I know as human beings, it’s only natural that we compare ourselves to other people, and as mothers, we begin to compare our own children to other children. When I was pregnant with Soleil, I must’ve read every single baby book available. I had Baby Center updates emailed to me on a weekly basis, and every time I read one I would compare what Soleil was doing to what this email said she should be doing. Is she lifting her head, yet? Can she roll over? Why hasn’t her first tooth come in? She’s six months, why isn’t she crawling, yet? And so on and so on…
When I first had Soleil, the only moms (aside from family members) I had been around were a couple of old friends of mine who had just had their first babies, too. We shared our excitement for the new little ones who made us mothers. We shared our stories of accomplishments, disappointments, and challenges. For me, it was a huge relief to know they had just as difficult a time with their babies, as I was having with mine. Only words of encouragement, support and understanding were spoken.
It wasn’t until I encountered a few other moms, that I began to experience a different side of motherhood. A side that I don’t like, and personally don’t understand. It’s where motherhood transforms from something beautiful to something ugly.
I remember telling a mom how I was finally able to pump an entire 4oz of breastmilk in one session. For me, this was a huge feat. With Soleil I struggled to pump any milk, and was supplementing with formula. Then, when I became pregnant with Selene, my supply dwindled and I had no choice but to put Soleil on formula full-time. I felt defeated. So the second time around I was determined to exclusively breastfeed Selene.
Those may not have been her exact words, but that was the gist of it. I was honestly taken back by her response. Were we competing to see who produces more milk? Congratulations, you won!
Then there’s this whole potty-training issue. Neither of my girls are potty-trained and I am perfectly fine with that. Yes, Soleil is nearly 3 and still in diapers. Yes, I know there are people out there that have their 18-month-olds completely potty-trained. But I honestly feel no one should have an opinion on the matter because you’re not the one changing her diapers so it doesn’t affect you. Am I right?
Having your child potty-trained at 18 months (Yay for your kid!) doesn’t make you any better of a parent than I am. Just like me having a daughter speak in complete sentences (Go, Selene!) at 20 months doesn’t make me a better parent than you are. Nor does it make your child better than mine or vice versa. Children develop at their own pace.
There are times when I hold myself back from sharing what the girls have done because I don’t want to be met with catty remarks, or make someone feel like I’m comparing my child to theirs. When I share my accomplishments as a mom, or my kids’ accomplishments, I do so because they are moments to celebrate. I don’t do so with the intent to brag, or to rub it in another mom’s face. I do so with the expectation that I am going to be met with love, support, happiness and excitement.
When a mom tells me her child has reached a milestone, I feel nothing but joy and excitement for the mom and her child, and I usually have a big smile on my face because I’m reminded of how I feel every time one of my girls accomplishes something new. It’s such an exhilarating feeling!
Motherhood is hard. I know I struggle with it on a daily basis and it’s an ongoing process. So the next time another mom shares something with you, keep in mind that she’s probably sharing because she’s excited and proud of her child. Don’t ruin her moment by making it into a competition. Instead share in her happiness and remember how you feel when your child reaches a new milestone!
And if the mom is rubbing it in your face and annoying the crap out of you, karate chop her in the neck. I kid. LOL.