I haven’t been a dad for very long, but I have seen so much competition when it comes to parenting. It doesn’t just occur in my everyday surroundings, it also takes place on TV. That being said, it is publicised and shown to people like me and you – some of us choose to just ignore it and turn over the channel, and others decide to turn the volume up and take heed.
Raising a child is such a privilege, in my eyes. I am not a religious man in the slightest, and I believe that when you do pop it, that’s it. No beam of light guiding you to a greater beyond. But, I am extremely grateful that me and Char have been able to have children, and it saddens me that some individuals aren’t as lucky.
Each child is different. Some will develop in things faster than others, and vice-versa. The problem is, TV shows and word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire, and parents begin to believe that their child isn’t picking things up as fast as they should.
Websites that give timelines of when a child should be walking for example, don’t help either. My philosophy is that a child will crawl, walk, talk whenever they want to. You can’t allow yourself to become a nervous wreck, because your baby hasn’t started doing whatever the articles say they should be doing by now.
Unfortunately, we do not live in that ideal world, and when you and your child are out in public, you come across some adults that have what I call “Offspring Ego”, and thrive off how advanced they think their child is. Comments such as:
- “My son can feed himself now, can’t yours?”
- “Oh yeah, my little girl has been clapping for months, Weird that yours isn’t doing it yet.”
- “Your boy doesn’t babble much, does he?”
The above can be harmless enough, and occasionally they are, but a lot of the time parents like to “show off” what their child can do. However, there is a thin line between being proud and sticking it in everyone else’s faces. Especially if you are saying it to a parent who is finding it tougher than you, even if they don’t look like they’re struggling on the surface.
It is hard to help people who feel pressured from the online articles and comments from others, because like other issues, they tend not to ask or speak about it. Maybe they feel embarrassed because they see it as their fault, or because they don’t want people to think they’re struggling. The truth is, struggling as a parent is nothing to be ashamed of, because even the self proclaimed “super parents” find it difficult at times. We all do! Parenting is a way of life. It is something that cannot be taught, and it is something that will never be perfected. As parents, we adapt to each situation in our own ways – the way that works for you, may not work for someone else.
At the end of the day, if you have to rock your baby to sleep (and it works) then use that to your advantage. On the other hand, another child may prefer to be read to before they go to sleep. If it works for you, then use it!
So don’t you be worrying that your baby isn’t clapping like Mr/Mrs Super Parent’s baby is yet. It really isn’t a concern, even though it may seem like it. Every child will pick it up eventually (you don’t see 25 year olds crawling or cooing around your local shop, do you?), and all that matters is that you enjoy everyday and take it in your stride. Keep your chin up, because you should feel proud and as long as you are doing your best for your baby, that is all that can be asked of you. Be proud and stay focused – everything will be fine.