Unless you barricade yourself off from the outside world, you can’t escape them. The well-meaning (mostly), but perhaps not so well thought out questions:
• Is he sleeping through the night?
• How much does she weigh?
• Has he started solids yet?
• Is she toilet trained yet?
Have you ever asked anyone these questions? Have you ever been asked these questions?
Maybe it is the primal competitive streak in all of us. Perhaps we are worried that other people might think we are bad parents or that something is wrong with our kids. Maybe we just want assurances that our kids are doing okay compared with the rest of the pack. Regardless of the reason, parents these days seem awfully worried about ensuring that little Harry or little Hailey is keeping up with the Joneses.
So many people look with disdain at parents who push their children too hard or who hyper-parent, putting the kids in beauty pageants, pushing them to succeed in sports, signing them up for extra tutoring to ensure an A+ in school. But where do you think that starts? It starts at the baby stage, when the barrage of questions and comparisons comes in.
Stop worrying about whether your child is sleeping through the night and enjoy some nighttime cuddles instead. Stop spending hours “just trying” on the potty and spend that time playing outside instead. Don’t worry about pushing to introduce solids and revel in the fact that your body can nourish your baby exclusively. Stop obsessing about percentiles because the 50th percentile means the half of healthy babies are bigger than the 50th percentile and half of them are smaller.
Enjoy your baby. Relax, slow down and be patient. Your child will do all these things with time and letting your baby grow up on her schedule and respecting her pace is what should make you a proud parent, not hitting every milestone before the kid next door.
—Annie is trying to take it slow and be patient while raising her two kids. She blogs about the art and science of parenting at phdinparenting.com.