If you sit on the outside of the group of moms chit chatting while their 2 year old children play, you might hear something like this.
Mom 2: Really? Should I be working with Susie on potty training? She hasn’t shown any interest so I haven’t pushed the issue…
Mom 3: I heard of a kid who was potty trained at 18 months!
Mom 2: Whoa…I’m way behind. I better get on it!
And so it begins. The comparison game. We begin to compare our children’s milestones to others. After all, they’re the same age – they should be doing everything at the same time, right?? We start to feel inferior, and question our parenting abilities, and then wonder what’s wrong with our children. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. They all learn to potty train, and they all learn to talk, and not one mention is made of when they did it past the age of 3. No one gets an award for the kid who says the ABC’s first. No one gets an award for the kid who crawls first. Enjoy your child’s milestones, whenever they reach them! Don’t rush them or pressure them to be like someone else’s child. They are exactly who they were meant to be. You are giving your child a gift, when you let them grow, and learn at their own pace. They have been fearfully and wonderfully made, and they are not like anyone else. Celebrate that with them. And don’t get caught up in the comparison game.
The comparison game can move on from our children into other things. She has a bigger house than I do. Her husband makes more money than mine does. She has a better job, or she doesn’t have a job at all. Comparison can become toxic. It leaves you with feelings of unhappiness, unworthiness, and defeat. There will always be someone who has more than you, whose children are more polite than yours, whose house is cleaner than yours. But there will also always be someone who has less than you, who struggles to make it through the day, who needs a friend, or who is alone. There is one thing I have learned by playing the comparison game. There are no winners. So I’ve decided to quit playing.
When you begin to start comparing either yourself or your children, I want you to challenge yourself to take the game a different direction. Look around you for those moms who could use a helping hand, a friend, or someone to say “don’t worry about trying to do it all, or be perfect”. Drop a cup of coffee by a mom you know has rough mornings. Offer to take a child off a new mom’s hand for the afternoon so she can sleep when the baby sleeps, or just have a break. Drop a note in a fellow mom’s mailbox and tell her what you admire in her as a mother. We can all be on the same team. It’s time to change up the comparison game.