Theories for Everything
by Karla ° Tuesday, April 3, 2007
I have very mixed feelings about going to my mommy group outings. And it’s not because I don’t like the other woman there, or because I don’t like the sound of babies crying, or because there’s no free booze. The truth is, I don't like sitting around talking about developmental milestones because it all feels so competitive. Yesterday was all about who is sleeping through the night and who is rolling over and who got their first tooth and who is solving quadratic equations and who is writing a thesis to solve the Theory of Everything.

Personally, I’m still stick stuck on whether the chicken or the egg came first and right now my baby just really likes to pull my hair and flash his big toothless smile, but I am considering asking him if he wants to help me teach an aardvark to sing.

And it’s hard not to notice undertones of defensiveness when discussions circle around breastfeeding, starting solids, pacifier use, whether or not to spray your kid with insect repellant or where the best hole is to take a temperature.

I have learned a few things I suppose, like the importance of sunglasses to protect your baby’s eyeballs from the cornea burning inferno that is the sun. But do you know how hard it was to find a pair to fit his tiny head?

And did you know that the digital ear thermometers sold at the baby store, the ones with the big picture of a baby on the box - the same kind that my doctor uses – aren’t actually recommend for babies?

Apparently, I am a giant pushover for marketing strategies that involve placing pictures of babies on boxes.

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Digital thermometres that the doctors and nurses use are suddenly "not appropriate" according to a group of new mums. Do what you want to do and what makes your life easier. But that group doesn't sound very healthy. I met my closest friends at the local tot lot/kid park. And going out for a drink sans enfants can help break the deadly cycle of "my child can do this..." jonesing.
Posted by Blogger Mama T :  April 03, 2007

What is the sound you make when you kind of do a "hmph!" through your nose with a nod of your head?

Cuz that is what I just did when I read your post.

Get used to it girlfriend... you have JUST ENTERED the "competitive sport of parenting" and honey it DOES NOT END! Omg. Which baby rolls over first, smiles first, sits up first, says their first word. Is the cutest, the smartest, the fastest.

It truly does not end because it will only continue and sometimes get worse as the children get involve in school and sports. LOL.

You've entered a new world my dear, and no, you can't find the door to leave. LOL.
Posted by Blogger aka_Meritt :  April 03, 2007

Now that we have few kids, we get very invested in them. Most of these sound like first-time mothers. Even by the second kid, you don't tend to give a toss about whether they walk at 6 or 16 months, or whatever. Enjoy your child in the moment.
Posted by Blogger Anvilcloud :  April 03, 2007

I run into the same thing at times w/ my mom club. Been a member a almost a year. Usually, when someone starts I either walk away or just try to steer the conversation somewhere else. It is pretty much unavoidable, but I found that just being honest and saying "I would rather talk about something else" does the trick b/c there is usually someone like me who agrees. But, sometimes people get offended. Seriously, talking about developmental milestones is soooo boring. Good luck.
Posted by Blogger Day :  April 03, 2007

No, no, no. I have experienced the competitiveness, too, but honestly? I really feel like the mommy groups and get-togethers can be a great way to make new friends. These events are only as "catty" as you allow them to become. If you don't care about competitivness (am I spelling that right?) and let comments roll off your back, it will catch on. You can either be a part of the problem, or you can be a part of the solution. It's harder, but more rewarding, to play nice.
Posted by Blogger Jules :  April 03, 2007

Oh, and digital thermometers rock.
Posted by Blogger Jules :  April 03, 2007

At this age, using a rectal thermometer should be no problem. I thought it would be horrid, but it was fine.

And yes, there are some parents, and I say parents because there is a dad we know who is constantly comparing our sons, are competitive. For some though, the whole process is interesting, but if you are getting a "race" vibe then these are probably just obsessed mothers.

And I agree, it doesn't get much better!
Posted by Blogger Gina :  April 03, 2007

Yeah, other mommies can suck sometimes. I have actually encountered this in the blogosphere too. I have stopped reading certain blogs because they made me feel like my baby was developmentally slow, and that the cracker I fed her was basically poision.

I try to think about things in the long run. When our children are 5 years old, no one will care who rolled over first or who walked first. They will all just be cute kids, getting ready for kindergarten.
Posted by Blogger Christy :  April 03, 2007

I have run into the same feelings with my mom's group. At least now we've dwindled down to 6 (originally 12) and we seem to be the most like minded, middle of the road out of the original group. It also helps that with the exception of one "advanced" little girl, the group is made up of a bunch of "average" boys so the there is not too much competition is kept to a minimum. That said there are still the heated discussions about when to start new things etc. but I've learned to just let things go. We are doing things on our own time and although it is nice to hear suggestions from others, in the end I get to make the decisions about what is right for my child. In the end who rolls, crawls, walks and talks first will not determine how bright these kids will be in the future.
Posted by Anonymous andrea :  April 03, 2007

Like you I have just entered the "mommy zone" and I am feeling this too. I hate the competition. I don't belong to a mommies group but my daughter is in daycare and I see some of the other new moms seeing how well my daughter can hold up her head, and then they ask me how old she is. I hate it.

As for the all the way. If I get a high reading on the digital in the ear I will decide if a rectal is needed. Plus, I got one of those digital rectal thermometer that only allows you to put it in a safe distance.
Posted by Blogger Heather :  April 03, 2007

I found the best thermometer is your lips against the forhead, when the fever is too high you will know. And a fever is a good thing anyway, it means your child is fighting whatever they have.

Nothing is safe, therefore use what you feel comfortable with.

I don't go tot organized mommy groups, I find a few friends and hang out one on one, the ids get company and the moms do to and ther is no one uping.

Hang in there. Remember you are the best mom for Nate!!
Posted by Blogger Donna :  April 03, 2007

I love my mom's club and it is totally not the competitive kind. But I have been in other groups of moms and dads who are. Don;t waste your time with them if they are bringing you down. Nate is the best Nate he can be, and you are the best Nate's mom you can be.
Posted by Blogger Bunny :  April 03, 2007

My sister and I had our first grandchildren exactly 1 wk apart. Her daughter had a son, my son had a daughter. My great nephew is your typical rambunctious little fella. My granddaughter is your typical little girl, although she is extremely verbal, she engages you in conversation on a 3 or 4 yr old level. My gr. nep.talks but you can understand maybe a third of what he is saying...which I think is fairly typical. My sister is always making comparisons. It drives me nuts. She did the same between our children. I'm actually glad we live an hour apart so I don't have to deal with it more frequently.

I wish parents didn't get caught up in the competition parenting but I've only seen it gets worse over the years rather than better. Trying to have the smartest, the most talented, the most athletic you name it. It's sad because the kids certainly don't benefit from that type of behavior on their parents part.

Enjoy your boy...don't engage in one upmanship and if you're uncomfortable around others who have fallen into that trap...tell them. You can find a way to do so gently. If not...I've found I don't care for competition parenting is pretty effective (except with my sister *sigh*)

Digital thermometers are fine. And none of my kids ever wore a pair of sunglasses until they were teens and none of them have eye problems. I swear some of the stuff I hear these days cracks me up. :)
Posted by Blogger Poppy :  April 03, 2007

You do make me laugh with your blog posts. I am a mommy to 4 and I have come to realize whats good today may not be good for your child tomorrow. You do what you feel is right for your child and everything should go just fine.It seems to me you are doing a wonderful job with your handsome little man.
Posted by Anonymous Karen :  April 03, 2007

I've heard about these mom gatherings and they make me a bit sick. I highly doubt my wife will attend them for the exact same reasons you stated. I grew up in a competitive family and would prefer not to have our child raised in one.
Posted by Blogger egan :  April 03, 2007

I think it's so easy for moms to get sucked into that sort of thing because when you have your first baby your entire life suddenly changes. It's easy to become obsessed. As a moms group, the one thing you have in common is your babies, so naturally that's where the conversation goes. I made a few good friends in moms type groups, and then split from the group to form a regular friendship. My friend Deborah and I liked to joke that we used "letting the kids play" as an excuse for us to play. We just lucked out when the kids liked each other too.
Posted by Blogger Julia :  April 03, 2007

I about snorted my oj out my nose as I was reading your post...hilarious! I know exactly what you mean, at mommy group, and even with other family members. My sister in law was the worst.
Me- Thing One just rolled over the other day!
SIL- Really? my daughter did that at 2 months!
Me- Oh...
SIL- ..and she spoke at 3 months and we bought her her first cell phone at 4 months which she regularly calls me on now at 5 months old...she is just so smart!

HEHEHEHEHE...I constantly want to punch her lights out. Here's to the one upping of mommies!

Posted by Blogger Kris :  April 04, 2007

I agree about the mommy group thing, and I found that the best way to combat it is to use your humor. Once other moms know you have no desire or plans to compete with their Einsteins, they usually relax.

Case in point: I was always uncomfortable with this one particular group that Sam (my first son) and I were a part of. Honestly, he didn't talk for a long time, and though he was on time for his gross motor stuff, he wasn't jumping hurdles at two. Well, after the 876th comparison in the first six minutes of the 'play'date, I finally said, "Seriously, ladies, you have never seen a man who can so accurately piss through the lattice on a deck rail as my Sam can. His aim is dead on." Stunned silence, and then some nervous laughs. I think I still kind of queeb out a few of the tight laced sweeties, but the comparisons with MY son stopped at least.

Anyway - as difficult as it is, try to blow them off with your humor; you shouldn't have any trouble. :)
Posted by Blogger B :  April 04, 2007

Too funny!

Digital thermometers are bad now? Shit, add that to the list of "1326 Other Ways I Will Screw Up My Kids".

Though I have never had children, and therefore don’t’ feel qualified to comment on some of these posts, let me say that I agree fully with B. I have a friend who calls me the conversation killer, because I can stop a heated discussion with a single comment. You have a good start already in this post, but the more outrageous Addam’s family the comment, the better chance you’ll have of enduring silence.

B’s Sam might have the record for accuracy, but maybe you could talk about Nate’s distance? Just a thought.
Posted by Blogger methatiam :  April 04, 2007

Amen, to all of this! Thank you for giving me another reminder of why I no longer attend to organized mom's groups. Our local Mom's Club was evil. Pure evil!

Have I tried to tune the competitive ones out? Sure. Not so easy to do though, when you are sleep-deprived, depressed and generally not feeling your best.

Professionally, I've seen these types sit across the table from me at parent-teacher conferences. Somewhere in their list of questions for me is "How does Johnny compare to the other kids in the class?" I wouldn't answer even if this were acceptable in my position. I just want to throttle them and say "You're joking, right? This is third grade for God's sake!"

I never fit into any kind of mommy groups. I guess it's a complicated thing - relationships between moms. We can be each other's best supports and worst nightmares, and alot of it stems from our own insecurities and need to outdo each other. It sounds like this group isn't entirely of the healthy variety.

Even after eleven years of parenting, I still have major doubts if I'm doing things right. Join the club. Perhaps we should start our own mommy club, strictly for mommies honest enough to admit they don't have a clue what they're doing and whether their kids will turn out alright.
Posted by Blogger Heather :  April 04, 2007

I felt the same way with my hospital based mom group. Eventually, I became closer to a few moms and we branched off and started our own playgroup. Now we (the moms) are actually friends and we don't have that competitive vibe like before. I think that happens because at first you just have nothing else to talk about. As you get to know the other moms and maybe become actual friends with some, it will get better. Also, try The Children's Place for small sunglasses.
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous :  April 06, 2007


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