Hey Moms, What if your baby is just average?
Don’t get mad!
Okay, so we are in a time where we compare and compete. Everyone is in the race to be number 1 at something! Maybe we should start identifying what makes us unique and special, and enhance those qualities so that we don’t have to rely on competition to validate who and what we are. I mean seriously, we even do it with pregnancy and babies. If you don’t believe me. . . keep reading.
My baby started walking at 10 months…
“My baby girl started walking at 10 months old!” The mom in the pink scarf proudly strokes the hair of the little girl sucking on her thumb. I’m sitting in the bus going across town and I’m kinda listening in on the conversation of the two moms in front of me.
“Really?” The mom sitting next to her is listening in unbelief to her and glances over to her daughter who is dozing off. In her eyes, I could swear I saw a look of disappointment while she was looking at her baby girl. She was probably wondering why her child was not yet progressing like the little genius of the lady in pink.
When I have some me-time I love to go window-shopping and just go people watching. As a stay-at-home mom, this is my time to unwind and just relax. The two ladies in the seats in front of me are busy talking about their kids and I act as if I’m not interested and stare out of the window. The two toddlers sitting in their prams are in their own little world not paying attention to the competition going on. Since the second mom got in on the last stop, I’ve been unwillingly eavesdropping on the conversation of these two strangers exchanging stories.
Why do moms always do that?
Why do we feel the need and the urge to compare our babies?
Keeping tabs on the achievements and milestones of your baby is great. I’m all for it! I have a scrapbook that I’m keeping so; I’m totally ecstatic when my little baby does something he couldn’t do before. However, the moment you feel sad, or disappointed at these “great” achievements of your child because someone else is saying he or she should do better since their kids are geniuses, now, that is wrong! When I talk to certain moms the conversation quickly turns into a real contest.
Yes, little Charlie took his first step at 8 months, but not every child is Charlie, nor should my son feel the pressure to keep up with Charlie. Both the parent of Charlie, as Charlie himself is happy with the attention and affection are given to them, so it’s logical that this will prompt good behavior. But what if, your child is the other kid? You know, that kid? The one getting C’s. The one that gets cut from the team? The one that doesn’t want to go to the university? What would you do if this ‘plain Jane’ was your child? Think about it. How would you react, sitting there on that bus? Next to Mrs. Perfect and her wonderful child?
What are we teaching our kids?
I’m a first-time mom and it’s very remarkable how moms unconsciously compare their kids to those of the neighbors and even strangers. One thing I’ve learned so far in motherhood is the following sentence: I can’t compare my son to yours and you shouldn’t want to do so either. As our kids are growing and they hear us talking about them and what they should / have accomplished, how do you think it will influence their self-esteem?
If we as parents keep measuring the abilities and skills of the kids to their peers and siblings it will have an impact on the emotional and social development of these kids. By doing so the parents are (unconsciously) teaching a few things to their kids:
- You’re only special if you do something extraordinary
- I only love you if you have an outstanding grade/skill
- There is a correlation between my affection towards you and your achievements.
The moment you relate affection to behavior, your child knows when he will get praised and when his / her ‘average’ work will not get regarded. This might also trigger a ‘people-pleaser’ behavior which will make him/her an insecure person. These kids are addicted to the opinions and regard of others. I find this very disturbing. A child needs to be nurtured and cared for whether he/she has good grades or not. A positive word, kind gestures, and appreciation makes a child bloom and grow into their own personality. Our love towards them as mothers is the fertilizer, which makes them thrive in this life. So don’t be stingy with your love, please.
When you see your little girl coming home with Cs it might be a great step forward for her, what if she really invested all her energy in getting that grade and she managed to do so, is that wrong? School should be about growing and developing the minds of our kids, not to compare the results of different individuals. See the effort your child made and mention it, even if you think it’s insignificant it can really make a difference in their outlook on life.
As a parent, my main task in life right now is to teach my son what it means to be a healthy, independent and resilient, young man. I want him to grow up and know that my love is unconditional. There are no taboos, he can always come to me with his issues and I won’t judge.
We tend to look at ‘average’ as if it’s something wrong with it. What if average is ‘great’ through the eyes of your child that has difficulties in Mathematics? Isn’t that a win that should be celebrated regardless? I find it sad that people only praise the outstanding performers, what will happen if we also praised that middle child that girl that can’t dance for two pennies and make her feel special. Wouldn’t that be something great?
All kids are special in their own way, I believe this firmly. Mothers, let’s embrace our children flaws without conditions. My philosophy is, you can never give too much love and affection to a child that is what they need from us.’
Books to consider reading: