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.