Dealing with Common Comparison Traps

Most moms can’t help but compare certain aspects of their performance or their child’s development to that of other mothers or children. While it’s natural for you to ask your friend when her baby started crawling and wonder why your own child hasn’t begun yet, it’s something that you should avoid doing. 

Falling into such comparison traps will only stress you out and might rob you of the joys of watching your child grow at their own pace. So, in order to help you maintain a healthier and more positive outlook, here are a few things you can do to avoid falling into four of the most common comparisons traps that new moms experience:

Developmental Milestones:

Each child will grow at their own pace, so there really isn’t any point in comparing when your child cracks their first smile, takes their first step or says their first word with other children, nor should you worry or feel bad if your child hasn’t reached certain milestones that other children have yet. It’s fine to keep an eye out for potential developmental problems, but if you’ve discussed your concerns with your pediatrician and have been told that your baby is fine, then don’t waste your time worrying.

Remember: the pace that your child follows to reach certain developmental milestones will not affect their abilities or future potential, so you really have nothing to worry about as long as your baby falls within the limits of what’s normal, and the one to determine what’s normal and what isn’t is your pediatrician, not your family members, friends or neighbors.

Child Behavior:

Does your child have an unruly temperament that leaves you cringing when you take them grocery shopping with you? While disciplining your child is part of your duties as a parent, it helps to keep in mind that certain personality traits are innate and aren’t the results of poor parenting. 

A short attention span, being energetic, and a strong sense of curiosity that can leave you running around your child when you’re out dining with the family are all traits that your child is simply born with, just as they would be born with brown eyes or black hair. 

Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your child with quiet children who spend time coloring in their art books or quietly eating their lunch in their highchairs. Instead, realize that all children have their moments when they’re tantrum-ridden, defiant and past all logic or reason no matter how angelic they might appear at first, and instead focus on using appropriate disciplining strategies that correct your child’s behavior. With time and patience, your efforts will be rewarded with a well-mannered and intelligent young child, which is what all parents hope for.

Homemaking Skills:

You might not be as adept at making your own baby food, keeping your house in tiptop shape, and looking impeccable at every social gathering with friends as your new mom friend might be, but no one said you needed to be! Don’t compare yourself to your supermom friend or acquaintance and despair; all mothers want to do the best that they can, but each person has their own capabilities and strengths. 

So instead of asking yourself “why can’t I be more like her?” and getting yourself down, focus on your own parenting and homemaking strong points instead when you feel discouraged. And remember, if there are areas in your skills that need honing (which is the case with all mothers), then think of ways to improve them.

Relationship Situation:

Having a baby for the first time can put a married couple’s relationship under a lot of stress, particularly since both parents are still unsure how to adapt themselves to their new parental responsibilities. The last thing you should be doing at such a time is placing more strain on your relationship by comparing your spouse to that of a friend or acquaintance who is particularly supportive and understanding. To overcome this trap, remember that no one is perfect, and neither are other people’s relationships. 

A couple that is all smiles in public might be completely dysfunctional behind closed doors, and even if they are not, they have their own challenges and problems to deal with. Focus on appreciating what you have and work with your partner to tackle problems together as a team, even if sometimes your team doesn’t perform so well at first, you’ll eventually get there with patience, perseverance and understanding.