Compete on Repeat
by Elizabeth Morse | 04 November 2020
I am a competitive person. But I’m very “polite” about it, so most people can’t tell that I’ve got a winner’s drive. Suppose it’s because I am aware of my need to be in the lead, therefore I try doubly hard to suppress that side of my personality. Here’s an example. I can do a headstand. (See how I weaved my hidden talent into this post? Ha ha.) So when I see someone trying to do a headstand, I have to tell myself, “don’t you dare take this poor person’s moment away from them. It’s not about you.” Sounds a little harsh? Perhaps. But the old me would have jumped right in there and been a pain-in-the-butt show off. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. I’m one of those people! We are the kind of people who, as hard as we may try, we just can’t help themselves sometimes. We hear a story about something, and we just have to interject — we often end up interrupting the poor guy without being aware of it — with a story of our own. And if it’s a more impressive story, even better! Sounds terrible, right? It’s cause it is! It’s absolutely childish.
What’s so addictive about being the best? The attention. At least that’s what I’ve identified as the fuel behind my competitive nature. It wasn’t until I got married that I became a lot more aware this ugly tendency of mine. My husband, God bless him, painfully points it out, time and time again, whenever he notices that side of me come peak through. I truly am a better person because of him. Side note: try your best to listen to your spouse’s pet peeves about you because they are probably on to something.
I’ve recently become a mom for the first time. As many of you probably already know from experience, talking about baby milestones can easily bring out the competitiveness in us all. These conversations about our babies always start off so innocently: we are genuinely asking our friends about how they are doing. However, it doesn’t take long before we pop questions like, “Is Rhonda sleeping through the night yet?” and, “Is it too soon for Tommy to start standing?” Is it wrong to want to brag on our amazing kids? Most of us can’t help ourselves, really. We can’t hide the pride! We are their parents, and they are our babies; and to us no achievement is too small. But if we are completely honest, it feels good (in a selfish sort of way) when your baby is further along than someone else’s. Which is very odd, if you think about it, because a lot of baby’s milestones have very little to do with Mom and Dad. Did you coax that tooth to pop out early? Nope. Do you need to point out that your baby already has two teeth when you can clearly see that little Bobby is still rocking a gummy smile? Probably not.
Again, I understand that none of us mean to be mean. Maybe, all we are trying to do is look for that extra pat on the shoulder of validation that reminds us that we are doing something right. Because, let’s face it, when it comes to being parents, we are all doing the very best we can. So here’s a pat from my mama heart to yours: I see the love, dedication and sacrifice you give, and the world is a better place because of you. Just keep in mind: Dad is doing his best, Mom is doing her best, and Bubs is doing his and her best — at the end of the day, it’s team work that makes the dream work.