Monday, September 24, 2012

The Pain of Comparison

Every parent does it. There really is no way of getting around it, when we are parents, we tend to compare our kids to others' kids.  It's natural, we are curious about whether or not our kids are developing and learning on pace with everyone else.

I try not to do it too much because, honestly, it will tear you apart. You will start to wonder if you went wrong somewhere or why others aren't doing what yours is doing.

We had to make a huge decision when it came time for kindergarten registration this year.  Should we or should we not sign Lincoln up for kindergarten? Is he ready for kindergarten? Can he keep up with the other kids and learn everything that all the other kids are? It weighed on my heart a lot.  I didn't want to make the wrong decision, I didn't want to be the cause of either his struggling to keep up or his boredom with it not being enough. There is a fine line when you have an end of summer birthday.  I hear it is even more of a fine line with boys because of the maturity. 

We decided to send him to kindergarten.  He hasn't been excelling but he hasn't been lost yet.  His teacher sends home practice pages every Friday for reinforcement (for all the students, not just Lincoln) and he is enjoying doing those, not realizing that it is helping him in the process.  He is working hard and although he hasn't mastered letter recognition and number recognition, he is learning.  I have been working with him daily for at least 45 minutes to an hour with practice pages, flash cards and online programs.  I am breaking down the letters into smaller groups instead of doing the entire alphabet.  It seems to be working.  He is excited to learn and he wants to do well. 

We received a letter this past Friday to say that he qualifies for extra help in the Title I reading program where he will receive extra help in the classroom.  There is already a paraprofessional in his classroom that helps him sometimes but this group will be even more help.  Lincoln has not be diagnosed with a learning disability nor has he had to be set up with an IEP but he is receiving the help he needs while in school to keep up. 

So while I am on Twitter or Facebook and I read about all these other kids that are doing amazingly well and are advanced, I can't help but wonder why Lincoln isn't like that.  I know that all kids are different and learn at different paces but it's tough sometimes to remember that.  I know several people who have 2-3 year olds who seem to know more than Lincoln does as far as letters and numbers.

It may seem ridiculous, but I can't help but feel guilt over the fact that my older  two kids had me at home when they were little and this was never an issue.  They learned all their letters and numbers in preschool and they were fine going into kindergarten.  They also were older though when they did that.  I can't help but wonder if it is because I wasn't at home to teach him or take him to preschool.  Is there a direct correlation between my not being home and Lincoln not knowing these things?  My Mother-in-Law has mentioned a few times that she thinks so.  (This is not a reason to bash her or say anything mean about her, she is just offering an opinion and one that I was already thinking.) But that breaks my heart.  I mean, it crushes my heart to think that I am not the only one who thinks this way.  She says that the older two had the best of me when I was at home with them and doing more with them when they were little and Lincoln hasn't gotten that.  He didn't have the best of me.  It hurts.big.time.  How do I let go of that?  I don't know if I will ever be able to.  I have cried to Chuck about this and he tells me that it is not my fault and he's sure that isn't why, that I have always been a great mom whether I was working or not.

Whether he struggles in the future or is able to breeze along in his education, I don't know if I can let go of the thought that it was because of me.  Yes, I had to work in order for my family to have the things we have and we needed me to work to pay our bills. We were lucky I could work to do all that we did.  I understand that but it doesn't lessen the hurt.

My advice to new moms is always that they should listen to advice and criticism, but to still do what they feel is right.  They are the parent and no matter what everyone else is doing or saying, they will know what is right for their family.  I should add on to that to say not to compare your children with others because it will tear you apart. 

My kids are smart, all of them.  We are blessed with well-rounded kids that have their own talents, strengths and weaknesses that make them individuals.  I wouldn't change my kids for anything or anyone else.  I just hope that we made the right decision with Lincoln and that I can quit comparing him to others.  He is young for his class...possibly and most likely the youngest one in his class, but he is having fun and he is learning. 

Parenthood is tough....definitely tougher than any job I have ever had.  I couldn't imagine a better job though.


  1. This is such a touchy subject for everybody, because you're right: we ALL do it. No matter what the issue is- schoolwork, athletics, being brave, attitude, good eater, etc. It's impossible NOT to compare our kids to everyone else, even if we're not doing it in a negative/hurtful way, just 'hey, my kid isn't quite so ____ as that kid'. (for example, Maggie is a BIG FREAKING WIMP ABOUT EVERYTHING OMG and she isn't that big into playing outside much and it drives me crazy and sometimes I wish she were more developed in that way 'like the other kids'. But I have to remind myself, that's just HER. She'd much rather sit and color than go ride her bike. And when she DOES ride her bike, it usually ends in tears over a small invisible scrape on her leg or something. So we go back in and color. LOL)

    One thing I do want to comment on is the being at home with Lincoln thing- do NOT beat yourself up over that, seriously! xoxo I honestly feel that no matter what the situation, each subsequent kid gets less and less of the 'good parts' of the parents! ha It's just the nature of having more people to care for- the first kid gets all the attention, the 2nd gets less, the 3rd gets even less... and so on. There's just only so much of us to go around! I know for a fact that it's that way with M&A in our house- I would spend HOURS playing on the floor with Maggie because back then, I was only working 1-2 days a week (didn't work 3 days till she was 2.5) and I feel like I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually sat and played with Audrey (it's probably way more than that, but it doesn't FEEL like it, you know??) I think the benefit of the 2nd/3rd/etc kid is, even if the parents can't sit and teach them things, the older siblings do. I can see it already with Maggie showing Audrey things (which is hilarious because she tries SO HARD to get Audrey to "PAY ATTENTION!!!" and A is mostly running around like a nut and it's so funny to see M get frustrated, ha) So even if YOU weren't there with Lincoln, other people were- Jada and Chuckie and his preschool teachers, etc. Every kid is different. I know you know that. It's those damn voices in our heads that need to listen ;) xoxo

    1. Yeah, you get it. Oh and Jada is the same way with bike riding and other not so safe (in her head) things. She is very cautious and would rather listen to music or draw....and that's okay. Thanks :)

  2. It def has nothing to do with if you were at home with him or not. I have worked full time with each of my kids. All 3 of them are developing differently. It is just the way it is.

    I do the same thing with my 3. Charlie is not talking near as much as the boys were. And I worry about it. But I know that shes just developing different :)

    Hugs to you. I know struggling with guilt is such a hard thing. I do it all the time. Wishing I could just not work and be there completely for my kids.