The Comparison Trap

posted in: Babies, Motherhood, Parenting, Scrumplet 110 comments

 

“What? He’s rolling already? When did he start doing that?”

At 3 months, 10 days. But he only started doing it on one side!

“He’s sitting up? My baby just….lies there.”

Eh, she’s a month younger, don’t stress it.

“How is it that he’s 5 months old and he can stand?”

He’s not actually ‘standing’, he’s supported by the couch.

“Eh, he’s standing. Mine doesn’t even do the tripod sitting up thing yet.”

Don’t worry, he’ll be sitting soon.Β 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve been posting pictures of Scrumplet doing things that seem beyond his age.

5 month old baby standing

Scrumplet, just over 5 months old, standing supported by the arm of the couch, stealing tissues.

(this picture was shared on my Facebook page – come like it for more beyond-the-blog goodness!)

No, I’m not showing off. I just want to share his chubby thighs for the world to see.

It’s also my way of documenting his baby years.

But by doing so, I’ve opened my baby up to the comparison trap.

One that I’m oh-so-familiar with, having had my first child almost the same time as at least half a dozen of my friends.

Who weaned first, who slept through the night first, who crawled first, who walked first, who said the first word first, who said Mama first.

It wasn’t a competition. It was the opposite of competition which is worse – we were comparing our children to see how far behind ours was, thus feeling awful for a) even comparing and b) felt like we weren’t doing enough for our child if he or she wasn’t on par with his or her peers.

We mothers cannot lay on the self-guilt fast enough. We always think it’s our fault. Something we didn’t do. Something we could have done more of.

I have friends and family who became first-time mothers the same time I had my second.

They’re watching my son’s development, which yes, seems advanced for his age, and they’re worrying about their own babies.

So I am here to tell you: STOP WORRYING AND COMPARING.

Every baby is different. My own two babies are different. They develop at their own pace. They will get there eventually. By the time they are 2, or 3, they all catch up eventually.

Looking at my now nearly 3 year old, no one would have guessed he took his first steps at nearly 15 months old. 3 to 4 months later than his peers.

It didn’t matter then, it most certainly doesn’t matter now.

So friends, unless it’s a worrying developmental delay, please don’t stress. Your baby will roll over, she will sit up, she will, yes, stand, and my goodness, she will be running all over the place and climbing into cupboards before you know it.

Trust me.

Have you ever fallen into the comparison trap before?

Alison
Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).
Alison
Alison
Alison
Alison

Latest posts by Alison (see all)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • October 22, 2012 Laura

    I find myself doing this so much now that I have a baby again. I want him to be excellent, superior. He’s (one of my) pride and joys and I really want to show him off.

    I do this, but I don’t want to. I try not to.

    He’s sitting. Yes. But he’s rolled like twice in his short life. Just enough to say, “look. I’ve done it. Now can we move on?”. I think he’s teaching me to be content with who he is NOW and not worry about anyone else.
    Laura recently wrote…What Do a Busy Mom and a Fisherman Have in Common?My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      The lessons from a baby – isn’t that awesome? Don’t get me wrong, I find myself doing the comparing thing sometimes, but between my own kids. Just sort of like, hey, Scrumplet is doing this like a month before Monkey did. Cool. And I hope that’s that. πŸ™‚

  • October 22, 2012 Julie

    For an anxiety-ridden nutcase, I was surprisingly laid back about developmental milestones during the first year! Any time I’d start to get nervous, he’d do whatever it was he was supposed to do like, “Mom, what’s your problem?”

    πŸ™‚

    I am LOVING the leg chub.

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Yes, exactly! They get there in their own time. Glad you like the leg chub eye candy. πŸ™‚

  • October 22, 2012 Masala Chica

    A friend of mine said it best. Look, I have yet to see a ten year old drinking out of a bottle or a six year old in a diaper. Everyone needs to freaking chill. I mean, don’t neglect them so that you have CPS called on you ass, but embrace the way each of your children grows, no matter the path.

    Family I find is the worst – comparing your first to your second and saying things like – well Shaila was already talking and composing operas by this age and Nico can’t even recite his numbers in Welsh – what’s going on? (Just joking, but still serious. Kind of).

    Kiran
    Masala Chica recently wrote…Try. Try Again.My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, FAMILY. Them. Those people you can’t actually say, “Shut your pie hole! My child is just fine!”

  • October 22, 2012 HapaMama

    Oh yeah. Been there before. I hate to say it doesn’t get any easier as your kids get older. But that aha! moment when you realize what you’re thinking is silly does seem to happen more quickly… Great post!
    HapaMama recently wrote…Pumpkin Curry Chicken Pot PieMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      I know, I still fall into this trap sometimes. I wrote this so that my blog can remind me not to be so anal about these things. πŸ™‚

  • October 22, 2012 AnnMarie

    It’s the worst part of parenting with friends, if you ask me. The company is great…the playdates…wonderful but the comparing…will drive you insane! I am raising Gia while my two younger sisters have sons her age. Gia is my fourth child so I am more laid back having watched my kids reach milestones at different ages. My nephews are the first borns for my sisters and once in awhile this comes up. Hopefully, I help them keep that stuff at bay. I will tell you that I fell into this trap ALL the time raising my twins. It was impossible not to and yes…it made me crazy.
    AnnMarie recently wrote…Wheaton Football: A Mom’s PerspectiveMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      The first-time moms are the most paranoid. I get that, I was there too. So I see it as my duty to tell them to chill out. πŸ™‚

  • October 22, 2012 erin margolin

    um, yes. you’d be describing me. piper isn’t walking yet. she’s not self feeding yet, but won’t let me feed her. very frustrating. she’s babbling but no real words yet. and no, she’s not readiing or potty trained (LOL, today is her 1st bday)….so thank you for this. I need to remind myself more often. it’s so hard. although i’m also going through this with my twins right now. and it’s so in my face b/c they’re together and the same exact age, yet with totally different talents, abilities, strengths, weaknesses….no one told me it would be this hard! i need to let go…
    erin margolin recently wrote…One Sentence at a Time.My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Eh, you know Piper will get there eventually. Twins? Twins is hard. It’s like a built-in comparison trap. I know it’s tough there for you right now, so hang on in there!

      Happy (late) birthday, Piper!

  • October 22, 2012 Alma

    I have been there. Maybe at some point we all do it. The difference is I keep it to myself because I know that every child is different. Both my kids have developed differently and have thought to myself thoughts of comparison. My they are my thoughts. I dont like it when other parents or families put their two cents in. It is easy not avoid but trust your instincts and listen to your voice, its what got me through.
    Alma recently wrote…A Gift Of Inspiration: A Guest Post from the CaptainMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Yes, exactly. If it’s internal, just something you’re noting to yourself, that’s totally normal, especially with your own kids. I do the same. But I try not to with other people’s children. Someone will feel bad regardless.

  • October 22, 2012 Maureen

    You nailed it, Alison! So many of us fell victims of this. I know I did being the worry wart self that I used to be. Those baby books also doesn’t help either. When I saw my friend’s baby who learned the baby sign language back in those early days of motherhood, I was disheartened. I felt like a bad mom for not teaching my son the ‘trend’ of baby sign language. Boy, was I guilty! Today, my son is the eldest in his kindergarten and there are still some things that his younger peers are ahead of him but I had stopped worrying too much (not really sure when did I stopped hah!). He will finally catches on. I’m just happy he is healthy and happy.
    Maureen recently wrote…Little FaithMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Yes, the important thing is that he’s healthy and happy!

  • October 22, 2012 Keely

    When Susannah was 11 months old and sans teeth, I actually had someone say- Are you going to DO anything about that?! (Like, uh…what would you recommend?)
    Keely recently wrote…The Glass Menagerie.My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Hah! What an asshat. (or er, concerned citizen, if it’s like, someone you like, or related to you, ahem)

  • October 22, 2012 Elaine A.

    I think it’s just human nature to do this, especially for first time parents, but yeah, it can get out of hand. I’ve been a “victim” of it myself. πŸ˜‰

    And thanks for sharing the cute, chubby thighs with us!!
    Elaine A. recently wrote…The Burning of Big Tex and My MOST ReTweeted Pic Ever!My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      It is natural, yes. Which is why I consider it my duty to tell first-time parents to chill out. πŸ˜‰

  • October 22, 2012 Tonya

    Ugh! The comparison game when it comes to baby’s firsts (and everything else) really sucks. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in it when your feel like your baby is behind.

    Cute photo!
    Tonya recently wrote…HopeMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Yes, it happened to me with the first, which is why I refuse to do it this time round!

  • October 22, 2012 tracy

    I do so much just want to nibble on his thighs…

    I’m weird in that I wanted my babies to just sit there and NOT MOVE ever because once they start moving…well, holy hell. xo
    tracy recently wrote…Homebody – Outside The Zone #SOCSundayMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Hah yes! Scrumps only gave me 3 months of being able to leave him on the couch/ bed for more than 7 seconds (yes I timed it).

  • October 22, 2012 Courtney Kirkland

    This post is such a great reminder. I get frustrated when moms start playing the compare and contrast game with their kids. Like you said, in a few years, they all level out in one way or another. Some may be better at some things than others, but everyone’s child has a weakness in the end. I think we need to focus more on loving our kids and encouraging their growth than on focusing on where we feel like they are “lagging.”
    Courtney Kirkland recently wrote…It’s all Coming to an EndMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Yes, exactly! I wish moms, especially first-time moms realize this. Hence, I’m here to remind them. Happily so. πŸ™‚

  • October 22, 2012 Leslie

    Great post! It’s so hard not to compare. We all want our kids to be the best and the brightest. But these really aren’t worth the stress. As for scrumplet…it’s fantastic he’s doing so well & I don’t envy the scampering around you’ll have to do when he starts walking soon!
    Leslie recently wrote…Halloween Costumes for a 3-Year OldMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      It’s only natural to want the best of our kids, and feel bad when our children don’t appear to be on par with their peers. But you’re right, we have better things to worry about! (unless it’s a serious developmental delay)

  • October 22, 2012 Jamie

    All mine were well over a year, about 15 mons before they started walking. I never pressured them in part because my mother was freaky about the importance of crawling to brain development. You are so right. It’s best to relax and let nature take its course.
    Jamie recently wrote…Money, Money, Money . . . Can You Ask for It? #SOCSMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      It’s so much more enjoyable (for us and the babies) when we relax, yes?

  • October 22, 2012 Alexandra

    When I meet a woman who compares my kids against hers?

    I head for the hills.

    My litmus test right there.
    Alexandra recently wrote…Scared CleanMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      You’re a wise one, my friend.

  • October 22, 2012 Natalie

    Love this post! Each kid develops at his/her own pace! It definitely can stress you out about hitting certain milestones…when it really shouldn’t and we should just enjoy each stage.
    Natalie recently wrote…Time for Pumpkin Pickin’!My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Absolutely! Which is why I’m totally enjoying Scrumplet’s babyhood.

  • October 22, 2012 lisacng

    My now-2-yr-old also didn’t start walking until late — 16 months! But now, he’s walking and running fine, he’s talking in simple sentences, and he can do all the things the other 2-yr do. Well, except for sitting on the potty. He’s not into that yet, and I’m trying really hard not to compare him to other kids in his daycare class. I need to remember (just like I wrote myself here http://expandng.com/2012/01/day-14-why-im-no-longer-concerned-about/) that he’ll do it when he’s ready and not a moment sooner. Thanks for writing this post to others and to yourself. Kids are all different. Kids do things at different times. Do we really want to spend our days worrying about what milestone they HAVEN’T reached, or do we want to celebrate the ones they HAVE reached? So, when I’m around other parents, I don’t ask “milestone” questions. If they want to talk about it, they can.
    lisacng recently wrote…Are blogs receiving less comments these days?My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Love your perspective -YES! We should be celebrating what they can and have done.

      • October 27, 2012 lisacng

        Uh oh, hope I wasn’t tacky in leaving a link to a related post in your comment section! Sorry if that was offensive! I only leave relevant links not like “visit me and love me” kinda of links!

        Tks for responding!

  • October 22, 2012 Mrs. Weber

    YES! I just made a major mistake – I posted Karina’s 2-month stats on my Facebook. Should not have done that…I boasted she was sleeping through the night and ended up getting a slew of comments from sleep deprived parents. I wasn’t trying to brag, but share for the grandparents/family…I’ll just leave that to email next time! Comparing is EVIL. She may be sleeping through the night, but at 3 months has no interest in rolling over! Every baby is SO different, but all fabulous I’m quickly learning πŸ™‚

    P.S. Love the photo of Scrumplet getting into trouble. Please keep sharing his chubby baby thighs!
    Mrs. Weber recently wrote…Tiny Prints for Gorgeous Holiday Cards {+ Giveaway!}My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Hah, sleeping through the night is something you CANNOT tell other parents πŸ˜‰

      I will most definitely keep everyone posted on Scrumplet’s shenanigans. Heh.

  • October 22, 2012 KalleyC

    When I had Zee, I didn’t really have anyone to compare with. I was the only one in my family to have a young child. However, that didn’t stop family members from asking what can she do now, and telling me when their child (who are now grown adults) did what when.

    I know that when my second comes, I know that I will probably fall into the trap (comparing the first with the second) but I hope I can remember that they are two different people.

    Honestly, the worst time that I have experienced comparison is at the Dr.’s office when he’s asking me why isn’t she don’t xyz yet. now that is annoying.
    KalleyC recently wrote…Four Deadly Words (to moms)My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      You’d think a doctor would know better, right? Gah.

  • October 22, 2012 sarah

    I remember doingthe comparing thing a little the first time around. Eh, it really all evens out eventually. And now with oscar I have to remind myself to let him go and not hold him back just because I’m not ready for him to grow up. Sigh.

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      I know what you mean. Which is sort of why I’m keeping track of Scrumplet’s milestones – I think he’s doing everything far too early and I want him to slow down. πŸ™‚

  • October 22, 2012 Kir

    oh yes, but not of my own making. When the boys were born, I was just happy that they were here, alive, healthy. I listened as dr’s said things like, “big for their gestational age” and “measuring like single babies” ..and I let the rest roll off my back. I wanted them to reach milestones but I wasn’t consumed with when or how.
    My guilty place, comparing them to each other…and that still happens sometimes, I see what Gio is capable of and how Jacob still struggles with it, or vice versa (but I know that it’s a comparison of my own making)

    I know that all children will get there in their own time, that “when” is not as important as the “DOING”.

    the pictures of the boys, just melt me. They are both getting so big…and so handsome.
    Kir recently wrote…Stream of Consciousness: Everybody Plays the Fool..Sometimes?My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      You say so well what I could not. Yes, yes, yes!

      Twins – it’s hard. Like a built-in comparison trap. πŸ™‚

  • October 23, 2012 Arnebya

    They will all eventually get to a place where we will muse over all that they’re doing and wonder why we ever worried. But, yes, I’ve worried. I think we all do. It’s when it becomes overwhelming that we need to realize it’s pointless. It’s easier, I think, when you have more than one child and can see firsthand how babies develop differently. Like you, all three of mine were different in many, many ways. You take it as it comes. Sure, you worry about them not doing something another child is doing but then you remember — whatever; he’s doing this, this, and this, and neither of his sisters did those things until later or at all. So there. (It’s a good rule of thumb to always think your child is better at everything but just never saying it out loud).
    Arnebya recently wrote…This Child Is Your Child, This Child Is My Child (and neither is better than the other. Right?)My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      I LOVE your rule of thumb!! Now, off to read your post! (I know, late. Life, you know.)

  • October 23, 2012 Runnermom-jen

    Yes, yes, and yes…each baby is SO different. Each one of my kids did things in their own time. It is easy to fall into the ‘comparison trap’ though.
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…If You Don’t, Who Will?My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      It is! Hence I’ve appointed myself as a walking talking PSA to not compare your kids! πŸ™‚

  • October 23, 2012 Stasha

    I avoided hanging out with mommy groups after we did a music class when J was a few months old and I saw the comparison wars first hand. We all have our natural strengths and I truly need not compare myself or my son to someone else’s. Everyone in their own sweet time I say…
    Great topic to talk about ALison.
    Stasha recently wrote…Monday ListiclesMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      You’re a smart and amazing mom!

  • October 23, 2012 The Dose of Reality

    So, so true!
    When my oldest was little, I was always such a worrier. It was hard not to compare him to others looking for ways in which he was “behind” —because maybe I wasn’t doing something I should…or maybe I was doing things I shouldn’t. I think I just wasn’t very confident in my own parenting so it led to a lot of second guessing.

    It wasn’t until he was older that I realized all that stress and worry was for absolutely nothing. As I grew into my own as a parent, it helped. I’ve become more laid back and wish I could have been that way all along. For some of us, it takes longer than others, I guess! πŸ™‚

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      You’re right, it’s easier not to fall into the trap when we’re more experienced as parents. They will get there eventually, and we know that once we’ve been there, done that.

  • October 23, 2012 Amanda Jillian

    Oh yeah, not so much with AJ but I get it a ton with Ariel and whenever someone brings it up I’m like well she was 2 months premature, and they shut up lol.
    Amanda Jillian recently wrote…Pumpkins Pumpkins PumpkinsMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Hah! Fair enough. πŸ™‚

  • October 23, 2012 Barbara

    I wish I found myself comparing with strangers’ kids. Instead I find myself comparing between my two boys – something I swore I would never do.
    Barbara recently wrote…Bon Week-endMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Understandably so. It’s inevitable. I do it too sometimes, but more of a, “Hmm, that’s interesting” point of view, rather than one of, OMG my firstborn did this at this age, why isn’t my baby doing the same.

  • October 23, 2012 Kristin

    Oof, yes. Sometimes I think it doesn’t stop…my daughter is 9, and when I speak to other children her age, I end up comparing them in my mind. They speak more clearly, are more comfortable with adults, etc etc. There’s no developmental issues, but it can be SO easy to just think “ok, do I socialize her with adults more? Do we start vocab flashcards? Do we…”

    It’s easy to never reach that “enough” invisible goal in our minds. I try to shush that voice by going over all the amazing things she does and wants to do, that set her apart from her peers, and it usually works πŸ™‚
    Kristin recently wrote…I don’t forgive you…yetMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Celebrate what they CAN do rather than what they can’t do, right? πŸ™‚

  • October 23, 2012 Galit Breen

    *Such* an easy trap to fall into!

    And those thighs? Delicious!

    xo
    Galit Breen recently wrote…Pantene Beautiful Lengths {Locks of Love}My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      I kissed those thighs for you! xo

  • October 23, 2012 Christine

    Isn’t it crazy that posting pictures of cute chubby baby thighs (please don’t stop btw) opens up this whole other line of discussion? And isn’t it crazy that our poor babies are stuck in the comparison trap by no fault of their own? It’s not quite fair. I hated it and remember feeling so insecure with my first and being so worried. At least with the 2nd I could care less so there’s that πŸ™‚
    Christine recently wrote…Going to BootcampMy Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Oh Christine, I am so guilty of being one of those first-time mothers who compared ALL THE THINGS. And I’m so glad that I know better this time round. Poor me back in 2010!

  • October 23, 2012 Jessica

    Hoorah for talking sense! It is so hard to put this into practice (especially as a new mommy) until you have heard someone say it. And then it all falls into place and though you often can’t stop from wondering and sometimes the wonder turns to worry, you can at least lay aside the guilt. Love is all they need, they will bloom in their own time, in their own ways, when they are ready. (also sorry for being such a poor reader/commenter lately.)
    Jessica recently wrote…Pioneer Day, Part #3My Profile

    • October 27, 2012 Alison

      Oh I know what it’s like for the new mommy – been there, done the comparing, felt like crap and decided to stop once and for all. (and it’s okay, you’re busy educating!)

  • October 23, 2012 My Inner Chick

    —Yes, I remember the comparison trap well.

    Mr. L and I were in a parent group where one of the couples continually bragged about their son. “Gavin does this. He’s walking. He’s talking. He’s swimming. He’s speaking French…Blah blah.”

    We still laugh about it now exclaiming…. “I bet Gavin is at Harvard now!”

    Sooo damn annoying.

    Xxxx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Mr. Craig, Kardashian Sucks, & Visualizing MetaphorsMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      It’s the braggy types I simply cannot stand. *throat punch* πŸ™‚

  • October 23, 2012 Ma. Teresa Grech Q. Racal

    This is so true. Every child IS REALLY different from the other.
    Ma. Teresa Grech Q. Racal recently wrote…Amaya’s GirlsMy Profile

  • October 23, 2012 Katie E

    I love the picture πŸ™‚ And I have been guilty – I’ve generally been more relaxed with this third kid, but I’ll admit his plan to not talk has started getting to me recently, especially when I hear friends with kids the same age (or months younger!) talking about all the things their kids are saying. Thanks for the reminder not to compare!
    Katie E recently wrote…A Little Help with Growing Up (Papersalt Books Review)My Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      I’ve been feeling this way with my toddler for a while. He has a large vocabulary in two languages, knows his colors and the alphabet, can count up to 20, he’s just not making sentences! And he’s nearly 3 so it’s now beyond comparing. As the pediatrician says, there’s most likely nothing wrong with him, he may just need a nudge in the right direction.

  • October 23, 2012 Rach (DonutsMama)

    I really had to learn the hard way not to compare. I felt like I was criticizing D for not being where I (or other people) thought she should be. Took me months to realize that she’ll get there when she gets there. Now I fret about her being introverted and not playing as much with other kids or being as adventurous and I realized I need to just STOP and let her be who she is.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently wrote…The Student Has Become the TeacherMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Donut sounds like Monkey at that age πŸ™‚ And yes, stop. Let her be. She’ll come into her own. Just as Monkey has. They’re just naturally a little more cautious, especially around other people. They’ll warm up.

  • October 23, 2012 angela

    Yes … sigh. Between my own. A talked so early, and D was slightly behind. But after her he seemed even MORE behind, but I thankfully talked myself out of my tizzy πŸ™‚
    angela recently wrote…Tender is the Night – A Book ReviewMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Yay for common sense! πŸ™‚

  • October 23, 2012 Lady Jennie

    It’s so true that I’m more likely to do the opposite of comparing – worry about my own kids than be puffed up with pride. I think I finally got it right with the third. I just so enjoy it, even though he seems behind in a lot of ways. I’m not in the least bit worried.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…BraveryMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      You’re an awesome Maman.

  • October 23, 2012 The Mommy Therapy

    I don’t often compare my children, but I compare myself to other Moms all the time. I see what others are doing or not doing and wonder why I can’t get it together like they are. It is a losing game for sure, but it is a constant battle with myself to not participate.

    Those thighs though? You should totally be bragging about those thighs. He’s too cute!
    The Mommy Therapy recently wrote…Perhaps My Inadequacies Are Just Wonderful In DisguiseMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Stop! Don’t compare yourself. At all. We are all different, yet the same. Even we develop as our own pace as mothers. Some people are just more natural at it than others. You’re doing great!

  • October 23, 2012 Erin

    Such good advise! You are right it is so easy to begin worrying when you hear about other children and their abilities. Again, you are correct with the fact that all children do in fact develop at their own pace. I always have/had stuck in my brain that if there was something wrong I wanted to make sure to get help as soon as possible. The sooner the better . . . this is carved in my brain. I see children every day {at work} who struggle and who are behind and often it’s because their parents simply didn’t realize that their children weren’t quite doing what they should be {Not trying to judge. I know the parents love their children and what the best for them. To put it simply it’s just the lack of knowledge regarding what’s developmentally appropriate.} Oh if only there were a manual for parenting.
    Erin recently wrote…7 Year Old Phineas and Ferb BirthdayMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Oh yes, I absolutely believe you need to keep an eye out for a delay when they’re clearly struggling and not doing what they should be doing in that age range. It’s that range that I think is important to note for parents – kids can walk between 8 months to 18 months. But when they don’t beyond 18 months, then yes, do something.

  • October 23, 2012 MommaKiss

    my boys are 7 and 5. I’m still comparing. not in a bad way – but in a “huh, that’s interesting way.”
    also, thank you for the thighs. smoochalicious.
    MommaKiss recently wrote…Life as a leftyMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Yes, me too!

  • October 23, 2012 vanita

    those legs! i love ’em. great advice girl. love it when you tell it as it and then end by being all bossy
    vanita recently wrote…Blog Moving MiseriesMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Haha! I AM bossy.

  • October 23, 2012 Julia

    That is such a hard trap to fall into, isn’t it?
    At the beginning, I did a lot of baby comparisons. Not to judge, but because you want to make sure that your child is doing ok, that you are doing ok as a Mommy.
    But you are so very right…none of that matters does it? The milestones matter, but not when they happen, and all children will grow up when they are ready.
    I love this reminder to remember that children and time happen on their own.
    Julia recently wrote…When A Mommy Heart BreaksMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Yes, a little check here and there is totally okay. It’s when moms start stressing and putting pressure on their children, that shouldn’t happen. Yes, let them happen when they happen.

  • October 24, 2012 Lucy

    Comparison is one of those facts of human nature that we need to slowly remove from the gene pool, evolving away from comparison and towards the empowering knowledge that every one of us, and every child, is perfect, unique and whole. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”
    Lucy recently wrote…writing just to write, but not posting just to postMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Perfect, just perfect, Lucy.

  • October 24, 2012 Sandra

    Of course the kid is advanced beyond his age…look at his super duper Rockstar mother!!! Seriously though, this comparison stuff is the reason I avoided all those mommy-and-me groups. My first child was quite a little firecracker, but the others weren’t so quick….although the first one is now 16 and has reverted to the years when all he could do was be propped up by pillows.

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Haha! Teenagers.

  • October 24, 2012 Phase Three of Life

    Ryan didn’t walk until 15 months either, and I never worried about it. I knew it was just sort of his cautious nature to not do things until he was 100 percent confident he wouldn’t fall. I knew he was capable and would do it in his own time. But I did worry that OTHERS worried about it. I wanted to constantly reassure people that *I* wasn’t worried because I always felt like people were saying “oh yes, I’m sure he’ll walk soon!” just to make me feel better, even thought I felt fine.

    No idea whether I’m making any sense. Bottom line: Totally agree that we shouldn’t compare.
    Phase Three of Life recently wrote…Fall: East Coast vs. Desert.My Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      I know what you mean! My own mother would ask, is he doing this yet, or that? So and so’s child is. Drives.Me.Crazy.

  • October 24, 2012 Greta

    My sisters-in-law and I did it a lot when we had our babies (my first, their third and second) because they were all born in the same year. It’s so hard not to! And now with my third and her cousin….it’s happening again, even behind closed doors. Ack!
    Greta recently wrote…Project 365: Week 42My Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      It can be hard, with family especially. Sigh.

  • October 24, 2012 Charlotte

    I imagine it’s very difficult not to fall into this trap. I remember chatting with one of my best friends a few months after she had her first and she was saying things like, “I can’t believe her teeth haven’t come in yet,” and I thought, I don’t even HAVE kids, so there’s no sense in comparing to my babylessness! And I wanted desperately to hug her. We put enough pressure on ourselves; we don’t need to apply any more when it comes to our children reaching certain goals.

    As you said, they all make it there eventually πŸ™‚
    Charlotte recently wrote…baby strollers are not meant to be used as weaponsMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Oh go hug your friend and tell her, from a mother of two here, that her baby WILL BE JUST FINE. πŸ™‚

  • October 24, 2012 Crystal

    My daughter started walking at 9-months. Today at 10-months, she’s running! She has hit all her milestones early. My three boys were either right on time or late. They all develop differently and when they are ready. πŸ™‚
    Crystal recently wrote…7 Biggest Facebook Posting BlundersMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Oh my, a running 10 month old, that’s kind of exhilarating and scary. πŸ™‚

  • October 24, 2012 Amanda

    This time around, I am NOT in a rush for my baby to do anything. I want to preserve his babyness for as long as possible – I know how quickly it passes! Lilah walked very early, at nine and a half months and that opened her up for major comparisons, but I now know what a pain in the butt a walking baby is! She had absolutely zero concept of danger and I spent many months with my heart in my throat chasing a fearless baby on the move. Now I know not to rush things too much, and not to worry about what anyone else’s baby is doing or what my baby isn’t doing. As you say, barring a major developmental delay, babies will just do things on their own time, whether we stress about it or not.
    Amanda recently wrote…Patch.My Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Oh me too. Second time motherhood is such a gift isn’t it? I’m absolutely just enjoying the baby and his babyness.

  • October 24, 2012 Kristin

    Yes, I’ve absolutely played the comparison game, if only in my own head. (I tried not to verbalize it too much and risk letting others in on my neuroses.) πŸ˜‰ But I distinctly remember fretting over how Lil’ Bit had not yet rolled from back to belly or started crawling by the time she was 10 months old. Looking at her now, two years later, I have to laugh at how stupid I was – the kid RUNS everywhere she goes and is a total stomach-sleeper. πŸ˜‰

    That said, I used to have a friend (the one with whom I’ve since cut ties and have mentioned here before), who drove me crazy with the way she constantly compared our daughters’ vocabularies. Hers is a month younger than mine and both are very bright girls. But whenever we were out together, her daughter would clam up while mine chattered away. And my former friend would harp on and on about how her daughter talked all the time at home and how both of our kids had such amazing vocabularies and, really, I should hear how much her daughter talked at home… and so forth and so on. I just wanted to be like, “Enough already!” And in our eventual falling out, I did call her on it and essentially told her she needed to get a grip.
    Kristin recently wrote…7 Life Lessons Learned at the Pumpkin PatchMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Wow, competitive much, our friend? πŸ™‚

  • October 25, 2012 Jessica

    For awhile I was comparing my two kids. Then I stopped because I realized they are so opposite.
    Jessica recently wrote…Because Sunglasses Aren’t Just For Summer {Giveaway}My Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Much more productive doing other things like concocting cocktails, right? πŸ™‚

  • October 26, 2012 Robin

    Totally. C didn’t roll until 8 months – way after the rest of the babies in our group. I didn’t worry about it. One thing I managed not to stress over!
    Robin recently wrote…23 DaysMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      Rolling over is somewhat overestimated. Some babies go straight to sitting up without managing a roll. And by the time these kids are 2, they’re all leveled out. Glad you didn’t worry about it!

  • October 27, 2012 Kimberly

    Ugh, I cannot stand the comparison trap! The worst is when I feel it from our pediatrician. I get that they are our doctor and have the averages of other kids, but that’s it. They are just averages. Kaleb didn’t sit up until he was 11 months old. He didn’t walk until he was 19 months old. They wanted to put him in early intervention for both of those things. I refused, saying that each develops at their own pace and I could see that there wasn’t anything ‘wrong’ with him. He was just my more cautious child. And you know what? He still is like that.

    And Logan? He’s over 4 months now and still doesn’t roll over. He did it once completely by accident and has never done it again. He’s happy just laying there and I’m perfectly ok with that.

    Can of worms? Opened. πŸ˜‰
    Kimberly recently wrote…Essence Of Now: Weddings and SunshineMy Profile

    • October 28, 2012 Alison

      A mother knows best, clearly. πŸ™‚

  • October 29, 2012 Katie

    With Eddie I worried ALL THE TIME. I read “What to Expect…The First Year” and checked things off that he could do or that he was over-achieving at and then fretting about the stuff he wasn’t doing yet. I did the same thing when I was pregnant with him by reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

    With Charlie? None of the above. I sometimes compare him to his brother, but not in a worrying sort of way. Just in a “huh. they are different” sort of way. It’s so much better to NOT stress out and just enjoy πŸ™‚
    Katie recently wrote…Project 365 {week 43}My Profile

    • October 29, 2012 Alison

      Yes! Comparing our own kids with each other to note how interesting, totally okay. Because we’re not beating ourselves up over what they can’t do etc, instead we’re like, hey you can do this, awesome. And you’ll do everything else by the time you’re this age.

I Write This Blog

Alison Profile PictureI'm Alison. Writer, a mother of four (two boys and boy/ girl twins), social media enthusiast and book lover. A believer in the power of chocolate and hugs. Chugging coffee as I type. Want to know more?

The Books I’m In (Buy Now!)

I Am On Google+

Oldies But Goodies