You’re not a better parent than I am.
My kid isn’t better than your kid and – wait for it – I’m not a better parent than you.
The parenting wars never fail to amaze me, and I’ll be the first to admit that I have on occasion been guilty of “1-upping” my kid. “Oh, your baby isn’t walking yet? Mine was walking at 6 months!” (She wasn’t, but you get what I mean?) If you haven’t read this article of a Conversation Between Two Smug Moms from Mamamia yet, you probably should, because you’ll get where I’m coming from much easier.
When you have friends, coworkers, acquaintances
or random people you stalk on Facebook, it’s hard not to compare notes. It starts as early as trying to conceive with,”Oh, it only took you three months? My body is so fertile, it only took one week,” and just escalates from there.
Just like any other competition, you want your kid to be on top and do they best they can. Even if you try your hardest to not compare your kid to others, you end up doing it and when you catch yourself, you try to tell yourself that it doesn’t matter. They’re B-A-B-I-E-S. They get excited if you disappear behind a blanket and then magically reappear 2 seconds later. They’re not yet caught up in the world of “I’m better than you.” Innocent, sweet little babies. They have no idea that they’re in some kind of developmental battle of the fittest.
I’ll use Isla as an example. She didn’t cut her first tooth until she was at least 7 months old. Crawling took her a few tries, and she certainly wasn’t walking until she was about 14 months old. But did if bother me if my friends’ kids were crawling, walking, eating solids, solving logarithms months before her? Sure. Do I try to mind myself that these things are pretty much out of my control? Yep. Does it work? Not really. My husband is always telling me when I’m encouraging her to do something that I’m “just doing it because Friend A’s kid is doing it already.” I always disagree, but really … it’s a little because of that. Life becomes some kind of secret battle, maybe not to the same extremes as in the link above, but it does.
I think every mother out there needs to take a moment just to remember that parenting isn’t some kind of race or game you need to win. There is no “Best way” to parent your child, as long as you’re encouraging her/him and raising them to become outstanding citizens to the best that they can be. Every baby develops differently, and there’s no shame in that. Isla crawled when she was ready, walked when she was ready, and will talk when she is ready.
We need to remember that we’re all doing the best job we can as parents, all in our own way. We may not all co-sleep, feed our kids organic, do cloth diapers, breastfeed until the age of 2, or even 1 for that matter, but we do what’s right for us. I’m not trying to be the best mom on the planet, because I know I’m certainly no where close to that, I’m just trying to be the best mom I can with what I have. And that’s OK.
Yep, I’m alright with that.