Today I want to talk a about how parents compare their kids to other kids. We all do it. It is so natural, and sometimes we don’t even know that we are doing it. Let me tell you a story in the middle of all of this to make me seem a little bit more human. But… also to show that it is really unnecessary and almost unhealthy to continue doing it.
The True Story
A little girl I know is exactly two weeks younger than my daughter. Their entire first year I was comparing the two. The other little girl sat up first, crawled first, and walked first. Even though she was younger than my little girl, she was hitting all the milestones first. Consistently I was making myself feel bad that she was excelling and Grace was “average”. I wasn’t worried about Grace’s health and she wasn’t behind by any means. This mamma just couldn’t stop wondering why she wasn’t moving as fast as the other little girl.
Fast forward until now. We haven’t seen this other little girl much since it’s been so cold this winter and neither of us were outside much. Recently, we had our first Minnesota nice (ish) day. Grace and I went outside to play and guess who was outside too? Right! The other little girl and her mom! We went over to visit them and play. The girls did great. Sharing well (for one year olds), shoveled pretend snow and had a great time.
At one point during the immense play time, the mom asked me if Grace was talking yet. Immediately I said uh… yeah. This little girl doesn’t stop talking. All day it’s nothing but noise coming from my kid. She is pretty shy though, so when new people are around she doesn’t say much. This mom then asked if she was jabbering or saying actual words. I told her both. Little miss says tons of words but also does a lot of jabbering as well. I was then asked which words she was saying. The list goes on… The other mamma started to worry…
The tables have turned. Ironically, the other little girl never says a word. She may once in a while throw out a mamma, but that’s about it. The mom that I was so envious of a year ago is now comparing her kid to mine. She is now wondering why her kid doesn’t talk even though mine doesn’t stop. She was starting to worry that maybe her little girl was behind. All based on what my kid was doing. Not what her doctors were saying or even the internet. This mamma was just comparing her child’s development to mine.
Is This Just What Moms Do?
This is what we mammas do right? We constantly compare our kids to other kids. Constantly wondering if our kid is good enough, fast enough, just enough period. We need to stop. This is no better than comparing our selves to other moms. It doesn’t do any good. We have no idea what actually goes on in someone else’s home. All we see is snippets of other people’s lives and we need to stop doing it for them and for us.
As our kids start to get older they are going to notice us comparing them to other kids. They are going to start second guessing themselves and possibly start wondering if something is wrong with them. These issues are starting because we are projecting our ridiculous worries on them. Teenagers have enough emotions, we don’t need to add to that.
Disclaimer: if your pediatrician is telling you something is off about milestones, this post is not the right fit for you. All kids need to reach certain milestones eventually. If your doctor is concerned, you should probably be too.
My major concern for my daughter is body shaming. This is huge right now in our world. All of these diet things, look younger things, make up tutorials, magazine covers, the list is endless. Teaching our kids from the get go that it is necessary to compare themselves to another person is harmful. It creates a list of issues. The list doesn’t even stop at weight anymore. It has gotten down to make up and clothes and everything else.
I don’t need a Kylie Jenner transformation from my daughter. For whatever reason, this girl felt she needed to change herself so much she is unrecognizable from her teen self. I am not by any means shaming Kylie. She needs to be happy too. I just hope that my daughter can learn to love herself as she is. I want her to be happy with how she looks, the person she is, and know that she is enough. She needs to know that she is loved no matter what, and she doesn’t need to compare her self to other girls to get affirmation for herself. Or change major parts of her to have a specific “look”.
This needs to start at home when they’re young. To circle back a little, Grace is and was right where she needs to be. The other little girl did hit all the milestones first, until talking. Now Grace has exceed that and its okay. She is not better than the other little girl, just different. I need to remember this moment in my life as she grows. This mamma needs to put a sticky note on the mirror that says that reminds me to just let her be herself as long as she is happy, healthy, and a good person on the inside.
Are you a mom that does this? What tips do you have to remember this stuff?