Competitive Moms

Competitive Moms (click to read on Dawn)

(This is an article I wrote for Dawn Newspaper’s Sunday Images. It is dedicated to women with competitive friends. )

Have you ever enjoyed lunch with an old college friend who you haven’t seen for a couple of years? Isn’t it great to reminisce about all the great adventures you had together, the long hours of studying and pigging out on junk food, the tension of exams, the anxious waiting for results, and sharing each others’ victories? Then exchanging the latest changes and developments that have occurred over the years… sigh!

This, however, is where the lunch starts to turn sour, when you realise the only thing she now has to talk about is her child. What a bore; you’d much rather talk about yours. So the conversation goes something like this:

Friend: “You know Ali was only 10 months old when he took his first step! It was so incredible! Everybody was shocked, I mean 10 months! Have you ever heard of kids walking at 10 months? Of course I always knew my child was definitely gifted, but…”

You: “Well…you know my daughter was walking at 10 months too, it’s not really…”

Friend: (in a patronising tone) “Oh no! You misunderstood me. I mean running all over the place at 10 months not just stumbling around. He actually started to try to walk when he was only eight months so he was an expert at 10! Of course, it was kind of expected; he was rolling over at only four months and practically crawling everywhere at five. You won’t believe what a hard time he gave me. You are really lucky you had your daughter first, girls don’t get into that much trouble and they aren’t that active. I had to be on my toes 24 hours a day…”

You: “Actually my daughter was quite naughty so I know what you have been through. Sarah was only three months when…”

Friend: “Oh I know you are just trying to make me feel better. Believe me girls are a lot easier to handle than boys. My nieces are little angels, my sister never had a hard time with them. In fact, I’d say all three of them put together on their worst behaviour couldn’t compare to what Ali could do. But of course, it’s a small price to pay when you have such a brilliant child. We were so confused when it came to deciding on the right school for him…”

You: “Yeah, I know what you mean. But I am really satisfied with Sarah’s school; the teachers there are really…”

Friend: “Yes, yes it is after all the fourth best school in this area. But you know my husband is such a perfectionist and when it comes to education, only the best was good enough for Ali. Of course, you do have to consider these things when you have an extraordinary child like Ali. Sometimes you know, I almost envy mothers with average children, they are so much easier to handle. You can’t imagine what it is like to keep up with Ali. Just the other day his teacher was telling me how confidently he recited four nursery rhymes in a row in front of his class without any help at all.”

You (starting to get really bugged and wondering if this is actually the same person you knew in college): “Sarah is more into colouring and drawing, she just loves to…”

Friend: “What a coincidence! So is Ali. His drawings are incredible, they seem to have been made by a much, much older child. And so neat! All the colours are inside the lines, he just never ceases to amaze me.”

You (starting to get up): “Oh my gosh, look at the time! I’ve really got to go Lubna, it was great to see you, but I’ve got to run and pick Sarah up from her piano lessons. Of course, you know how it is with little geniuses. Always on our toes! Let’s do lunch again some time, bye.” (Glad to have got the last word!)

Friend (a little stunned at finally being outdone): “Yeah, sure. Bye.” (She quickly composes herself and takes out her mobile and dials a number.) Hello Nazia! How are you darling! You know how busy I am, it’s not easy looking after such an active little prodigy. Just the other day the maid had finished ironing and folding all the clothes and Ali just couldn’t resist dumping the basket over. Then he got into the kitchen and…… (listening to the speaker for a second).s Oh no, you can’t begin to imagine what I go through! Why your little Zaid is such an innocent little sweetheart. He isn’t half as active as Ali, who, by the way….”



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