Lately, I’ve been wondering why we compare our kids. We compare them to their siblings, cousins, classmates, our friend’s kids. I know It’s natural for us to compare things. We do it every day we compare what clothes we will wear to work; we compare what fruits to buy at the grocery store; we compare what shows we want to watch.
But with social media, we don’t have to go to the nearest playground to hear about who’s bragging about their child’s accomplishments. Now we can see the best of the best right in the comfort of our own home, complete with beautiful photos. We can see who’s hitting all their milestones on time or even early, we can see who’s child has been accepted into the best school and who has learned a new language. I’m guilty of this too, and I think I know why. The days we are knee-deep in the daily struggles of raising our kids and that magical one moment happens we want to share it! And honestly, there is nothing wrong with that. But it’s when we experience a place of failure based on what they see on social media.
We moved to Oviedo, Fl when the boys were 8 months old and being new in town I wanted to meet and make friends with other moms. I joined a Mom’s group. The kids were all different ages newborns to preschool years. All the moms were super sweet we would meet once a week at a park or library. When the boys were about a year and a half, it became more apparent that they had a speech delay. I already knew that typically twins talk later compare to singletons or they have a special language. But I grew concerned when their handful of words were just that a handful of words. And then we noticed some changes with Collin.
The boys were both evaluated for Autism, but Collin showed signs of Autism.
During and after Collin’s diagnosis, all I could do was compare him to other children. It was hard not to do. I was trying to see or figure out what he was going to be like when he was older. What was he going to be like when he’s a teenager, how is he going to function in society?
We were beyond tired, emotionally drained and overwhelmed. It was stressful trying to get Collin to respond to therapy and acclimated to school and it wasn’t a 3 days a week school; it was 5 days a week on top of therapy and he was nearly 3 years old.
Because Collin was at school, we thought it was a good idea to put Jonah into preschool at a local church. We toured the school before enrolling him and we brought Jonah with us. I remember it was like yesterday. He wouldn’t stand still and wasn’t listening. I thought to myself, why won’t he listen? Why won’t he sit still?? People will call him “spirited” but I catch myself comparing him to all the other 3-year-olds who were holding their parents’ hands and seem overly excited to see the classrooms. I was stressed or thinking the director summed up in her head that we were lazy parents or we didn’t care about his behavior.
But I did, I cared a lot. Probably because Collin had Autism. We wanted Jonah to enjoy going to school; it was already a struggle to get Collin to school… we wanted Jonah to be happy.
Jonah was about five years old when we put him in soccer. My husband played soccer and other sports when he was younger. Let’s get Jonah involved in a sport to work off that extra energy and learn about being a team player. He played for two seasons and wanted to quit. The same thing happened with Karate. Some days he enjoyed it, other days we had to threaten him to go. Richard, Collin and I would sit there and keep our fingers crossed he would want to finish his class. But I would catch myself looking around seeing kids doing things that my kid wasn’t doing, it makes you feel sad.
We eventually stumbled into Cub Scouts, I’m not sure if he had a friend in Cub Scouts or if a Scout leader came to school to talk to the kids joining regardless, he showed an interest. We signed him up and he’s been a cub scout ever since. And yes, I probably will post pictures of him in his uniform, because 9 times out of 10 we argued 30 minutes prior to refusing to wear his uniform. And the funny part about all of this is once we arrive at Scouts he’s so excited to see his friends he has completely forgotten about his uniform.
It’s natural to want what’s best for our kids. It’s natural for us to want our kids to play with the other kids whether it’s in soccer or karate and for them to have a normal childhood. There’s nothing wrong with that. I mean that’s what we wanted when we had kids, is to have a happy childhood and when we see other kids who’s childhood seems easy, there is nothing wrong with wanting the same for our child.
Trust me It will probably never be easy not to compare, but if we focus our energy on what they can do, we will allow them the opportunity to grow in that area.