I’ve talked before about my friends, and as our girls are growing up they are all learning different skills at different rates. My friend’s kid is the queen of eating calmly and has an awesome attention span. My girl is constantly on the move, and usually doesn't spend much time on any one activity, except reading. My girl can read books for days!
I love going on play dates at a friend’s house, I always get to see my daughter do something new that she wouldn’t try at home, or see some skill she needs to work on developing. It’s fun to see her explore a new environment, and of course stressful trying to keep from getting into new forms of mischief as well! I love seeing her interact with her peers and see the ways they are developing. The hardest part of seeing our kids with other kids is comparing them. Of course, we all subconsciously compare our kids to our friends’ kids, or their siblings, all the time. We’re worried about their development, and are proud of their accomplishments.
Comparisons, though, are a dangerous game. Kids are all different, they get interested in different things, we work on helping them develop different skills, and struggle with different areas. As long as our kids are meeting the appropriate milestones and their doctors are happy with their development we shouldn't worry about what our kids are doing compared to other children his or her age.
Of course that's an easy thing to say, and a more difficult thing to live out, especially when you're a nervous first-time mom. I'm lucky to have some experienced moms around with multiple kids. I’m generally a low-stress mom but, as you would expect, I'm nervous about a couple of things. My husband has type-1 diabetes. So I’m always on alert for this warning signs in our daughter. Since I know that’s a concern for me, I’ve made my pro-mom friends aware that I’m nervous about that so they can reassure me.
If you know you're nervous about a particular issue, be honest with your friends, family, and, most importantly, your baby’s pediatrician. They can reassure you and help you to be on alert for warning signs, and calm you down when you're worried about things. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I also think it takes a village to make a good parent. So the next time you show up at a play date, or are on the schedule to watch the kids at an event, don’t let yourself get worried or too puffed up about your child’s development. Give yourself freedom from worry and just enjoy your kids!
Jenny Ditch lives in Illinois with her husband and daughter and loves seeing her little girl grow with a bunch of other little girls, even though it’s sometimes stressful!