This was a mother I watched with awe.
From her tightly laced runners to her lycra leggings she was ready.
She had a list of times that last year’s competitors had run.
A chart with training sessions marked in green and study periods allocated in pink.
An iPad to video the races on and stop watch of her own to counter check the times.
Next to her feet was a kit packed with tape, sports drinks, cool down towels and jelly snakes.
No, this wasn’t the pre-trials for the Olympics.
It was the first time I met our resident pushy mum from my son’s school - and the athlete in question just six years old.
My feelings were confused.
I veered from outrage: What is she doing to her son? He’s a kid. She needs to back-off
To envy: Wow she certainly is devoted.
I mean the kid certainly could run and his mum clearly had committed to the cause, while I was struggling to cheer on the egg-and-spoon race.
It made me wonder. Why are we so hung up on pushy parents after all?
Are they really so bad?
From extra sports coaching to kumon maths. From Saturday afternoon art classes to professional level dance, the opportunity to push your kids is certainly out there.
You hear of them in every playground. THAT mother. You know the one. She’s always there. Her kids are always on their way somewhere. They have back-to-back activities. They are super scheduled and extra competitive.
The parent - in many cases the mother - often regales the rest of us with tales of her extra bright, extra talented, super high achieving little darlings.
We hear of how they have been hand picked for G&T streams, of how they compete in development level sports. Piano grades and ballet levels are thrown around in terms that those of us still stuck on the recorder and Mummy-and-me classes can’t even comprehend. They are always off to "regionals", "AMEB exams" and "STEMSEL".
The mums with more, well, average children raise our eyebrows and wonder what kind of adults the aspiring pianist and prima ballerina will grow up to be.
(As we try and decipher all those acronyms.)
But I am beginning to wonder... Maybe, just maybe what these kids are doing is beneficial.
Watch little Austin’s whose parents believe that he needs to be pushed – at the age of five he does karate, swimming, tennis, golf, reading class, soccer and basketball. (Post continues after video)