Oct 27, 2023 • 31M

Aren't all parents competitive???

A convo with Rae Katz on handling that oh-so-icky feeling of wanting your kid to be THE BEST

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Appears in this episode

Alex Dobrenko`
Rachel Katz
Absurd, honest comedy delivered through the vulnerable personal voice memos of Alex Dobrenko: tv actor+writer to some, father to one, and friend to all.
Cross-post from Both Are True
Alex Dobrenko and I talk every Friday, allegedly to swap writing feedback but really to talk about whatever’s on our minds. We decided to record a chat about Alex’s recent essay, "My son, the two year old soccer prodigy." This essay, about the desire to have your child be the best, is such a juicy topic for an early parent, and really for anyone living in a culture that loves winners and people at the top. In our conversation, we chat about how we each deal with this urge as parents of two-year-old boys, and also just as people, recognizing that we’re at the beginning of a long, long journey with this theme. Read more about the episode and listen/watch below! We would love to hear what you think in the comments section. -

and I talk every Friday.

We say it’s to give writing feedback but it’s mostly just an excuse to hang and catch up.

Interesting, how connecting with one of your best friends at such a frequency only seems possible — allowed, even — under the auspices of ‘work.’

This fact seems somehow a perfect segue to the conversation we had last week.

To jump straight in and listen to the audio or watch on video, click here.

Important service announcement

I strongly recommend and in fact urge you all to subscribe to Rae’s newsletter

. Her ability to weave the visceral feelings of personal experience with thoughtful, scientific analysis leaves me feeling whole, like my heart and brain just hugged and said "this is all insane but at least we've got each other.

Here’s a quick overview:

On mysterious women's diseases, work culture, mothering, and the struggle to stop yearning for wealth and power. Honest, unflinching essays and interviews from a chronically ill, ex-startup CEO searching for redemption.”

So go subscribe and come back here and listen to the audio ok? Ok.

When overachievers have kids

We decided to record this convo after Rae’s feedback on an early draft of my essay My son, the two year old soccer prodigy, which boiled down to ‘Alex, you know that not every parent is this competitive about their kid.’

No I did not know that. I’m still not sure I do. In this convo we discuss that feedback and:

  • how we each deal with the feeling of wanting your kid to the best one.

  • or, even worse, knowing that your kid is the best at literally whatever activity they are doing and being frustrated that neither the kid nor anyone else is able to see it.

  • how all of this will only get harder as our two-year-old kids…get older.

  • the absurd need to always apologize for your kid when they do anything ‘wrong’ in public

And I even try to connect ideas from Finite and Infinite Games into the world of parenting!

A lil background

We’ve been friends for fifteen years, bonded by a ridiculous long-standing joke, a niche type of OCD (fun!), and a shared interest in cutting to the core of big questions. This longstanding connection is particularly special to us because of our radically different styles, which are on display in our respective newsletters Inner Workingsand


Comments? Questions?

We’d genuinely love to hear what y’all think!

  1. What’s your experience of parenting and competition been like as either the kid or parent or both?

  2. What’d you find most interesting about the convo?

  3. Do you have any advice on how to not turn our kids into monsters that always need to be the best?

  4. What other stuff would you want to hear Rae and I talk about?

How to listen / watch

Listen: You can listen to the audio for this episode by clicking the play button at the top of the post. There are other ways to listen too which you can access by clicking the button to the right of the player look I even made a graphic:

Watch: There’s also a video of us talking if you want to watch that here it is:

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