Worst competitor mom ever!
Inspired by Jen Harmaker's Worst End-Of-School-Year Mom Ever blog
It isnt whether you win or lose it's how you play the game. True that, people! I really feel this way but I suspect that I am in the minority on this one. Its like you are slightly un-American (land of the free market and home of the brave individualist) if you embrace such a philosophy.
The truth is, I dont care whether or not I beat you. I am just missing that kind of ambition chip.
This is in stark contrast to the rest of my family.
My boys have raised competition to an absolute art form. ANYTHING can be turned into a contest: Who got to the front step first, who shot the most baskets, the coolest baskets, drew the better picture, reads the fastest, who took the fastest shower.
As if it were required like a period at the end of a sentence, each is known to counter any observation about the other with, I am better than [my brother] at that.
This was not the case for me when I was a child. Basically, I just wanted to read. I wasnt a game player, unless forced to participate by my mother (whose extended familys poker games in the Poconos are legendary), or peer-pressured into it by friends.
I would try to be a contender for a bit but inevitably would tire of it and sabotage my position showing everyone my cards, announcing my strategy. Obnoxious for sure, perhaps even rivaling the flip-side win at all costs approach, given the level of disgust my antics would elicit.
I would like to report that I outgrew those quirky tendencies, but I cant.
Like at the beach this summer when the grandparents proposed a family game for the evenings. Heres how you play: Everyone gets 5 quarters and when you roll your turn, the combination of the dice dictates whether you have to pass a quarter to the person on your left, on your right, put it in the pot, or keep it. Eventually only one person is left with a quarter, and he wins all the money in the pot. Fun, right? Sure!
But then, wouldnt you know it I had to go and win clearly because its a game of luck, not skill.
My hard-wiring (or life-long affiliation with the Democratic Party) immediately kicks in and I give all of my winnings back to the pot. My boys mouths drop open with shock, while everyone else smiles appreciatively. After several more rounds it becomes apparent that I have set a precedent, with the pot ever-growing. My boys start to realize that the give back may be expected of them were they to win. Their shock turns to despair.
This leads to a full-on secret family meeting with the kids and grandparents. A vote is taken and I am approached with a proposed new game rule, assuming I will agree to it: When you win, you have to keep your winnings. Like, you win. And you get something! So take it.
Of course, I went along with that, but not before trying to justify my silly tendencies by pointing out that it might be beneficial for the boys to observe the example of a non-competitive person, as foreign to their inherent instincts as escargot was to their afternoon snack.
Eventually the boys huddled back up and proposed a sort of compromise: The winner keeps her winnings . . . AND moving forward, the boys want to play together as a team.
This scenario increases the odds in their favor, a development that unsurprisingly doesnt bother me a bit. In fact, I am thrilled at the chance (perhaps fleeting) to see them on the same side for once. As *luck* would have it, they took the pot the very next game.
And as they high-fived each other and laughed and chatted excitedly at the table, I felt like a #1 MOM, the thrill of victory dripping over me like the river of Gatorade and ice poured atop a winning coach by the jubilant champions on her team.
Bess Kercher, M.A. lives in Charlotte with her husband and two sons.
Read Kercher's other 'worst' adventures in parenting:
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