Why you shouldn’t compare your baby to others
1. Your baby probably isn’t the cutest baby ever.
Sorry, but it’s true. You know when you’re at baby groups and you look around the room and think, “Wow, how come all these other babies are so weird-looking when mine is freaking beautiful?” The other mums are thinking the same thing about YOUR BABY.
Your baby is probably cute. Most babies are. That doesn’t make them objectively the most adorable little person in existence. If you happen to have a weird-looking baby you’ll never know it, because no one will ever tell you that they’re weird-looking too your face, and when you look at them, all you’ll see is squishy baby loveliness.
2. Your baby probably isn’t a genius, either.
We’ve all done it – watched our baby do something mundane and taken it as a sign that they’re smarter than all the other babies around. I remember changing the Popple when she was only a few weeks old and noticing that she lifted up her legs when I opened her nappy.
“She’s realised that I lift up her legs to wipe her butt, so she’s doing it for me. I’M RAISING A BABY EINSTEIN,” I said to myself.
The Popple may indeed be of above-average intelligence (her father has a PhD, after all, so there’s hope), but she’s probably not a genius. And that’s fine. What’s important is that she’s happy and healthy and a nice person.
3. Not every baby is sleeping through the night.
If you’re the parent of a sleepless baby, it may seem like every other baby is sleeping well but yours. Mums at your baby groups will tell you that their wee ones started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks – actually, they’re concerned that they might be sleeping a bit TOO much, and you’ll want to claw your exhausted, puffy eyes out.
But you’re not alone, I promise. There is a healthy contingent of sleep-deprived parents out there, frantically Googling “why won’t my baby sleep?” on their phones at 4am and knocking back pints of coffee just to get through the day.
I have been that parent. Some days I still am. I’m with you, buddy.
4. Babies reach milestones at their own pace.
There are general guidelines about when a baby will roll over, sit up on their own, say their first word, etc. That doesn’t mean that you need to panic if your baby doesn’t hit a milestone exactly when you’d expect them to.
There will always be that friend whose baby seems to be way ahead of yours. She will be speaking in full sentences before yours utters a single coherent word. She’ll have a full set of teeth while yours is still sporting a gummy grin. You won’t want to admit it to yourself, but you’ll kind of resent this baby. You’ll be waiting for her to f*** up because you want your baby to be the best, and right now, she’s not.
There are times where a delayed milestone may be cause for concern, but usually it’s because your baby just can’t be a**ed doing it yet. Babies do things at their own pace. The Popple started trying to walk really early and her walking skills always impress people, mostly because she’s so small that they think she’s 5-6 months old and is therefore some sort of super baby. They’re probably comparing their less-mobile offspring to mine and feeling bad about it. But what they don’t know is that the Popple has never crawled. She’s never even attempted to. She also can’t pull herself up to standing like most babies her age.
I see crawling babies and think they’re amazing. I think the Popple would be so much happier if she could crawl, because then she could move around without my help.
I’ve tried to get her to do it. “Crawling is fun!” I say brightly, putting her on her tummy.
She kicks her legs and wails. I pull her up onto her feet and she’s off, ready to tackle the world her own way.