The Milestone Competition

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Categories Identical, Infants, Other people, Singletons

It is interesting to me how much of a competition mothering has become. Sure, conversations about our children appear to be nice and friendly on the surface, but underneath it is there. Lurking. Our natural competitive nature secretly keeping track of whose child did what first. And by how much. And who is doing it better.

In an ideal world, all babies would hit their milestones at the same time thereby eliminating this Mommy Milestone Competition. With my older daughter, I found myself getting caught up in the game. I would (subtely) brag when she accomplished something before one of her “peers”. I would wonder what I could do better as a mother when someone else’s baby accomplished something first.

But since my sons arrived, I no longer have the drive to compete with other Mommies. Part of the reason is that I am very content watching the competition in my own house. Currently we are waiting for Brady’s first tooth to break through and we expect he will crawl across the room any day. While Aaron doesn’t appear to be near-ready with either of those things, he sits unsupported and holds his own bottle. Brady isn’t interested much in either of those things. The race to be “first” is an ongoing event between the brothers and as I am the Mommy of both – I always come out a winner!

But, it’s also something more than that. My sons share the exact same DNA, are raised in the same home, and are in the same room with the same teachers at daycare. Yet, even THEY do not hit their milestones at the exact same time. With these differences, do I consider one to be “ahead” or “behind” in any particular area. Do I think that I’ve parented one of them better than the other? No, absolutely not. They are simply different.

So, if they – the identical twins with the exact same nature and nurture influences – are different from each other, what possible benefit can come of me comparing them to other children? Especially if those children were born a) full-term; b) a singleton; or c) first in their family. My sons have taught me that every single child – and their family situation – is truly unique. And that often makes comparisons a bit unfair.

This time around, there is no more dwelling on who is “ahead” and who is “behind”. There are only warm, well wishes and proud feelings when something is accomplished. Very liberating and much more enjoyable!

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7 thoughts on “The Milestone Competition”

  1. My pet peeve this week, moms of twins who feel the need to tell me how fantastic (their) twins are, how well they’re doing with them, how well they sleep….etc, etc…Makes me feel like the worst mom ever that I’ve been frustrated with my clingy, still somewhat sick babies all week. It’s just another kind of competition….what a great job the mom is doing!

  2. Having twins has made me realize “every baby is truely different” Even though they were born at the same time and are raised in the same house. They are very different.

  3. This is near and dear to my heart!!! Since day one, my boys have been doing things so differently that I can easily see their strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it’s hard to relate that to first-time moms to singletons… that sometimes our kids do things in spite of our efforts!

  4. I find myself falling into this trap sometimes, but then I see how foolish it is to compare my son and daughter, as they are SO DIFFERENT, and they came out of the same womb at the same time! I have made this point to my friends who have little ones, and slowly but surely to my family, who see it as a sign of good healthy that my kids are doing things before other kids we know. (But heaven help if they are “behind” in an area!)

    I think we are programmed from the beginning, with birthweight bragging, to compare. Great perspective, and I will try to do better! I was also thinking this week that I should stop trying to get my kids to show off their milestone accomplishments to friends and family as though they are trained monkeys…but when my son claps his hands AND feet, it is pretty hysterical.

  5. I could not agree more! I haven’t experienced the competiveness with other moms (I rarely get out of the house, anyway, LOL), but having twins sure has been a study in contrasts. I find it fasinating that children coming from the same two parents and raised in the exact same environment can have such different temperaments and progress through their developmental milestones at such varied paces. It really gives me perspective on babies and children and the world. :) Great topic!

  6. You said exactly what I’ve experienced! My boys are identical as well and until they arrived on the scene 11 months ago, I compared my daughter to all kinds of other kids. Not anymore! Now, I’m just awaiting the imminent crawler to take off and thinking how glad I am that the other is still sitting peacefully in one spot! It’ll be all I can do to keep up with the first Mr. Curious….

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