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Competitive mum syndrome and 5 tips to beat it!

We all know what it is, and we often try not to do it or to get involved. Some of us even revel in it. But if you don’t and you are a natural born worrier, competitive mum syndrome can be a soul destroyer, and create developmental paranoia that ruins the joy of bringing up your little baby.

What to do then? Other than resorting to techniques that Frank Bruno would be proud of, which clearly won’t help anyone…

As a mum to two very different children, a boy who never stops moving, and a girl who never stops talking, I have encountered competitive mum syndrome, both in myself and in others.

So here are my top five things to remember so you can ignore it and overcome those feelings of inadequacy when faced with the inevitable: “My daughter was quoting Shakespeare in the womb.”

a mother with a son and a daughter playing soccer - 5 tips for beating competitive mum syndrome

We are all unique

We all know this, but for some reason we forget when it comes to child development. My daughter has brown hair, and walked at 12 months, and spoke in longer sentences at just over three. Little man is blonder, walked at 12 months too, but wasn’t talking well until over three. Why is development any different to any other qualities our children have, whether its hair colour, height, or how grumpy they get after a nap?

We all have particular talents

I can chat for England. So can my daughter. She spoke well a good year before my son. My son can run faster than her and is over 18 months younger. He’s physical it appears. She is cerebral. Sometimes a child will be focused on one area so that another is slower to develop. My own personal example show how this stark contrast is even in siblings.

We all get there in the end

The example above shows the difference in my children’s abilities, however they both speak clearly, walk well and run far too fast away from me. They both got it together when they were ready, and that’s something that we need to focus on. Everyone’s timing is different and that should be respected.

Competitiveness may mask insecurity

My experience tells me that the competitive parent may be projecting. Competitive parents can be worried and insecure about something and are trying to make up for it by reassuring themselves. Perhaps they actually need a listening ear about their child’s development rather than a competitive response; you never know until you try, eh?

It doesn’t really matter

Unless there is a real concern because development is severely delayed, it doesn’t really matter. If you do have a concern, do talk to a health visitor though. That’s what they are there for, and they are best placed to explain what your child should really be able to achieve at their age.

Simple but effective I assure you.

2 women/mums playing tennis KiddyCharts

However, if all else fails, just give your baby a cuddle and you’ll soon realise that they are wonderful the way they are anyway.

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Note: this article first appeared on the Yahoo Contribution Network, authored by Helen Neale. It has been reproduced by permission of the site, where it is no longer available.


Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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