitiveness, I remind myself that her judgments reflect on her insecurities, not my parenting.
I am so lucky to have so many amazing friendships with parents who are interested in sharing their experiences, fears, weaknesses, and of course, joys. I have been so lucky to find many friends that haven’t fallen into the competitive parenting trap. Oftentimes, the only thing we would appear have in common is a shared concern for our children. Given the diversity of our backgrounds and experiences, even what we want for our children isn’t necessarily the same thing. Nevertheless, we listen, and we share- sympathy, advice, hope, experience- whatever we can in the particular circumstances. And that’s enough. I seek friendships that are based on respect. Respect for our differences, respect for our perspectives, respect for our individual experiences.
That’s why I’m so grateful for the LP parents I’m getting to know. I have found no judgment or competition, just support, love, and acceptance for our family. Competitive parenting may be thriving in some circles, but I’ll keep it out of mine.