“Comparison is a thief of joy,” according to Theodore Roosevelt. That’s what I read once on the back of a sugar sachet – I didn’t think much of it at the time.
As a mother, those words couldn’t be truer. The older your baby gets, the more questions people ask about her milestones:
“Is she smiling?”
“Is she sitting by herself yet?”
“Do you do enough tummy time?”
“Why isn’t your baby crawling yet?”
Sometimes people are completely oblivious to how a mother feels about her baby and their milestones.
I was once sitting in a doctor’s waiting room and an elderly lady sweetly watched my baby crawling about. My daughter Adriana was 10 months old at the time. I was quickly asked my baby’s age, which was met with an arched eyebrow and a snotty response. “My son was walking at 10 months, why isn’t your baby walking yet?” I just replied that all babies are different.
As a parent, you will be made aware of when you can expect your baby to be doing certain things, and your healthcare provider will help you to keep track of how she’s doing and alert you to any issues. However, it is hard not to compare your baby’s milestones to another baby. After all, we all want to be the best parents we can be and to know that we’re doing everything possible to help our child be their best.
But the problem is that instead of focusing our energy on our own babies, we’re stressed about what other people think. This isn’t only unfair on ourselves, but on our babies as well.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “What is best for my baby?” The answer is not comparison, because it will cause us to miss out on all the other wonderful things our babies are learning and doing. Maybe my baby wasn’t walking by 10 months, but she’s a real sweetheart who loves to kiss me.
Every baby is different and does things according to their own pace. I promise you that when your baby grows up and goes to university, no one will be asking them what age they were when they started to walk.
If something is truly amiss and you are worried, speak to your paediatrician, midwife or an occupational therapist. More often than not, it’s just people’s opinions that are getting the best of us moms.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.