The Comparison Game

We’re not supposed to compare our kids against others.  Good mommy’s don’t do this.  It’s not healthy.  It’s not helpful and it never puts your mind at ease.  Thoughts like “how old is that baby, was mine sitting at that age?” “How much formula is she getting? Does she eat more than my baby?” “Little Douglas down the street is crawling already! My baby can’t get get off the floor!” “How much did my kid weigh at 6 months? I think he’s bigger than Cindy’s baby.” These thoughts are not helpful.  They are not good.

And we all do it.  I just might be the biggest culprit.  I find myself watching the other kids, mentally comparing.  Ok, confession time.  I’ve pulled out medical records to see where my child was at say, 2 months, compared to another child.  I’ve pulled up pictures of my kid from months ago, just to see how big she was compared to a relatives child.

I try not to do this.  I really do.  Because good mommy’s don’t have these thoughts.  I should know better.  I spent three years telling parents not to worry, not to compare.  Your kid is fine, I’d say, No, he doesn’t know his letters as well as other kids.  But he’ll catch up, he’s still in the normal range, and he’s focusing on learning different skills.  I’d tell them these things over and over.

I know other parents must do this, because I would get the comparison questions almost everyday.  They were coded of course.  Phrases like “is it normal for him to…” and “are other kids his age….” were used regularly. “All kids do that though, right?” was heard too- deep code for “my god, what is wrong with my kid? I’ve never seen another kid do THAT before.” 

At the end of the day everyone just wants to know if their kid is normal.  Maybe exceptional even.  They want to know if other parents are going through the same challenges, that they aren’t alone in all this craziness we call parenthood.

Some days I wanted to tell those parents “No.  Your kid is a freak.  No other children do this. Get him a therapist.  It was probably something you did.  Probably something before he was born.” OK, we had long days at preschool and by the end of it my patience was shot- saying nice platitudes to parents was the last thing I wanted to do after a day of cleaning up their child’s poop.

But not comparing is easier said than done.  I should know better- all kids grow differently, and learn new things at different times.  Just enjoy them, they will catch up.  I need to learn to take my own advice now and just watch the process unfold.

But in the meantime, I’ll just hope that comparing my kid to others is normal, and that I’m normal.  Am I, do you do this too?


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