I know I’ve talked about the pointlessness of comparing one child to another before. They’re all different and will do their stuff in their own time. Fact. But recently I’ve taken to reading some mommy/mummy blogs and man have I found myself comparing the things I do for Oscar and the life we lead, to other peoples!
At the beginning I felt inspired. I could make play dough like that, or I could make peppermint scented candy cane coloured sensory rice like that. But the more I read, the less I did. I stopped feeling so inspired and started feeling like what we were doing wasn’t enough. I started looking around at other parents in the social media stratosphere and even things that had never bothered me before suddenly made me feel like I was failing.
So OK, maybe this lack of action was the problem. Reading and not doing was bringing me down. So I tried to do some stuff. One of the blogs I read had a post about how she’d made her daughter a den out of her bed (she has a sort of day bed) and some girly blankets, which she then adorned with fairy lights. They author wrote how they spent the afternoon together in this den, cuddled up reading books. It looked and sounded perfect and easy to do. But I have a son. A boy who needs to know what everything is and how everything works. My den lasted all of a minute, before Oscar pulled it to pieces, jumped on top of the sheets and climbed over the top of the sofa. What great larks for him!
I was heart broken. I couldn’t even make a stupid den work.
It’s so hard not to compare yourself to other parents, particularly if you’re new to this game. You may have been a complete individual before you had kids, an innovator, a leader. But once you have children all that self assurance goes out of the window. Once they had children, even the most confident women I know, could be found huddled over their lattes comparing the lives they were giving their little darlings. And I don’t believe it gets any easier the older the children get. Weaning methods and sensory play gives way to birthday parties and academic achievement.
Why? Why do we feel the need to do this? Maybe “we” don’t, maybe its just me. But I would bet Oscar’s homemade playdough, (that I binned in favour of the shop bought stuff – bad mummy 😉 ) that it’s not just me. Why can’t I just be inspired and happy for the differences in the lives our children lead? Difference is what makes us interesting isn’t it? I’m not a particularly competitive person (unless I’m in a pub quiz team – then you’ll see a different Lisa altogether!) and the thought of competing against my friends or worse still people I don’t even know is just bonkers. I mean I don’t know the reality of the situation behind those gorgeous photos. I heard someone say the other day, that social media allows us to present the best version of ourselves. And my rational mind knows this applies to our parenting too. Oh but it’s just so easy to look at the soft focus, angled photos of a smiling, tousled haired child, intently painting a masterpiece with homemade glitter paint or reading books in a den lit with friggin’ fairy lights and want the same thing. Even when you know your child would eat the paint and climb on the top of the den, probably electrocuting themselves in the process.
I gave up on the den for now. I’ve bought him a cheap pop up teepee for Christmas instead. Who knows it might even stay up long enough for him to read a book in it. I tell you what though. I wont be adorning it with fairy lights. Because he’s not her. He’s him. And I’m me. It’s OK to be inspired, but nothing good will come of comparing myself to others. I just need to remember that. And maybe cut back on the mummy blogs – for a while anyway 😉 !