Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Thief of Joy

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

I've always loved this quote, but until I had Cole I never thought about how much it pertains to children.

It's SO EASY to compare Cole's strengths and differences with his peers. It's hard when I hear a friend telling me how her daughter (same age) is saying over 50 words; or when I see a child Cole's age spouting off animal sounds.  There's a small burst of maternal pride I feel when I can rattle off to the pediatrician all of Cole's accomplishments so he can reassure me how advanced he is.

A big part of me feels that the more advanced Cole is, the more ahead of his peers he is, the better it reflects upon me as his mother.  I love the thought of impressing strangers with his above-average and superior knowledge.  Seeing his peers become more advanced than Cole makes me wonder if I'm doing enough as his mama, if I'm encouraging and teaching him enough to give him every possible advantage.

But by comparing my own darling little man with others, I lose sight of all the fantastic little things that make Cole, Cole.  I lose sight of his unique and developing personality. I lose the ability to take such complete and all-encompassing joy in who he is at this exact moment.

 He is learning at his own pace, which is exactly the right pace.  He has special and wonderful qualities that are completely unique.  He has strengths that may be different but just as important as anyone elses'. 

My child is original, one-of-a-kind, unique and perfect in his own way.  He wasn't the first of his peers to crawl, walk, or talk.  He doesn't know any animal sounds.  He only knows a few colors.  But he is accomplishing each milestone at his own pace, which is much more important than being first.

And I have learned to enjoy my son just as he is, without any comparisons.


  1. As mothers, I think we all compare, even if we don't do it cognitively. We boast the accomplishments of our babes, relish hearing the doctors say, "You know what, I have never had a child his age do that...that is amazing." We're moms! We're biased towards our perfect babes because they are 100% truly perfect...for us.

    Isaac is the perfect first born for me. Phinneas is the perfect second born for me. My parenting style is not like yours, and your parenting style is not like mine, but our boys will grow up happy because they are thoroughly loved by us...their mothers (and fathers too).

    We are Tiger Moms. I read an article that made me hug my boys a little tighter tonight, and it made me realized how blessed I am to have these boys:

    The last few sentences in the last paragraph gripped me. Held me. "I am a reflection of him and not the other way around, and this is, I believe, as it should be. This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is."

    So it's no matter that Phinneas doesn't say words or animal sounds (we're not there yet either). It's no matter that Isaac can do certain things...that Phinneas is on that certain spot on the growth charts. All that matters is that we as mommies love our babes. Now.

    (ps...sorry, this got really long!)

  2. Love this post!!! I hope you don't mind, but I linked it to one of mine. We've been thinking the same things recently.


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