Us versus Them

by The Momma on February 23, 2011

This past weekend, we took the Noodle to his very first kid’s birthday party. One of his little cohorts turned two, and so off we went to enjoy pizza, cake, and other kids.

Of course, what did the Daddy & I do the whole time? Compare ourselves and the Noodle to other parents and kids–well, when we weren’t chasing after him trying to keep him out of someone else’s kitchen cabinets.

It’s easy to keep from comparing in certain situations: online, at daycare, at the beach. But something about this birthday party really brought out the analyzing. Maybe it’s because this is a group that we “know”, so there’s more of an understanding of how the parents are as people and how that might play into their parenting styles? I don’t know exactly, but it was clearly full-force comparing.

As the Daddy and I talked on the way home, we pinpointed some things we weren’t exactly thrilled with how we had handled, some things that we were glad to see other parents had to deal with too, and some things that we thought we handled just right–for our kid. We saw some kids who were further along than the Noodle in some areas, but behind in others. We saw a larger range of kid development in that 90 minutes than we had in a while. I don’t know if it was good or bad, but it was notable.

I don’t know that there’s anything that can be done about the almost reflexive need to compare ourselves and our kid to others. We want to make sure we’re not doing things wrong, or that our kid isn’t too far behind. We want to see if we can learn things, or if we, for once, feel like we have a leg up on other people about something. I’m sure this is nowhere near the last time that it will happen.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan February 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm

We all compare. And, it’s dumb, but we can’t seem to stop, I guess.

I mostly do it over silly things. Like, at the doctor yesterday, this mom came in with her two girls who were both dressed in a adorable outfits. Their hairstyles were perfect, and they all just looked so together, even the mom.

I didn’t have Charlotte with me, but if I had, I can guarantee she would have been wearing her favorite bug t-shirt with some baggy, pink, leggings: her outfit of choice these days. Her hair would have been all puffy because I can’t seem to tame the fro that is Charlotte’s mane. And her sweater wouldn’t have matched her outfit because we don’t HAVE a sweater that matches that outfit.

And me? I was sitting there with greasy hair because I was up all night with her and didn’t have time to shower before my doctor’s appt. So, needles to say I felt somewhat inadequate at that moment. But, I just have to remind myself that I’m a good mom, and I like acquiescing to Charlotte’s crazy wardrobe choices (when appropriate) because I’m honoring her taste and individuality.

Maybe that mom does the same thing, and she’s just lucky her kids have better taste than mine does.

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TheDaddyYoDude February 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm

I think in parts it is our nature to compare our children with other children and our parenting with others’ parenting. While it may be something that is odd, and to some who consider it wrong, I think it can also be the common denominator to open up discussion and dialogue. We are all different in how we do things, but so much the same as well.

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