A lot of people have a popular quote which they live by: ‘carpe diem’, ‘dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today’, ‘someday is not a day of the week’, ‘be yourself, everyone else is taken’… Lately I’ve really grown to love the Roosevelt quote: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’.
In this golden age of social media, it’s so easy to compare yourself to everyone else. That person you went to school with just bought a brand new car. Most of the people you graduated with are in better paid jobs than you. Your colleagues are jetting off for exotic summer holidays… And when you’re a mum this increases tenfold. That mum’s house is always tidy. How does she have time to make sure she always leaves the house looking like that? Why is her child always impeccably dressed? The worst thing is when you start comparing your children – or when others do it for you.
When you become a parent, everyone is quick to judge and compare. The questions seem polite at first but you soon to start to resent them. Are you breastfeeding? Is he a good baby? Does he sleep well? Is he eating solids? Is he crawling? Is he talking? Blah blah blah.
Having friends with babies the same age as yours is great because it can feel isolating going through it alone and it’s so good to have someone to talk to who’s going through the same things as you. But put them all in the same room and it’s easy to see the difference. Some are walking/running whereas others are barely crawling. Some have a mouthful of teeth and others are still all gums. Some have a dozen words in their vocabulary whereas others have a few. A year from now, none of this will even matter as they’ll all be at the same stage. There’s the argument that girls develop faster than boys but every woman, every pregnancy, every labour and every baby is different. We’re all unique little snowflakes. So isn’t it about time we stopped comparing ourselves and our babies and started living in the moment?
I don’t plan on having any more children so every moment and milestone is precious to me. I don’t want to find myself pushing Jenson too much or being resentful of other children for being able to do something he can’t. When a younger baby is doing something Jenson isn’t, I’m not going to worry that he is behind or not picking things up quickly enough. Sure, he’s going to be one in a few days and isn’t walking or pulling himself up yet but he has learned so much in just the last few weeks and I’m proud of every single one. He can go from lying down to sitting up by himself. He knows to take a breath before diving in his swimming lessons. He can hold onto me while I give him a piggy back swim around the pool. He claps on cue when his toy plays ‘if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands’. He instigates games of peekaboo. He is interested in everything and everyone and smiles all the time.
I can honestly say that Jenson is the best thing in my life and my greatest achievement. It doesn’t matter that I’m not in a senior position at work and earning over £25,000 because I actually enjoy my work. I don’t care that we rent rather than own our home because it’s as big as we need and in the perfect location. I don’t mind that we haven’t been on holiday for 18 months and that it’ll likely be another 18 months before we can afford to because we live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country. Sure, we’re adjusting to living on a reduced income now that we’re working part-time but it means that we each get to spend at least four days a week with our son – and two of those as a family. I might not be able to buy all the pretty things but blogging about them feels almost as good – and sometimes I’m lucky enough to receive things to review! So now, whenever something pops up on my feed that makes me feel envious, I’m going to remember just how freakin’ lucky I am!