My sister-in-law thinks her kids are better than mine.

My sister-in-law has children roughly the same ages as mine. This was fun for a little while, but lately I feel like I’ve been unwillingly entered into a subtle competition over whose daughter is smarter, who gets invited to more birthday parties, and who is more musically gifted. Not only is the constant bragging getting annoying (my sister-in-law obviously thinks her daughter is superior to mine) but I’m starting to feel jealous and competitive when I actually don’t care that much. How am I going to deal with her for the rest of my life?

I am going to start a national campaign against using the word “gifted” to descibe anyone who isn’t David Ortiz or that blind five-year-old from South Korea who can play any song on the piano after she’s heard it one time.

Your sister-in-law feels insecure about her parenting. For her, tangible proof of good mothering comes in the form of hard-core ballet lessons, birthday party supremacy, and those flash cards on TV that teach babies to read before they can eat solid food. If she has your daughter as a benchmark, all she has to do to make herself feel good is do more than you’re doing.

As the parent of a kid who regularly lies on his stomach eating mulch off the playground without even using his hands, I feel your pain. At the end of the school year, kids in the Montessori school were constructing the Taj Mahal out of toothpicks while mine was shoving beads up his nose. And it’s okay with me. Truly. He’s a great kid. So when your sister-in-law starts yapping about how Little Ashley won the Good Citizen Trophy at summer camp for saving a 16-year-old from drowning, just take a deep breath, remember that it has nothing to do with your daughter at all, and be proud that you have such an awesome niece.

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One response to “My sister-in-law thinks her kids are better than mine.

  1. Jen

    I can totally relate as my sister-in-law seems to like to yammer on about her son’s high IQ and to have her children recite things at family gatherings. The funny thing is that her son talks like he is learning disabled and has a horrible temper and is always knocking game pieces on the floor, etc. so that my kids don’t like to play with him. His outbursts seem to correlate with her praise of what a genius he is. She also keeps them in daycare for like 11 hours a day and won’t lift a finger to help her own kids at family gatherings but lets my mother-in-law or myself do everything for her kids. I guess she isn’t used to caring for them herself. And at dinner, it is always her little girl that has to say grace even though my daughter is always excited to do so. In summary, I think parents like that are just really feeling like crap because they know they aren’t stepping up to the plate as parents. I think they are trying to scream, “Hey I’m a crappy parent, but my kids are o.k.-see!” but go overboard in doing so and make themselves look like arses. It’s very pathetic but also really annoying. I now really dislike family gatherings because this has become the routine.

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