As parents, we’ve all done it—whether out loud or in our silent thoughts, we’ve compared our children to others. Even though we know it’s wrong, it’s like the world we live in sets us up to make constant comparisons.
Whether it’s the array of contradictory articles online, the unsolicited advice we receive from a certain friend or family member or the “trusted” and often conflicting information we get from medical professionals, there’s always some sort of milestone, either behavioural or physical, that our child should be reaching. And as our child grows to become an adult, the focus shifts to things like scholarly achievements, career advancements and physical capabilities.
Unfortunately, those innocent comparisons we make can be incredibly detrimental. It’s something I’ve had to remind myself of every day, especially when I’ve felt particularly insecure about my daughter and her progress in this first precious year of her life.
Currently, my sweet girl is 11 months old, and I’m so proud of how much she has grown and learned in 11 short months. That said, I would be lying if I denied having ever compared her to other babies, both her age and younger.
My daughter is quite advanced in her fine motor skills, with an impressive vocabulary for such a little thing! In terms of gross motor skills though, like crawling and walking, she seems to be a bit behind the curve (or as much as my educated guess would have me believe).
Deep down, I know that all babies develop at different rates, and that I have nothing to worry about. Yet, I still feel this need every so often to compare. The problem is, if I don’t have faith in my daughter, how is she supposed to build any kind of self-confidence?
Even though I’m not saying it aloud, she can no doubt pick up on the vibes I’m transmitting. And as her mother, it’s my job to be her biggest cheerleader, no matter how I’m feeling on the inside.
When the inevitable time comes for peer pressure, low self-esteem and even bullying, I need to be that strong role model and confidante she can trust. I need to be that steady person in her life who she can count on for unconditional love, support and encouragement.
If it’s not crawling or walking, it will be something else. That kid in her math class may be able to solve problems with ease while she struggles to figure out basic times tables. On the other hand, with her above average height, she may succeed at sports like basketball, while her peers avoid them like the plague. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, all of which make us unique and awesome.
This post today is a little reminder (mainly to myself), that I have a daughter who deserves to be loved and accepted for exactly who she is. And no matter how big or small, I should be celebrating and recognizing her achievements as they come.