As a new mother, there are always going to be missteps and mistakes. Pounding on the guilt won’t help you become a better mom, chatting to others in the same boat about it, will…
My husband and I went out with our daughter to the pharmacy to get some prescription medications and supplies for her one day. As we are waiting in the queue, my very energetic 14 months old was running around, dancing, pulling stock off the shelves and singing happily as other customers watched her causing all this havoc. I picked her up before she caused any damages that would cost me money… not in this economy!
As I am holding her, I noticed a lady holding a little boy who seemed a bit under the weather. To distract my child as I know she loves other children, I went over to the mother and her bundle.
My daughter was so excited and wanted to hug and play with him, but he didn’t look keen to entertain her gestures. I struck a conversation with his mother out of curiosity, and we got into a comfortable chat.
SHE ASKED HOW OLD MY DAUGHTER IS AND I ASKED THE SAME. I NOTICED HER RELUCTANCE TO REVEAL ANYTHING ABOUT THEMSELVES.
Of cause I probed further and asked if he had just turned a year. Surprisingly I received an answer from a male voice I hadn’t noticed… his father.
“HE IS 13 MONTHS OLD, AND HE WON’T WALK”. HE THEN SHOOK HIS HEAD AND SAID, “THIS GUY…”.
THE FATHER ANSWERED WITH SUCH DISAPPOINTMENT.
I realised to what extent parents compare children. I too have found myself falling into that trap of comparing my daughter’s milestone achievements to that of my nephew and nieces at the same age.
The worst for me is reading about developmental milestones on the internet because the ones not yet reached stand out more than those reached, just like how you could receive a thousand compliments but only remember the one criticism.
I HAD TO CHECK MYSELF TO STOP BECAUSE I KNEW BETTER. I KNEW THAT EACH CHILD IS UNIQUE AND THAT THESE DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONE CHARTS ARE GUIDELINES OF WHAT TO EXPECT AT EACH STAGE OF A GROWING CHILD NOT AN ALARM SYSTEM.
Over time I have come to learn what most paediatricians preach: No two children are the same. They have different abilities, interest, strengths and develop at different rates. It is also important to take into consideration the cultural differences children grow up under. Parents can build or break a child’s confidence and self-esteem. When parents start comparing their babies to others, the parents build a habit that carries on well into their children’s lives as they grow and mature. This habit may create a feeling of not being good enough in their child’s life.
It is important to focus on what your child can, more than what they can’t do. The most important thing a child needs in the early days of their life is love and a sense of security.
And while the aim is not inadvertently become your child’s worst critic, these kinds of thoughts do cross our minds. Yours is to nurture them.
Follow us on Instagram: @HayatMedia_