I’ve recently been talking to a couple of new mums, because my boy is a couple of months older than their babies, naturally they were asking about milestones that I have already been through with my boy and they were yet to face. I’ve noticed that they were a little concerned about the time their babies were taken to achieve some of the milestones. As they shared their worries with me, I couldn’t help but feel upset to see those lovely new mums who were doing a brilliant job have been affected by some of the things they were told by others. It’s bad enough that every new parent questions everything they do, often doubting themselves, unsure if what they do is the right thing. It takes time to learn to trust your own self and your inner instincts when you become a parent for the first time.
Don’t listen to anyone
As new parents we turn to various sources, to seek the best advice when it comes to looking after our precious little bundles of joy, including other, more experienced parents.
‘When did my baby start to sit, to stand, to crawl, to walk, to eat solids, when did he say his first word or had his first tooth…’ these milestones I record in my boy’s little diary but I don’t use it as something to show off in front of others. I mean what is there to show off? it’s not measurable, is it? It’s just something, just like many other parents, I want to record so that one day we could look back at it and drift into the world of lovely memories.
The mothers I was talking to, anxiously showered me with this kind of questions, asking all about my baby’s first milestones and most importantly the age he has reached those.
I tried my best to emphasize that it was not a race and they should not let anyone make them feel as if they were competing in the Olympics. I gave them an example of myself as a baby; according to my mother she potty trained me at the age of seven months (amazing if you ask me, because some babies don’t even sit confidently at that age), but when it came to talking, I didn’t start until I was two and a half (whilst I know some babies start saying words and even put sentences together by the age of one and a half or earlier). It is so individual and is different from child to child. As long as baby is healthy, the comparison of milestones cannot and should not be used as a measurement indicator, as it indicates absolutely nothing.
I did my best to reassure the mothers I was talking to, helping them understand that they didn’t have to play the ‘comparison’ game, and parent the way they feel fit and right for their babies.
‘Oh your boy is way ahead and advanced so it’s different’ I was told recently by one of the ‘My Baby has a PhD at 7 months whilst yours is just about learning to roll on and from his back’ kind of mums. Interestingly, she compared her daughter to my son and according to her my son was developing faster than her child and I’ll be honest it didn’t sound like a compliment.
So, my son is ‘advanced and was different’, what is this supposed to mean? Or perhaps the fact that he started to eat solids at 7 months means that he is a genius and has pocketed a Nobel prize?! Or was it her way of shutting me up so I did not share my experience or advice with other mothers ( the conversation happened during mothers and babies group meeting), for the reason only she knows.
How did the fact that my son had eight teeth at 9 months put my boy into ‘different’ category? So, how about the fact that he still needs to be rocked and sleeps only with us; not an independent sleeper at the age of 14 months …so if we follow this game, this must put my boy behind others?
To what I was told ‘Oh then you need to do this and that to fix it…’. First you tell me my boy is advanced, now he is behind and needs fixing, and after all those wise conclusions you take it upon yourself to tell me what to do to ‘fix’ my son.
Well, how about I don’t need to do anything I don’t see fit for my son and how about you don’t take teeth growth as a sign of advancement!
Let’s be honest, why so many of us feel this urge to rush to get there? Where is this there…?
Our babies might take their time to reach each of the milestones but they will all grow up, they will all learn to use a bathroom or hold a fork, and they will all have all teeth they need!
Every child develops differently, not the right or the wrong way, just their way! Some learn to walk before they crawl! Fantastic! Others learn to sit before they roll! Brilliant!
No one has the right to take it upon themselves to criticise and tell others what and how to do. Sharing a view or experience or offer any advice if asked that’s one thing, and it’s completely different from criticising and imposing an opinion and view, affecting ones’ self-esteem and planting an idea of some sort of inadequacy in development, where there is none.
It is inevitable, that along the way we will come across different types of parents, all trying to do their best for their child (some more focused on their own ambitions at times) but those parents should not affect the way we are as parents and I am as a mother. I will continue to share my experience and learn from the lovely mothers and fathers I meet and hope that I could also bring value to them, using the experience I have with the ‘competitive’ type of parents as a good laugh.
Surely no one praises themselves with the fact that they were potty trained at six months whilst filling up a job application?! or am I missing something?
Why compare? All kids are different and that’s exactly what makes them all unique! Just enjoy your kid and let me enjoy mine!