As a parent, I find that we’re quick to judge ourselves or our children based on the moments we see with our own eyes of another family having a good moment. But, it’s important to remember to stop comparing your child to others, because it’s really just a passing phase. Parenting is difficult enough without making unfair comparisons of yourself and your children in moments of turmoil.
During a recent trip to the The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, I spent an hour on a boat with my daughter waiting to see dolphins that never appeared. So, the novelty of the boat ride itself wore off quickly. Like many moms on that boat, I found myself pulled about the boat searching for … well, who really knows what a 3 year old is searching for. On this boat ride, I experienced the first mini-meltdown of the day and suffered through briefly until we went inside the boat to wait for the end of the ride.
Nearing the end, I saw a mother struggling with one daughter about the same age as mine and her older daughter (I’m guessing about 6) quietly goofing off in the seat next to her. The woman approached me as we were about to disembark and remarked about how well behaved my daughter was being. I couldn’t simply say thank you though. Instead I reply “this was after she cried and screamed outside.” And then, the woman and her family walked away and missed my daughter’s second meltdown.
Stop Comparing Your Child to Others
We take pity on the moms we watch going through one of those “moments” and when we’re going through them ourselves, it feels like an eternity. In those moments, I feel as though we look around to compare our children to the others who appear to be so well behaved while ours seem like monsters, wishing we were in that mother’s shoes. So I want to remind you that someone was probably watching your children the moments before they turned into monsters, wishing they were in your shoes. You’ll be in that spot again just as soon as that moment for your kid passes.
Maybe I’ll never say thank you when I’m approached, but I should work on my words of encouragement in those moments. I need to remind the next mom that every parent experiences those moments they think another kid is more behaved than their our own. Surely in 5 or 10 minutes, we’ll be trading places and I’ll be looking at the next mom wishing I wasn’t in that moment. The good news is, compared to the amount of time in a day, IT REALLY IS JUST A MOMENT.
Comparing yourself and your children to others can be stress-inducing. You’re certain to feel like a failure as you look at the mom with the 4 children who are sitting quietly across the way. I know it’s probably natural, but don’t you think you handle a situation better when you’re not comparing yourself (and essentially judging yourself), rather focusing on making it through the current tantrum or upset?
The next time you’re in that moment, be in that moment and work through it without adding the stress of comparison. I promise, you will get through this and be on to the next thing, whatever that is!