I've returned to re-read libby purves' excellent uplifting and funny book on parenting, called 'nature's masterpiece'. I just have to share some of my favourite parts:
In her profiling of the six types of women you'll encounter as a mother, she adds one last 'most dangreous' type:
Competitive Clara: Her baby rolled, sat, teethed, crawled, walked, talked and aimed accurately at the potty before anyone else's. So she says. He is also amazingly sensitive, musical, athletic and socially well-adjusted....
This business of Mum-upmanship is worth going into, if only because it blights so many happy moments and clouds so many relationships. There are two great vices which mar the fair face of motherhood. One is guilt, and the other is competitiveness. Both are rampant from the very start: maternity wards are full of women weeping guiltily because they are good enough at breast-feeding, while at the same time noting that none of the other babies in the ward is as good-looking and alert as their own. The fact that most of us see no contradiction in indlging in these two emotions simultaneously is a great tribute to the blurring power of hormones.
Maternal guilt tends to wither away after the first few years. This is probably because as soon as your children can talk clearly, they start periodically accusing you of being a hateful Mummy, thus saving you the bother of accusing yourself. But competitiveness does not wither. "