Parenting Has Made Me Realize My Mom Is A Big Fat Liar

legosI’m sure I’m not the only person who has been led to believe that they were the smartest child that ever did grace the earth. Like most people with a proud mother, I have spent my entire life hearing the same stories told over and over and over again. I know them all by heart. My mother has always been a pro at bragging about her genius daughters. And it has always been endearing – that is, until I had a child of my own.

We all know what it’s like to anxiously compare our children to the milestone charts on Baby Center and other children at the park. It’s not out of any sense of competition or anything – I couldn’t give a shit about that. I just kinda want a litmus to know whether I am totally failing or not. Am I succeeding at this whole motherhood thing? Am I giving my child the tools to measure up to his peers? Well, comparing your child to other children is one thing – comparing him to yourself as a child is a whole other scenario.

It’s great basking in the glory of your early childhood developments. I always found the stories pretty entertaining. There’s the one where I taught myself how to tie my shoes when I was a year old. By my mother’s memory, I sat in the dining room for six hours straight. She just tried and tried and tried until she got it! Pretty impressive, but not as impressive as the time I told the doctor my ear hurt – when I was six months old.

My sister was even more amazing than I was. One Christmas Eve she climbed out of her crib, descended the staircase and sat before the tree in awe, saying how pretty! She was a year old.

Before I had kids, it was easy to subscribe to the notion that my sister and I were both super-geniuses, taking the world by storm since infancy. But after I had a child these stories just confused me. What was going on with my child? Where were my amazing tales of his supernatural development?

As if the milestone police at the park weren’t enough, I was now comparing my child’s development to my own. That can’t be healthy. Every Velcro shoe I was forced to buy was a disappointment. Why isn’t he taking a clearly genetically-predisposed interest in shoelaces? I handed him a pair of shoes one day and he just stared up at me as if to say, are you putting these on or what? My thoughts became clouded with questions. We went to the doctor last week and he just stared at her.  He didn’t say a goddamn thing about the rash he’s been scratching for the last week.  What the hell?

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You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • Carm

    Ah yes. My grandma raised 7 kids, six of them boys, and they never fought. Everyone was potty trained by 18 months. They’re running jokes in our family now but I think my one aunt still believes them and is disappointed in her kids. Selective memory…

    • Guerrilla Mom

      Yes – definitely selective memory!

  • Carinn Jade

    I was fully potty-trained by the time I was 17 months old (my mom shows me my baby book to “prove” it is true) and that clock started running as soon as my son hit that age. Little did I know she allowed me an extra 3 months since he was a boy and I performed to her liking. Now that my daughter is 2 (26 months actually) and still in diapers, my mom looks at me like “hello? when are you going to make this happen?” So there, I’m in competition with my daughter and my toddler-self is winning, according to my mom. Or maybe I am in competition with my mother and she is winning. I can’t keep up, I checked myself out of the game a long time ago.

    Ok, sorry for the rant. This was hysterical!!

    • Guerrilla Mom

      I’ll never win a competition with my mother because I am never right about anything ;)

    • Janika Moravskoslezský-Carter

      Don’t feel bad i’m in the same boat as you are. The last time I had an interaction with my mother it turned out bad. I don’t go near her or call her. It’s to much drama for me to bear with.

    • Psych Student

      Now you and Maria have to compete over who is more crazy over competing with your children. Given in to your Mommy Crazy – you know you want to! :D

    • Carinn Jade

      I’m giving it to Maria, only because she’s way funnier than I am.

  • Zoe

    I’m terrified of this. It’s exactly how my MIL gushes over my partner’s childhood (only child). His expectations of his own kids are going to be sky-high and I’m scared he’s been set up for disappointment.

    I take a little comfort when older family members, who we don’t see often, sometimes gently correct her when she’s telling a story about her Wunderkind and say that she’s embellishing the truth somewhat. I have also heard stories from them about my partner behaving like a spoiled little shit – completely at variance with the glowing tale of childhood perfection spun by MIL.

    Over-praising can lead to insecure adults who can’t handle discovering they aren’t really that special after all. My partner has struggled with a sense of not meeting high expectations all his life, and he actually is a very intelligent and accomplished person. I suspect that when we do have kids, MIL will either settle down or get competitive.

    • Guerrilla Mom

      I suppose it’s a pretty natural phenomenon (parents gushing over their kids) – but it’s amazing how my views towards these stories changed when I had kids!

  • Kris Washburn

    my fiance was one of those wunderkid, playing chess by the time he was three, reading college level books, only watched adult television, too smart for school, and when it came to video games, when they were coming out, he just “got them” and was able to finish them. In his house you sat at the table, even if you were a kid, until every person had finished eating, even if one person talked for 30 minutes and is just now touching their food. Kids were to be seen, not heard. Etc.

    Well, he has never had kids of his own, and now he is thrown in with my almost 8 year old boy and my almost 5 year old girl. Who haven’t barely any video game time, so they don’t know how to play video games and are learning, who like cartoons, who don’t eat every meal with a knife and fork, including pizza, who don’t stay at the table while the adults eat slow and gab, who are heard as well as seen. Who, compared to a lot of kids you see out there, very well behaved, but still kids. But he expects them to be like he was as a kid.

    What I think is funny is when he gets on them for a tantrum and tells them that they can tantrum in their room, my rule, and yet if they are all playing a video game together, and the kids are playing to have fun, and he is playing for a specific goal, he will get tired of the kids messing around, and just turn off the whole system and whole tv and be like, I’ m done, I’ve had it. I have called him on that, since it is his own tantrum he is throwing.

    Sorry this is probably tl;dr

    • Guerrilla Mom

      I’ve known many men proficient in the “adult tantrum.” That cracks me up!

  • Sean Phillips

    I don’t know that i could tolerate the judgemental “you’re doing it wrong, i did it better than you” nonsense, especially from my mother lol. you’ve got some kind of superpower there, taking it as well as you seem to, i’d be starting fights.

    • Guerrilla Mom

      Oh trust me – there’s been fighting. I wish I had that superpower, though.

  • Janika Moravskoslezský-Carter

    I won’t say my mother lied since our relationship ended when I was 9 years old. But my granny was awesome. She did it all even the things my mother was supposed to do. Note i’m from Czech Republic and was living in the states illegally. Besides that my granny has never lied to me as far as I know. Yes, granny potty-trained me also.

  • Daisy

    Lol my dad did something similar. When my sisters and I were little kids, he’d always go on about how he and his siblings were so perfect, and never fought, and wouldn’t ever dream of talking back to THEIR mom and dad. Now that I’m an adult, I’m finding out that is a bunch of baloney.
    I’m not sure which guilt trip is worse–comparing your children to you, or you to themselves! Haha either way, it seems to be a universal phenomenon!

  • TinLizzie

    My mom used to tell me and my siblings how she and her brother and sister never fought. Then my grandparents told us the story where my mom, my aunt, and uncle got in a big fight while they were home alone and broke a bedroom door off the hinges. We still got in trouble for fighting, but she never told us that they didn’t fight anymore.