The Olympic Sport That is Competitive Parenting

It begins innocently enough. Baby is born, other baby-mummy friends are made and the chat on ‘how your little darlings are developing’ is established.

Seems easy, right? Wrong. This moment is where your conversation can go 1 of 2 directions.

A: Continue to chat about said milestones and seek and/or give advice accordingly…in short, enjoy happy, healthy talk about your growing kids.

B: Begin the competitively loaded comments, constant ‘one-upping’ and endless comparisons along with negative comments and sugar coated put downs.

In short, If you’re having a B moment, you’ve just met the parent who is apparently competing for an Olympic Gold medal in parenting. An event that doesn’t exist, except in the mind of the competitors. Bad news mumma, you’re now in a race you didn’t even want to run in…

Truth? It might get nasty folks. Feelings are going to get hurt and friendships might be broken in the Olympians quest to rise to gold medal status. Here’s five of the Olympian parents’ favourite starter topics. You have been warned.


“We went private to have our kids. We want “the best” for our children…”

Did I just spit my coffee out in shock?! We ALL want the best for our children. Hence begins part of an age-old debate: Public V Private Hospitals. I’m no professional but from what I’ve heard it all comes down to personal preference and sometimes money. A woman gives birth either vaginally or via C-section – whether that’s in a public hospital or a private suite is irrelevant. Baby delivered safely? That’s what counts.


I was only in labour for 4 hrs and I didn’t even need any pain relief!” or “I had a really long, really difficult labour followed by a really complex C-section. The baby was really breech! I was in so much pain, the doctor said it was the really the WORST BIRTH EVER!”

Hmmmm. Is the idea to have the ‘best’ labour or the ‘worst’ here? Who’s the winner? It seems either is fine for the Olympian mother, as long as her experience was bigger / better / quicker / more dramatic / easier than yours. Either way, I’m not interested in playing. Birth is a very private race.


“My son was walking before his first birthday- he’s just so clever”

So, let me get this straight…if my kid is still crawling at 14 months he’s stupid? Ouch! Get a grip. Putting one foot in front of the other is a big deal, not only for the child, but for the parent. But don’t be an idiot and roll your eyes if my kid isn’t walking yet. It’s not a competition… Ooops I forgot, to you it is.


“My child has been talking since they were 10months…she’s SO advanced for her age”

*Sigh* Let’s break it down. Some kids talk sooner than others. It all depends on the child, their environment and a zillion other developmental factors. As long as you’re following the national guidelines in terms of speech, you’re on a positive path. If your child can recite William Shakespeare at 18 months old does that make them a genius? Debatable. As a non-Olympian parent, that sounds a bit wanky to me. And really, really annoying.


“My child was using the toilet long before they turned 2!”

What can I say? Your toilet training medal is in the post? Would you like a letter from the Queen to congratulate you on your achievement? Will the public affirmation on Facebook be enough? Seriously…does it really matter if your kid was 18 months or nearly 4 years old when they started crapping in the loo? Each kid is different and moves at their own pace, right? Oh, I forgot, the competition rules state your kid must be the first.

So, that’s the five starter topics for Olympic parenting. There’s thousands of them and if you’re a relatively normal mum you’ll experience most of them at some point.

Reality? Parents who constantly compare kids’ achievements and milestones want to ‘win’ at all costs. It’s actually lame. Healthy, happy kids? That’s where the sweet spot is at.  So, what do you do about it? Ignore them. Distance yourself. Or, if you’ve got it in you, just tell them to shut the hell up. It’s your choice…just don’t let them ‘win’. They’ll really hate that.

Avatar of Fiona Edwards

An expat, mum of one with a thirst for knowledge; Fiona writes honestly & openly and likes to ask questions! She's no stranger to travelling with a toddler, is obsessed with pineapples and has a life long hobby of trying to keep fit!

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