The Parent Competitions

Hello, my name is A, and according to the internet, I’m doing this parenting thing all wrong.  I thought the mommy wars ended once your kids got older.  My mistake.

It starts when you’re pregnant, you see.  It’s a competition to see who can have the best pregnancy.  If you had a caffeinated drink, or you gave in to that craving for candy, or you gained more than 20 pounds, you lost.  Then comes the birth.  That line about a healthy baby being all that’s important?  It’s a lie.  What REALLY matters is whether you were induced, requested drugs, or used a midwife instead of an OB.

Next up, the baby and toddler competitions.  Did you breastfeed or use formula?  When did your baby sleep all night long (in my case with one kid, never!)?  When did they start walking and talking?  Play well with others?  If you used the dreaded TV as an occasional babysitter, forget about your kid making it into Harvard.

It seemed to ease up once you reach the school-age years.  But no, then it was about whose kid started reading first, and which kids could do algebra in 4th grade.  And let’s not forget sports.  I saw a story this morning about a 9 year old who’s been offered a college football scholarship.  He’s 9!  Extra-curriculars are mandatory.  The more, the better.  If your kid doesn’t have every day of the week scheduled, you’re missing out on opportunities for him/her.  Note that I said *you’re missing out on opportunities.  Not necessarily the kid.

And then we hit the high school years and graduation, then on to college.  You’ve obviously failed if your kid isn’t going to a 4-year school, preferably one that’s at least a few hours away.  I’ve been enlightened on a number of things recently.  College-age kids must have driver’s licenses, even if they don’t actually drive anywhere.  Apparently, it’s needed for lots of things?  I wanted to ask WHAT things, but didn’t.

Kids are sending resumes with their college applications.  Why, exactly?  And when kids graduate high school, they’re doing things wrong if they only send a thank you card, without a handwritten note.  Personally, I’m pleasantly surprised to receive ANY thank you card.  You’re not supposed to expect your adult child to check in occasionally.  It’s okay to use a messaging and locator app like Life 360 for your entire family, including your very adult spouse, but asking your kid to text you once a day is extreme.  I dunno, I couldn’t figure that one out, either.

It’s enough to give a parent a complex.  Or enough to make a parent realize, Hey, I’ve got two pretty cool kids who are growing up.  They’ll get there.

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