Oh, I remember it so well. A friend of mine had a grand-daughter that was the same age as my first child. She told me her little grandbaby was potty trained. I remember the sense of failure that I felt. My son was “behind”. He wasn’t potty trained yet! With new determined effort, I set out to get this boy potty trained.
Guess what? He didn’t get the memo. He wasn’t having it, and no amount of coercing, bribing, or even threatening helped. He didn’t want to sit on the potty. He was perfectly content pooping in his diaper. It didn’t bother him a bit. It sent me over the moon, but he was as happy as a little lark. This kid was reading before he was potty trained!
Just recently I was watching a news segment which talked about a family with ten children—all homeschooled. Of the ten, 6 have entered college by age 12. I immediately fell into the comparison trap, but I immediately ascended from this pit of pity. You see, I’ve fallen into this trap so many times before, but I’ve learned to get out quickly!
I’ve heard it over and over again. We look at someone else’s situation and wonder how they are able to do what they do. “They” seem to have it all together, and we don’t. “Their” children are so wonderful and mine are so…not. Why can’t my child be more like… ? Why can’t my life be more like…? Why can’t I be more like…?
Here’s the good news!
Each of our families is unique.
Each of our children is unique.
Each family dynamic is unique.
Each of us has a unique set of life circumstances.
Each of us has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.
Each of us has a unique destiny and purpose.
Each of us have wonderful gifts that make the world a better place.
Each of us has a part to play in this world.
Each of us is valuable.
So, if you find yourself falling into the comparison trap, remember these truths. Your child needs you to value them for who they are. Your child doesn’t need you to “fix” them. Accept your children as they are, warts and all.
Weakness. Strengths. Annoyances. Idiosyncrasies. Gifts. Talents. Deficiencies. Personalities.
Trying to force your children to fit into the box of your expectations or someone else’s is suffocating, and frustrating.
Give your children the freedom to be who they are.
You may find that you’re finally able to accept yourself as well.
I certainly hope so.