I get it—all moms seem to have this desire to share with everyone how great their child is. What I have a problem with are the mothers that find it necessary to tell me that their child is in some way better than mine. If you’ve not yet experienced this, you’re lucky.
Flashback to my son’s first swimming lesson. This is at a point in my son’s life where we have yet to discover that he has a high amount of anxiety about, well, almost everything. He was around three-years-old. Standing in that extremely hot and humid pool side viewing area, I am beyond thrilled to watch my son embark on this milestone. We’ve been to this pool swimming dozens of times and he loves it.
“Aqua Turtles,” yells the instructor.
I look over and my son is biting his hands, something he has never done before. I walk him over to the class, and he starts crying. I encourage him to get in the pool with the class, so he walks down the ramp into the shallow pool. He then has a complete meltdown. The class carries on without him going to the other end, leaving him alone in the pool with no life jacket. So here I am, kneeling at the side of the pool, sweating my ass off, with my butt hanging out the back of my jeans for all the other moms to see, demanding that he gets out of the pool. I can feel everyone’s eyes on me. Now he is hysterical. No one helps. No lifeguard comes. I can’t leave the side of the pool and have no one watching him. I’m now begging him to get out, threatening him, doing everything I can. I am totally unequipped to handle this first time anxiety attack. Eventually a lifeguard comes over and gets him out of the pool.
My son is now screaming hysterically to the point where he is gagging. I am trying to get him dried off and settle him down, when this other mother comes up and starts talking to me. I’m thinking she must be coming over to help.
“Does he do this all the time?” she asks.
“No. He loves swimming,” I reply.
“I was so worried my son was going to be nervous, but he is doing so well,” she states.
Are you kidding me right now? My son is now hugging my leg for dear life begging me never to bring him back again. The mother continues to talk to me:
“Oh, there he is right there, see, in the green swim trunks. He is doing so good, look he just put his head in the water. I’m so proud of him.”
Seriously? Are you really that dense that you can't see that this is not helping at all? I’m not sure if she was just plain stupid, or just wanted to make sure I knew that I was obviously a terrible mother. I got my son dressed and headed home.
Here is the moral of the story: If your child is doing wonderful at anything, take that as a gift. You do not need to tell another mom who is struggling how great your child is. You know what I needed? Help. I needed another mother to go and get a lifeguard, or just ask me how they could help. I needed another mom to tell me that I did a good job and to commend me for my patience. So next time you see another mom is distress at the swimming pool, please do me a favour, don’t stare or point. Try to be helpful or supportive in some way. And please, do not tell another mom how much better your child is than there’s. Instead, put your judgement aside and tell another mother that she is a great mom.