As I recorded the momposter syndrome episode of the podcast, I talked about comparing ourselves to other parents and comparing our children to other children. Since Milo was born, there have been a few things that he wasn’t doing “as well” as other babies his age. He was born on the smaller side (6lbs) and at around two or three months, he wasn’t lifting his head like other babies. I also despised tummy time, so I’m sure that didn’t help. I did it, but I didn’t like it, and I’m sure we didn’t do is as often as “they” say you should. I did feel a bit bad about that, but, I couldn’t handle seeing him squirm and look like he was pained trying to keep his head up. I felt bad for the poor little nugget. It’s kind of like those people you see at the gym who go ALL OUT and they make weird sounds and their faces are bright red. And, you’re watching them thinking like “omg, just take it easy… do you want some water?” He was like the newborn version of one of those people and his tummy time was like their hardcore CrossFit class. Anyways, in the back of my mind I knew he would catch up to everyone else. There’s not many kids walking around who can’t lift their heads. So, I tried to just do what I was comfortable doing and not give other babies’ Hercules neck strength much thought.
You have to have the mindset of… “in 6 months from now, is this even going to matter?” Most of the time the answer is no.
Fast forward several months and I felt like we were the only parents not doing baby-led weaning. My friends would bring over their babies who were Milo’s age and they would hand them huge pieces of cucumber and full strawberries. And I probably stared at them in awe. Wondering if they were as anxious as I was watching their kids eat. Before Milo started on solids, I had bought some books on baby-led weaning. I was all for it because that’s what everyone said was the best thing to do now. I had fully intended on doing baby-led weaning but, after the first attempt at very soft sweet potato and avocado… I gave up. I was too anxious about choking. And, people could tell me one million times that gagging is totally normal and they will almost always spit it out if they’re going to choke, etc. I don’t care! I wasn’t comfortable with it. So, bring on the purée recipes and food processor.
What should you do instead of comparing yourself to other parents and comparing your child to another child?
- BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR DECISIONS: Be informed about safety measures and all that jazz but, ultimately it is going to come down to what feels right for your family. For some reason people can’t just acknowledge that what works for them may not work for another family. This leads to judging others when they don’t do what YOU do and what works for YOUR family. It also leads to insecurities about parenting decisions or “momposter syndrome” because you are ruminating about other people’s parenting choices. Deep down we know what feels right for us and for our family. So, do that and be in love with your decisions.
- ACCEPT THAT SOME THINGS ARE NOT YOUR PRIORITY: I love this so much. I am this way in all areas of my life. You have to realize that YOU CAN spend 45 minutes making homemade, organic tomato soup with almond flour biscuits in the shape of Emma Wiggle for lunch. You could! But, that may not be a priority for you. For another parent that may be a priority. They get joy out of making sh*t like that for their kids. And for them, that is fantastic. Currently, that is not a priority for me. But, who knows what next week will bring!? We all have things we prioritize when it comes to our kids, ourselves, and our relationships. Don’t get jealous or feel bad about yourself because you don’t have the same priorities as someone else. Instead of thinking “ugh, I suck” when you see what other parents are doing, think “I would do that too if it were a priority right now… maybe it will be one day.”
- ADMIRE AND APPRECIATE: We all have things we do well. I think it’s human nature for us to highlight those things we are good at. ESPECIALLY on social media. Am I right? Or, am I right? For example, Janet always posts photos of her kid’s cute and super healthy lunches. Janet spends lots of time thinking about lunch ideas, planning lunches, food prep, etc. Janet clearly enjoys doing this and she is proud of her lunch creations. She should be! They are super cute! Your reaction when you see things that parents are doing for their children should be admiration and appreciation. Admiration because if you had the choice between Janet’s lunch or your lunch, you would choose Janet’s (but, that sh*t isn’t your priority right now). And, appreciation because you know she is putting lots of time and effort into the lunches. It’s okay to not care about things that other parents care about. That doesn’t make you a bad parent.
- BE INSPIRED, NOT BITTER: Don’t get down on yourself when you see what other parents are doing. Get inspired. Maybe you try baking cookies with your toddler one day because you saw your friend do it with her toddler on Instagram. Maybe it ends up being a total shit-show. That’s okay. Remember that most people are just showing the few nice photos they captured and not the nightmare that it resulted in. Pinterest and social media are great resources for parents. But, only if you’re consuming the content with the intention of getting inspiration and not looking at it as a never-ending list of things you don’t do.