I saw this quote on Pinterest and loved it!
I know this to be true.
We see comparison all the time amongst women and mothers.
But today I don’t want to talk about comparing ourselves to other women, I want to talk about comparing our children.
And how comparing our children to each other and to other children can rob us and them of joy.
First of all, I know what it is like to be compared. When you have a sister a year and a half older than you and a sister a year and a half younger than you, comparison is inevitable. I knew my whole life that my younger sister was prettier than me. Everyone told me so. But they told me I was smarter so that was some how supposed to make it okay that they just compared us. Neither one of us benefited from those comparisons.
As much as I vowed, I would never compare my own kids (because I know it is painful), sometimes I still do. This one is nicer, this one is smarter, this one is more like me, this one is more athletic, …
It is not that we can’t notice differences in our children. To see them all the same would actually be irresponsible parenting. Each child is unique and has his/her own talents, skill sets and weaknesses- and we must parent accordingly. But comparison comes in when we note the differences and then attach a judgment or a value or a label to the difference.
And I feel the worst when I compare my children to other people’s children.
I don’t do it often (because I think my kids are pretty great), but every once in awhile I will find comparison creeping in to my mind. My kid can’t do that as well as Kid A. I wish my daughter was like Kid B. My son is smarter than Kid C, etc. But I find myself comparing Locke to other kids the most.
He is severely speech delayed. He is 32 months old and his vocabulary is about 7 words and lots of grunts.
Sometimes when I am babysitting my friends’ kids and the little one year olds come up to me and say “Cracker” or “I want some milk” or “I watch Tangled” I feel sad or robbed or jealous. How much easier would parenting be if my child could just tell me want he wanted? Instead I endure tantrums and screams and grunts- all because the kid wanted a napkin, but couldn’t find the word.
But when I look at little Locke for just what he is and I don’t compare him to anyone but himself, he is enough. I feel joy with his snuggles, his dance moves, his eyelashes, his amazing brain, his cheesy smile and with each new sound or word he creates. I could get hung up on the fact that he has 93 words less than other kids his age or I could find love and joy with all that he does have.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy.