Saturday, 29 March 2008

In Defence of Competitive Mums

This started as a reply to Sasha, but got too long... I told you, I have the Verbal Diarrhoea!

In Defence of Competitive Mums: and a proof that I will always try and see both sides of the coin and can argue either toss lol....

I would like to introduce you to my sister. With all my heart I wish I could introduce you to my sister! When her boys were younger, my sis was the epitome of Competitive Mum. She was the one who threw the elaborate parties, well before they were the done thing - my nephew is 20 now, so as far as I am concerned that plants Sis squarely in the "When Did This Madness Start" camp. She hired leisure centres, and made party bags stuffed to bursting with toys and sweets. She decorated her home, both indoor and outdoor for all Holidays. She was the one who had an apple bobbing keg outside at Halloween, and imported flashy decorations from the States because they weren't available here then. She's the one who threw children's parties for all occasions, with fireworks in her garden and home-made candyfloss, and sent in home-made toffee apples to school for Guy Fawkes night. She insisted on family Christmases and birthdays, went all out in decorations and gifts for all, and every single event became an Occasion, a special spark in our lives. Heck, even the day I got my amnio results she threw a party with gifts for her new unborn niece. The Madness is All Her Fault!

So, why did she do it? In Sis's case, it is because she was always a kid at heart. She adored fun, and festivities and family and friends. She spent her whole childhood lusting after Disneyworld, and it made her LIFE when we actually went together with our children, and she got to see Mickey Mouse with her boys and my girls. She also knew that she wasn't going to be around forever, and wanted her boys to have the best memories she could possibly give them. She was the talk of the entire street the year she took her wig off for Halloween and opened the door in her bald-headed chemo glory! My sister had no intention at all of trying to upstage or outshine anyone, it would never have occured to her that she would annoy anyone with her merriness, she wanted everyone to join in with her and play. She just wanted to have fun while she was here, and she did. She lived her life as fully as she could, and when she died, she left us bereft but in the knowledge that she had celebrated every second.

As has been pointed out, there are a lot of reasons for the lavish displays, from trying to help your child make friends, to just the joy of pleasing others. It isn't always about being Competitive Mum, at all. As with all things, it is the *intention* that is the important bit. If the intent is to make friends and have fun, well heck, just join in and enjoy! A gladiator party in the back garden sounds like a blast, wish I'd been there...

And although dressing your infant as a little Lolita, plastering her in make-up and parading her in a limo isn't my cup of tea, if you are doing it just for yourself well who on earth am I to judge? Go to it, and have fun! You aren't here forever, so celebrate every second.

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