My wife and I recently published a video for our YouTube channel for this blog, giving our reaction to Mayim Bialik’s story on People.com, called Mayim Bialik Reveals She “Left in Tears” After First Group Meeting with “Competitive Moms”.
Her story addresses the fact that Millennials live in a version of the world in which so many parents feel the need to compete with one another. This creates an environment in which those who are not “competing” often feel judged by those who are.
In our own video responding to the story, I explained that the real issue with parents who feel the need to compete with others in their parenting style and skills is this:
They are insecure in their identity not only as individuals, but as parents.
It goes back to junior high when I learned this from my mom; that the kids who were most likely to tease others were simply revealing that they were actually more insecure than the kids they were making fun of.
And now as adults, this same concept continues:
The most insecure parents have the biggest need to project an image of themselves as the “better” parents. And sure, social media helps encourage the competition.
“Mirror, mirror, on my Facebook wall, who’s the fairest parent of them all?”
People tend to seek confirmation when they communicate in social media. They are often seeking approval from their peers to confirm that they are cool, they are funny, they are beautiful, they are relevant, and/or they are good parents.
But what if you simply don’t that need confirmation and therefore, you have no reason to compete?
Insecure parents compete with other another, while slightly clueless yet confident parents ignore the competition all together.
In our video, my wife and I explain that none of us parents truly know what we’re doing. We can’t.
I explain that if you are competing with other parents, you are automatically losing that competition. The only way to “win” is not to play at all.
Instead, all we can do is the best we know how and hope it works out in the end. But as we “practice” parenting, the last thing we should worry about is some silly ongoing competition on the best way to parent.
I explain that while all of us are clueless to some degree, we can still show we are secure in our own identity as individuals and as parents by simply accepting that our own parenting methods are no better than others’, and therefore, we have no reason to seek confirmation or approval in a competition, or to judge other parents for making different decisions than us.
For example, my wife and I do not spank our children. We discipline them, but we have never physically struck them. That’s the culture in our household.
However, that doesn’t mean we have any interest in judging parents who do spank their children. After all, my wife and I are in the minority in this.
Similarly, we have no desire to judge other parents for what they let their children eat. Yes, I am a vegan and my wife and children are vegetarians. But that doesn’t mean we believe everyone should do as we do. We simply don’t care.
Let other people live their own lives. As for us, we’ll live our own. It’s that simple.
When you are focused on doing what is right for your own family, how can you have time to worry about whether other parents are doing it better or worse than you?
My wife and I definitely do not have it all figured out. We never will. We automatically disqualify ourselves from the competition.
You’re more than welcome to join us.