Thursday, January 28, 2010

Being Proud of Yourself

I remember being a child and hearing mothers talk about their children like they were the most amazing creatures in existence. One mother's child was in dance, and from the way that she talked about it you'd think that the girl was a prodigy on the verge of a professional contract with a ballet company. Another woman's child played a musical instrument and according to her he was just the most talented child that had ever taken a lesson.

I remember wondering how my mother talked about me to her friends when I wasn't around. I'd heard my mom tell her friends and family about things I was doing, sure. But I'd never heard my mother brag about my accomplishments like that before. It seemed to me, even then, that there was some kind of competition going on before my eyes that I couldn't understand; I wonder even now if it makes much sense.

I suppose that it's human nature to brag about your offspring to some degree. I've honestly never gotten over the fact that those totally competent almost-adults are somehow derived from my DNA.

But I think that this activity sometimes turns into repulsive sort of "my kid is better than your kid" as if, by proxy, YOU are somehow better as well. My own kids have noticed this same trend going on around them with other people's moms; they told me that they were glad that I don't embarrass them that way.

Don't get my wrong, I love my kids like crazy. I think that they're some of the most awesome people that I know, in fact. But I don't use their accomplishments to pat my own back with.

Any accomplishment that a child makes is, I think, their own. By a parent taking that accomplishment as their own personal success, I think that they diminish their kids' achievements.

Your child should feel proud of themselves for their achievement not because you brag about them, not even because YOU say that you're proud of them.

In a related thought for moms.. remember that you are a person outside of whose mother you are.. or who's wife you are.. whatever titles you have. You're your own entity, so please, act it. If you use social networking, use your own picture, use a status that reflects what YOU are doing or thinking, not just your kids or your spouse.

Don't just be human tofu, picking up whatever flavours or personalities you come into contact with. Be yourself, trust me, the people around you will find you more interesting that way.

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