78% of us agree that one-upmanship at the school gates is 'ridiculous', but we just can't help ourselves, according to a new survey by Mumpoll.com.
When it comes to 'competitive mum syndrome', I'll admit it's part of my daily life. From that moment when I sneaked a quick peek at the newborn baby in the next cubicle on the maternity ward, and concluded that, in comparison to mine, he was a bit of a minger, I've been fiercely comparing my kids to their peer group.
Admit it or not, for most mums this has become as much a part of our daily life as throwing fish fingers in the oven – and no, I do not make my own breadcrumbs, just in case you're wondering.
It's just that some of us are more obvious than others.You know the type – she who turns up in gym kit and full make-up causing the rest of us to guiltily clench our pelvic floor in ten quick squeezes before going home to put the kettle on. Others are more subtle about it. They drop off in pyjamas, exuding the impression that they're "Not Competing," but you can bet if you open their child's lunchbox you'll find strips of peppers and – wait for it – cherry tomatoes. I have never managed to get my children to eat a cherry tomato. We just make do with dollops of ketchup.
It seems motherhood can bring out an ambitious streak we never knew we had. I remember a toddler group where mums having their second baby would arrive to show off their tiny bundle, only for the rest of us to ooh and aahh whilst mentally clocking just how many days previously she'd given birth. When it was my turn I triumphantly turned up, practically dragging the placenta behind me, just to prove over a Hobnob that I, too, could bounce back in no time at all.
And if you're thinking 'That doesn't sound like me', let me ask you this. How many times has your heart sunk when another mum casually drops the bombshell that her child is taking Mandarin classes? Or a member of Mensa? And don't tell me you've never peeped inside another child's book bag to see how much higher up the Oxford Reading Tree they are? I did it three times just last week. So beat that...
You know you're a competitive mum when...
You splash out on the best free range chicken breast (for home-made nuggets) and organic fruit (for kebabs) when someone else's child comes home for tea. And then you give them a laminated menu to take home to their mother.
You only exercise in preparation for school sports day. Well, it's a great reason to hire a personal trainer, isn't it?
You spend more time talking to your child's teacher than you do to your husband.
You buy sausage rolls from the garage on the way to school, then wrap them in foil and put them in your child's lunchbox. Ditto cakes for the PTA stall.
Your son's dinosaur project becomes a power point presentation akin only to Jurassic Park with its interactive jungle scenes.
You honestly thought that Monday morning thing they did in class was called 'Show off and tell..'