I distinctly remember the first time I realized that parenting was a competition. It was in the Mothers of Multiples group. The twins were three months old, one boy and one girl, cute and precious at the very sight of them, and she was just at the beginning of the “rolling over” phase. All of us mom’s in the same room overjoyed with the opportunity to have multiples, well some of us anyway. There was one particular mom, you know the one, that was pleasantly put all together. Looking as though the word stress or fear was never in her vocabulary. She proudly announced, “Victoria is already walking!”
Victoria’s mom gladly shared that she was way over the charts for motor skills. That she danced to anything that talked about Jesus. Learning colors were going to be the next thing she teaches her. The pediatrician had noted that she was very advanced for her age and to expect more accomplishments like this before others.
I looked at my twins, who were laying there on the carpet like a, well, baby, and knew we had some work to do. Just wait until I come back next month, not only one, but both, will be rolling over. THEN we’ll see who’s advanced! Let’s do this - as Rocky music played in the background of my head.
The Beginning Of Comparison
In my MOPS group, I found that Pampers wasn't the popular choice, but indeed Huggies had you in the cool kids group. Mothers discussed which strollers were best, which car seats were the safest, and why they decided to go ahead and purchase a van instead of a sedan. They vacation a lot better.
By elementary school, I figured out that the cool moms were the same girls who were cool in high school. DANG IT! They pulled off the "Humble Brag" beautifully: "Shelby hardly had time to finish her science project because we spent Spring Break in Florida." Their kids came by cool naturally: they inherited it.
I didn't fit in with the Smart Moms who were hell-bent on collecting every possible achievement certificate known to man....for their kids, I mean. No, mine were the one’s that received awards for ART and PE. Colleges look at that kind of stuff, so it's important to start early, in case we have a Picasso or a Joe Namuth in the making.
On and on. Ignorantly comparing, competing and trying to fit in. Trying to out-do.
Just like high school. Only now we've added our kids' achievements into the competition.
Of course, no one can ever measure up to the others. No matter how "perfect" your kid is, there is always someone's kid with a higher GPA, someone who skips JV and makes Varsity, someone who models part-time for Nordstrom, someone who wins the cooking contest, someone who signed a full-ride academic or athletic scholarship....and sometimes we cave in to the pressure of adding more activities and pressure on ourselves (and kids) just to try and keep up. We don't want to be left behind having to catch up.
Let’s stop “one-upping” and start enjoying.
I've found that when I don't worry about the Victoria’s of this world, walking a full two months ahead of the 95 percentiles, I can celebrate in my baby rolling over whenever she wanted to. When I stop comparing myself to my kids’ school moms and their kids' amazing achievements, I can relax and enjoy where I'm at - today - with my kids and their achievements within themselves. Acknowledging with them that Middle and High School are rough anyway.
Am I the only crazy one?
[clickToTweet tweet="We tell our kids not to compare themselves to their peers. Yet, we do it our self." quote="We tell our kids not to compare themselves to their peers. Yet, we do it our self."]
We tell them to be their own person and to do things their own way. The way they've learned or to practice what's been preached.
Stop comparing our parenting styles, our incomes, our kids' achievements and our own, to those of parents around us. Stop giving ourselves the short end of the measuring stick. Stop thinking that we are behind, or less than, or failures as parents.
Because let’s get honest - High school was way over-rated.
Prayer: Lord, help me to not covet and compare my children with others. Thank you for giving me my children; entrusting them to me. Thank you for giving me everything I need to parent them, encourage them, love them and lead them. God, may I continue to walk in humility with my children’s accomplishments and celebrate with others of their own. Amen.