Sunday, May 29, 2016

Don't Compare Your Child, Just Enjoy Them

I think one of the biggest challenges I face as a parent is not comparing my child to others. It's so easy to do so, but it's also a recipe for disaster.

 

Even before a baby is born, the comparisons start.  A group of women could sit around a table and talk about their journeys thus far for the ones who are pregnant.  One might say I have pain in my lower back and my feet are swollen.  Of course someone else would say I never had that, maybe you should go and get that checked out or ask your doctor about it. Then that initial woman might internally panic and think something could be wrong and worry arises.  Her baby is perfectly healthy, but the worries and comparisons never stop.

I joined a local moms group for my town.  It's been so much fun to meet other moms and have my child play or connect with theirs.  Since we're moms, we enjoy discussing what we're most comfortable with--motherhood.  We talk about the challenges of our child eating too much, not eating enough, oversleeping, not sleeping enough, co-sleeping vs. not co-sleeping, and the list goes on.  I'm very lucky in the fact that my child has no issues with sleeping or eating.  Since she was 6 months old she's slept in her own crib through the night. Scarlett also is a wonderful eater and her portion sizes are large for a child her age.  Other moms are envious and wish their children were just like Scarlett.  

On the other hand, I have my own set of challenges with Scarlett.  She's addicted to the phone and the pacifier.  My husband and I gave her a pacifier in the hospital and she instantly loved it.  What did we know? We were first time parents and all we knew were that pacifiers were for babies.  I wish I could have had a glimpse into the future and saw that my child wouldn't be able to ride in the car or go to sleep without it.  If I had known that, I wouldn't have given it to her.  The phone is an addiction that we are doing our best to break. She constantly wants my iPhone and anyone else's.  If you don't give it to her, she throws a tantrum.  It's not easy.  I am envious of other children who are free of pacifier and phone addictions.  I wish my child was like them and think life must be easier for those parents.  

I constantly compare myself to my friend's children who are talking and very verbal. Scarlett is almost 18 months and not speaking at all.  I ask myself does she need to be evaluated at some point? Why is she not talking? Is something wrong? Do I not teach her enough and she doesn't know the words she needs to know? Is she on track? Of course everyone says she'll talk when she wants to and then you'll never get her to stop talking.  I'm sure they're right, but until you hit that point you worry.  Parents worry, and I'll never stop worrying or comparing her to others.  It's a hard fact to accept but it's true.  I want to do my best to not compare so much in the future.  

I do believe the best advice for parents out there is to accept that your child is individual and unique.  They will do everything on their own terms when they're ready.  So what if they don't walk or talk exactly on time, it doesn't mean anything is wrong.  In the end, everyone catches up and is just fine.  Don't compare them to others.  Instead, spend time with your child and make memories while you can.  In just a blink of an eye, they'll be all grown up and you'll be wishing for that time back.  

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