June 28, 2017

I Realized That Motherhood Is not a Competition

Every week, Preen tackles motherhood sans the rose-tinted glasses. Our columnists L. JulianoMarla DarwinMonica Eleazar-ManzanoRossana Unson, and Ronna Capili-Bonifacio tell their personal experiences like it is—at times frustrating, oftentimes confusing, but always enlightening.

I may have spent too many days with co-mom friends this recent long weekend. These are girlfriends I grew up with and spent many vacations with, but now with kids who are at the same age. The offsprings are the only thing we talk about nowadays.

I love my child to bits and pieces but there are instances when I just want to tune out. The mom’s weekend off was supposed to be just that. Rather, it ended with a lot of my-child-can-do-this-how-about-yours banter. What’s worse, we concluded the trip with a play date when we reunited with the little ones and they acted quite opposite to how we’ve described them. Mine included. It’s an embarrassing wake up call, at least for me, on how we should keep our rose-tinted views in check.

Let’s face it, if we could post every photo and video of our adorable children, we would. To us they’re the cutest, most intelligent and advanced child there could be. And it’s natural to want to show that off. But it’s also one reason why we unfollow friends who flood our feeds with those cherub faces (and we wonder where kids these days get their sense of entitlement.)

Now despite that as a telltale sign of our capacity to put our children on a conceived pedestal, it’s still forgivable. What I can’t take is making excuses for behavior that should be corrected because they can’t accept that their child is in the wrong, or they just simply don’t see the offense.

Hitting, for me, should never be excused. When my friend’s child punched my other friend’s kid, I was appalled by the former’s reaction. “Why did you hit her? Oh because you were frustrated that she wasn’t sharing? That’s why.” And offers no apology from her son’s end. She threw shade at our friend who was praising her little girl’s sharing and social skills over the weekend. I now wonder if she realized how her reaction affected her child’s view on hitting. I’m guilty of this as well. I’ve seen myself do the same, explaining how my girl is just tired and sleepy when she starts her tantrums by hitting me or her yaya.

So how do we balance the enthusiasm and pride that comes with the joys of parenting? When do we commend, encourage, and boast and when do we shut our mouths and accept when our children aren’t being their perfect little selves? I still find myself holding back when I want to share every single thing about my precious girl, butt in and point out how my daughter does whatever so-and-so can do plus more, or worse, give excuses for her wrong behavior. I’ve evaluated what I feel when I’m urged to do just these and realized that I’m best to keep things to myself when competitiveness creeps up on me. I’ve taken mental notes too on teaching my child to use her words and to simmer down when she needs to be reminded of her manners and behavior.

Motherhood isn’t a race. With all the developmental milestones we’re urged to tick off from a long and never-ending list, and the measures we need to take just to reach these exceptionally, it’s sad that the expectations can result to competition in this age of parenting. When I do catch myself going down the competitive road, I remind myself of Carl Hillman’s quote: “One of the most important things we adults can do for your children is model the kind of person we would like them to be.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.


Art by Dorothy Guya

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