Well, I Can Do That Better Than You!


My daughter is 4.5 and loves the fact that the neighbor boy is only a few months older than her. They play outside as often as possible. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy watching my kids make friends and interact with kids around their age. It is both interesting and entertaining!

Since I try not to hover too much while she is playing outside with her new buddy, sometimes I eavesdrop and listen to what they talk about. I have noticed a reoccurring topic, which is basically a conversation that goes like this, “Watch me do _________ (fill in the blank with any number of activities)!”

The response is almost always, “Well, I can do that better than you!”

I am pretty much 100% sure you have witnessed a conversation with your kids that follows that pattern. It is a common dialogue for kids. The topic could be anything from climbing trees, running across a room, or coloring a picture. Maybe it’s about who is taller or who is stronger in some way. Kids tend to be competitive. They like not only the competition, but also the satisfaction of winning or being (what they deem as) the best.

Well, I Can Do That Better Than You! | Duluth Moms Blog

And I totally take advantage of this competitive nature in my children. Which is why I make almost anything a game to help speed things up or get things done: a race against the timer to get things picked up. A race against each other to get shoes put on or beds made, and so on. Make it a game and then suddenly things get more interesting.

But is this competitive nature something we outgrow as we get older and mature? In some ways, maybe. I don’t yell at my friends, “I bet I can discipline my children better than you!” or “I can install all of my kid’s car seats faster than you!” But I would say that our competitive natures are still there. We may not be as obvious about it, but we’re still always competing. I think a large part of that competitive nature is ingrained in us a human beings. This isn’t just necessarily displayed in playing sports or games, but instead in our attitudes towards others.

For example, have you ever looked at another mom and ranked her against yourself? Have you ever looked around a friend’s house and compared her housekeeping skills to your own? Or maybe you enjoyed a meal cooked by a friend only to rank it among your own meals? Looked at someone else social media and compared it to your own? I know I can be guilty of playing this comparison game. I may not be as bold as my 4 year old daughter who will just tell anybody that she can do better, but I often think that same thing in my head.

There is nothing wrong with challenging ourselves to do and be better. But, the measure of comparison shouldn’t be against others, instead I should only compare to the person I was yesterday. My friends and fellow mamas aren’t competition, but rather, my teammates. When I start playing that dangerous comparison game it can quickly become destructive and dangerous.

I need to remind myself to keep my competitive nature in check. Maybe you need that reminder too, mama. Let’s not become so obsessed with doing better than others. Let’s not feel the need to put one another down to make ourselves look a little taller. We are all in the middle of this thing called life (and for most of you readers out there, also motherhood!). So let’s stick together.

Now, who wants to race me to the coffee shop?