I have a confession to make. I’m a Competitive Mum.
I try not to be. I know it’s not healthy. But I think it’s the journalist in me, the one who has to be first to the story.
Anyway, I think Competitive Mum Syndrome is something a lot of us first time mums experience at one time or another. We want everyone to see we’re doing a good job, so when our baby does something new, our first impulse is to shout about it from the rooftops (and be secretly pleased they “beat” the other babies).
Except baby Frog never does “beat” the others. She’s always the last to do everything, bless her. At four months, all the other babies in our various baby classes were happily rolling over. Frog looked at them with something verging on pity, as if to say “why bother”. At five months, many of them were sitting unsupported. And now we’re at seven and a half months, some of them are making tentative attempts at crawling.
But not my baby girl. Oh no. She’s still trying to master the art of sitting. She’s almost got it. Almost. But not quite. She still needs a circle of cushions around her to protect against injury in those Face Planting moments.
The rational side of me knows she will do it “when she’s ready”. And that all babies develop at a different pace. But I want mine to develop faster! Why isn’t she reciting the alphabet back to me yet?! Why hasn’t she learnt how to play the piano yet?! WHAT’S WRONG WITH HER?!!!!
And then I look at her. And I realise how clever she actually is. She’s worked out how to suck her toes and shake her rattle at the same time. And that takes some doing.