I wrote this article (many!) years ago for MOPs, when Stephen was a baby, but how true it still is (even with babies 3 and 4)…from Jenny’s archives, enjoy!
The Other Mom and I face-off, right there in Starbucks, our 10-month old sons on our hips.
“Does he sleep through the night?” She challenges.
“Is he walking yet?” I counter.
“How much did he weigh when he was born?”
“How many teeth does he have?”
“Is he still breastfeeding?”
“Can he say ‘ma-ma’?”
“Does he eat his fruits and vegetables?”
The babies blink at each other and serenely suck their pacifiers.
Other Mom and I pretend this barrage of questions is friendly fire—strangers kindly interested in each other’s children—but we both know it’s open war. We have reached the grand finale.
“Does he know any sign language?”
“What height percentile is he in?”
And finally, in unison, smiling, our heads cocked to the side: “He is just TOO cute!”
We smile and say our good-bye’s, mentally tallying the score as we walk off. I think, Stephen sleeps through the night, nurses, and has eight teeth. We totally rocked that. Go Team Vogan!
As much as I hate to admit it, almost anytime I spot a mom with a kid around the same age as mine, we engage in a mompetition to see whose is more advanced (mine, duh). Despite the irresistible lure of mompetitions, I’m trying to avoid them for a few main reasons.
First, I think it’s dangerous to have our self-esteem so wrapped around our children’s abilities. My son having more teeth definitely does not make me a better mom, but I always feel proud about it. At the same time, I shouldn’t feel crushed because someone else’s son started walking before mine. We need to let our kids develop at their own pace, and not judge our parental skills based on our children’s development. Our children can be a reflection of us, but they are unique individuals who explore the world in their own time.
Second, we shouldn’t feel smug about being blessed with healthy children. I read an article about a mom whose son has Down’s syndrome. When other moms were asking her if he could walk at 12 months, he couldn’t even sit up by himself. She had to develop her own timetable and not get discouraged about her son’s challenges. If we have healthy children, we should rejoice that they develop at any kind of average pace—average is good!
Finally, we should not pressure kids to advance faster than they’re ready. Just as God patiently allows us to learn lessons in time, we should be patient with our children and sensitive to their individual needs.
Good luck out there, fellow Mompetitors! If your child was born sometime around July 16, 2007, call me—I have some questions I need to ask you.