Finding Freedom From The Comparison Trap
Comparison. This word has the power to suck the joy out of motherhood. I experienced it for the first time shortly after I had my firstborn. While I was in the thick of feeling clueless as a first time mom, I started to research what I should be doing during each stage and when I could expect him to hit various milestones. As friends had babies around the same time, I found myself comparing my baby’s progress with theirs.
Comparison. This word has the power to suck the joy out of motherhood. I experienced it for the first time shortly after I had my firstborn. While I was in the thick of feeling clueless as a first time mom, I started to research what I should be doing during each stage and when I could expect him to hit various milestones. As friends had babies around the same time, I found myself comparing my baby’s progress with theirs. While I was thankful to have a ball park idea of what he should be doing, when I would hear that so and so’s baby was sleeping through the night much earlier than he did, I felt like it was my fault. When I heard that someone’s baby started crawling two months before mine, I felt like I wasn’t doing a good enough job. When he wasn’t talking as much as other kids his age, I felt like I had failed him. In all reality, he was doing just fine, but I still found myself falling prey to the ugly monster that is comparison.
On the flip side, when he would develop faster than other kids in a certain area, I found myself feeling prideful. Gross.
As moms, we want to give our children the best chance at being successful. My primary job is to raise my kids. I think this causes me to put unnecessary pressure on myself. I feel like I’m solely responsible for how they’ll turn out, that if I don’t do enough of this or that, they’ll be scarred for life. This has been a real struggle for me, but I want to share how God is breaking through and renewing my perspective.
When I found out I was pregnant with twins, one of the things I found myself being nervous about was the potential there would be to compare them to each other. I suppose it was because of the struggles I just shared.
By His grace, the Lord has used my twin girls to teach me much about how He created each of us to be designed so uniquely beautiful.
My twin girls are genetically identical. They were born just seven minutes apart, and only varied seven ounces in weight. Since birth, they have been on the same schedule. They eat at the same time, sleep at the same time, have had the same amount of tummy time, wear the same size clothes, and usually even poop around the same time.
They are SO SIMILAR. But yet they are SO DIFFERENT.
One of them jabbers all day long and has lots of words. The other would rather observe and is learning words at a slower pace. One of them is crawling and close to walking, and the other is happy to scoot all over on her bottom. One of them embraces the outdoors and loves to play in the dirt, while the other timidly feels the grass. One has a cheesy grin while the other a sheepish smile.
I could go on all day. The point is, that despite living in the same environment and having the same genetics, they are each developing at their own pace and have different interests. I now truly see that as a beautiful thing.
Having twins has taught me that there is only so much we can do. Yes, it’s important for us to work with them and teach them as much as we can, but at the end of the day, how they learn and develop is largely out of our control.
Instead of comparing our kids to other kids or our parenting styles to those of our friends and family, I think it’s imperative that we spend that energy simply loving our kids instead.
There’s enough pressure these days from school systems and society in general to perform and achieve. We don’t need to let it affect the way we parent. Our kids need to feel secure and loved just as they are.
If you’re a mom out there who has felt burdened by comparison, I’d like to take a minute and affirm the job you’re doing. You ARE enough. The Lord paired you with your kids because He knew you were what they needed. He trusts you with them, and knows that with His help they’ll turn out to be world changers.
Perhaps there’s an area of development you’re worried about. May I encourage you to seek the Lord and ask him to direct your steps? Let’s seek truth before jumping to conclusions.
You, sweet momma, are amazing. The love you have for your kids is beautiful and has the power to move mountains. When you find yourself comparing, let it be an opportunity to celebrate differences and remember how beautifully and wonderfully each one of us was made.