Don’t fall into that trap….
The trap of comparing. It’s a nasty little trap that most parents at some point find themselves in. When their kid comes up on top it feels great. When they don’t, well, I don’t have to tell you how not so great that feels. But, usually when the comparison doesn’t end in our favor, we just find something or someone else to compare. So, our situation comes up on top.
We tend to compare everything. Susan’s baby was sleeping through the night at 2 months, I wish mine was. Your’s isn’t talking? My Baby boy’s been talking for months now! He wasn’t potty trained at 2? Mine was at 18 months. And the list can go on and on. Notice, not all comparison’s are positive and mostly, none of them matter! No one asks the 22 year-old applying for a job when they starting talking or how many words they knew by age 18 months. Nope, ultimately, these items don’t really matter. Except in the moment to feel superior to another parent.
We even tend to compare situations. Case in point, my child has multiple, severe food allergies and environmental allergies with asthma. I read a lot of blogs. Many food allergy blogs and some general parenting blogs. I tend to do a lot perusing/stalking other chronically ill kids blog sites. (And by stalking I mean, I don’t comment much but read a lot). Why? Not to be creepy but because, I feel I can connect with them. Yes, our situation is different in many ways and our stresses are different. But to honest, there’s a lot we have in common.
At first we struggle with our unfamiliar diagnosis. Some days we feel like we’re barely keeping our head above water. We feel the anxiety of a sick or potentially sick child. And we feel like no one understands our situation. No one. Sometimes we feel very supported while other times we feel completely alone. We know we’d never trade our child for anything despite the struggles. So, you see, we have a lot in common. We could connect. We could get along fabulously.
But here’s why I don’t comment, superiority. Not mine, I’m not superior to anyone. As I’ve been lingering the last few months, I’ve been coming across blogs that are well, comparing children’s situations. Yes, even the parents with chronically ill kids, there is comparison. And worse yet, there is at times “a better than you” tone that comes out in the blogs. Sadly, a “my situation is worse than yours” tone. As if having a child with a chronic condition isn’t bad enough, we have to divide ourselves out.
I guess, I want to urge everyone to not thinking about how difficult your situation is. Rather, I want you to remember that there can be support, even from those who are experience life a bit differently then you. I remember feeling like I was alone when we first found out about the Little Guy’s food allergies. I felt like no one understood my situation. But, the truth is, we all understand caring for a child is hard work. Throw in food allergies or some other special needs, and it’s a bit more complicated. But we can learn from each other and support each other, even if I don’t completely understand what you’re going through.
To take this one step further, I urge you to reach out to someone whose child-bearing experience is different from yours and discuss parenting. I bet you’ll find you have a lot in common. Even if its simply wanting to the best for your child.
Most important, I ask you to not compare. Our situations ARE different. I will NEVER completely understand yours nor will you MINE. And that’s OK. But don’t compare. Accept the differences and find ways to be HELPFUL to others. In my opinion, that’s the MOST useful thing anyone has done for me.