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.