Comparisons

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As moms, and parents, we all compare our kids, don’t we? I recently saw a unofficial poll on BabyCenter asking moms how much they compared their children. The answers were “always,” “sometimes,” and “never.” I have to admit, I said “always” because, well, I do. It’s understandable that I would compare my baby to others because I compare myself to others. I’m seeing a pattern here.

I know it’s “bad” but it’s almost automatic. I do it because I want to make sure she’s “doing OK,” but is that just masking something else? I can literally see she’s doing OK with my own eyes. If I wasn’t in a large city, going to moms groups or talking to other moms with small babies, I would say Jackie is doing fabulous. So why is it when I go to my moms group I have to be sure she is “keeping up” with the other little ones? It’s crazy. It’s mom brain crazy.

I was talking about this to a new friend of mine who is also a new mom. I connected with a few women in my first moms group at Isis Maternity here in Boston (Brookline). Due to her son being a bit younger than Jackie, I was constantly comparing Jackie to her son.. although they couldn’t have been any different! He was HUGE as a baby, Jackie normal or small, he was very strong and although Jackie was too, there was really no comparison. However, he’s been reaching his milestones quicker than Jackie. Was I doing something wrong, what was wrong with Jackie? What could I read, research, ask to make it better?!?!? It was really getting out of hand.

I was recently talking about “sitting up” more often than not and my friend “C” caught me. I didn’t realize I had been worrying about it, but once again, good reason to write things down, have a blog, etc. People catch you in your craziness and stop the insanity.

I asked her if I could re-post what she sent me in a message.. I thought it was brilliant and luckily she said yes.. so here it is:

“I think it’s really important for us to remember that we aren’t in control of our kid’s milestones. We can help them and encourage them to some degree, but their milestone markers aren’t ultimately reflections on us or of how we parent. Jax likely wouldn’t be getting up on her arms any more if you’d done lots of tummy time. It’s likely just how she’s wired. By the same token, I have friends who have babies that cry all the time, are not what we deem of as happy babies, but the parents are happy people, who shower their kids with love. The kid is just grumpy but will grow out of it. Some kids are super chill and don’t accomplish milestones at a fast pace even though their parents may be strong or active individuals.

I think we feel good about ourselves when our kids are developing well…and we’re allowed to feel good, but we shouldn’t get too attached in either direction. We need to hold onto something, but sometimes it means we put too much stock in our child as a reflection of our parenting. It’s hard to strike a balanced approached to all this. A constant learning curve, isn’t it?”

It definitely is a learning curve and, at least for me, I need to chill on the comparing. I can see more and more that this is more a reflection of me rather than wondering if my child is doing well. Honestly, I think this has more to do with how I am doing as a parent. Yikes.

For any parents reading this, do you compare and how much do you do it? Feel free to comment. I’d love to get your views.

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About Kathy G

Iā€™m simple, yet complicated. Music is the Soundtrack of my life. I'm always looking for the next best thing and stuff that I haven't heard. I consider myself: Cool, intense, passionate, love people until they piss me off--then love them again. I'm dedicated, honest and one of the best friends you can have (or I do my best to be). Tap dancing is my newest passion. I love my soulmate and husband, Joe, with everything I am. My dreams? This seems to change from month to month, but I'd like to be the following: A Solid Gold Dancer, Contestant on The Gong Show, Madonna for a day, Dance all night at Studio54 in 1978, Travel around with Motley Crue in 1986, Open a kick ass dance club in NYC, Produce an album at Paisley Park, Cause world peace to be possible, be a millionaire so I can give away a lot of money to causes that need it, and win a Grammy. But most of all, I would like to feel at peace and make a profound difference in the world doing something I love.

5 responses »

  1. Been thinking about this post a bit over the last couple of days. One last thought:

    I believe that we, the engaged parent, often spend more time worrying about what our kids *should* be doing than enjoying the exciting and amazingly cute things they are doing _right now_. In 5 days they may no longer do them.

    I remember the first “game” she played – tilted her head back and forth waiting for us to copy her. She doesn’t do that anymore and I miss it but I enjoy that she’s pretending to kiss us now.

    Kids are the ultimate in being the moment – enjoy that moment with them, even if it’s just watching them think “what is this stuff in my mouth? Maybe if I move my tounge…no, that went back out. Gotta work on that.”

  2. Pingback: “Solids” SOS « Mama Bird

  3. I definitely do it but I’m also aware enough that I don’t worry if she’s “behind”. Most “milestones” have more than 6 month, sometimes up to a year, wiggle room. Some kids don’t talk until they are babbling full sentences (re: my sister), some babble away in little phonemes very early. It’s all ok. Most kids will get to their 20’s with little but emotional issues. šŸ™‚

    Your ped will likely tell you if something’s really off. Love your kid, give her some great experiences and let her play and discover. Don’t read too many books that have “should” in them – it will make you crazy.

    From the father of the most intelligent, most beautiful and outgoing 16 month old ever. Really. I’ve checked.

  4. I don’t think it’s bad to admit it either! šŸ™‚ It’s one of the reasons I’m writing this blog.. so others don’t think they are crazy for doing the same thing šŸ™‚

  5. “It is not ‘Bad’ to compare your child to others, only to admit it….” šŸ™‚

    There is a reason you take your child to the pediatrician more in the first year than(hopefully) any other time in their development. Charting physical and cognitive development in the first year is a large part of a pediatrician’s role. There are a lot of issues that if caught early can be corrected or improved.

    Don’t beat yourself up over a natural and necessary urge. Just think of it as a marathon, not a sprint.

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