Do you ever wonder what it would be like if you stopped worrying about your child’s development for one second? [Incredible? Freeing? What would I spend my time thinking about?] I am pretty positive that most of my time is dedicated to watching my child develop, scrolling through instagram/facebook, spotting other people’s children reaching milestones, questioning why my child hasn’t started doing x, y, z yet, googling childhood milestones frantically, and then worrying until my child starts doing x, y, z. [It is a vicious cycle. I can’t stop. Help.]
Why do I do this to myself? I have found myself constantly comparing my child to every other child in the universe. Instead of celebrating and reveling in the milestones, I find myself anxiously awaiting the next. He can hold his head up, yet when will he sit up? He can sit up, yet when will he crawl? He can crawl, when will he start to pull up? It seems that this stage of wonderment will never end. As mothers it is easy to get lost in the cycle of “is my baby normal?”. It starts from birth – are they breathing? how many toes does he have? why won’t she latch? did he pass his hearing screening? – the incessant need to make sure that our child is as perfect as we view them. And who can blame us? These are our children, we are responsible for them, their development, and their livelihood. Because if not us, then who?!
Currently, I am blessed to have multiple friends with children age 2 and under. This is helpful in many ways – giving and receiving advice, snapchats of cute kids, and birthday cake every weekend [Is it just me or is every Saturday birthday party day? How am I supposed to be on a low carb eating plan if there’s delicious cake every weekend? What is a summer body anyway?!] With these friends comes many child related discussions. “Guess who just sat up!”, “Guess who got a tooth!”, “Guess who just waved bye bye!”, “Guess who just took their first steps!”. Yes, I love getting these messages. Yes, I love celebrating with your baby and you. Yet, I can’t stop the natural urge to compare my child to yours. Why isn’t my baby standing/walking/talking/sleeping/teething?! [Honestly – it is enough to make you go insane. You should see my google history….you would be ashamed.] In the beginning I drove myself insane with these thoughts. [Not sure how I didn’t end up in an institution.] It was constant, continuous, and CRAZY as hell.
As the first year of my child’s life rapidly comes to a close, I consider each milestone to be bittersweet. While one part of me is happy he can finally pull up, wave bye-bye, and sleep through the night [THANK YOU, LORD!] another part of me deep down inside is sad. I am sad that he is no longer a baby. I am sad that in a few long, yet quick years I will drive him to his college campus, unpack his dorm room, and wish him off into adulthood. It is moments like these that I wish for another child. [But could I ever go back through all of that? The sleeplessness, the hormonal swings, the pumping?!?!] If I was blessed with another child like this one, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. [Don’t freak out, this time I would like to be a little more prepared!] With that said, I will leave you with a quote that I have carried with me:
“Comparison kills creativity and joy” -Brene Brown