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June 21, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

A New Baby and How to Avoid the Comparison Trap

Comparing ourselves and our babies has skyrocketed with the rise of social media, but if it's really bothering you, it's time to step away from the fray.

It’s natural to seek out information and to compare ourselves. It’s what we humans do. We look at what others are wearing, we look at what others are eating, drinking, listening to. It’s a part of life. But for new parents with their first or even second of third baby, comparing their child to another the same age can be hurtful. First there are the height and weight percentiles. Then there’s the milestones. Then there are the ongoing small conversations you may get into on a playdate or otherwise that set your brain wheels in motion:

“Is he sitting up yet?

“Is she crawling yet?”

“Is he walking? Talking?”

And on and on. These comparisons start when our babies are young and unaware. But comparing can lead to disappointment, resentment, stress and other not-so-healthy mental possibilities. Here’s how you can nip the comparison trap in the bud from the book How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be Ok With It, by Lisa Sugarman.

How to Avoid the Comparison Trap

While we know that it’s toxic to measure ourselves and our kids against other people, we still do it. When our children are babies, it’s normal to be dialed into how other babies are growing and progressing. We want our babies to thrive and excel, but they can’t do that according to someone else’s pace.

— Focus your attention on your child and remember that kids don’t all learn how to sit up or walk or talk on the same day. Every child hits these milestones at different times and that’s OK.

— Limit your time on social media because all that scrolling on other people’s feeds leads to toxic comparisons of yourself and your child. Make a concerted effort to put down your phone and pay more attention to what’s happening under your own roof.

— How to Avoid the Comparison Trap is about dialing into what your child can do and celebrate those accomplishments, inchstones and milestones.

— Keep track of your self-talk and remember to be kind to yourself and treat yourself with compassion and patience. Because you are enough.

New moms and dads are subject to many unfair judgments from friends, family members and other parents. It’s important to give yourselves daily reminders and grace about your strengths, because the truth is, nobody’s life is perfect!

 

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About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.