Raising Davis: Comparatively Speaking

By Meg Bodden on March 11, 2008
Davis is two years, four months old. His conversation skills are excellent. His energy level is off the chart — and he is comfortable with wearing a diaper.

Do I check all the schedules to make sure Davis is on track? No, not really, but when other moms tell me they are potty training their two-year-olds, I feel like I am the last horse in a race and potty-training Davis is the coveted trophy.

Why did this bother me? Am I a competitive mother? I guess it wasn’t so much about competition, but because I felt I wasn’t doing my job as a mom — something I struggle with because I’m a mom with a career. Should I have marked potty training down in my Daytimer? Did I miss a deadline that other moms are aware of?

Davis and I had been fine with the diaper thing. I had been told that my stepdaughters and my Godson were in diapers until they were three and I was assuming Davis would be the same. (See what I’m doing? I’m rationalizing my decision to let Davis and me take our time.) There had been no pressure — until I talked to my friend who was adamant about getting her little girl trained.

I tried to encourage Davis for a week or two, he wasn’t interested and I realized that I was pushing this on him due to my own insecurity and competitiveness. So this wasn’t about him. It was about me. After a week or so, I got over it and went back to happily changing diapers (and erased the deadline I had penciled in). I’m just assuming he won’t go on his first date in diapers.

I often find myself feeling insecure with my parenting because he didn’t come with a manual. As a mom, I count on experienced moms to give me advice and reassurance. I also compare notes on what children of the same age are doing to reassure myself that Davis is not an alien from another planet.

I have learned, however, to avoid those moms and parenting books whose purpose, it seems, is to make moms who work feel inadequate.

Comparisons, I suppose, are healthy to a point, but when one soccer mom insults me because (God forbid) Davis is wearing fake Crocs or isn’t yet enrolled in dancing class, I step away. This isn’t about the kids. It’s about moms being competitive or elitist with other moms. I know Davis couldn’t care whether he’s listening to classical music or Barney’s Greatest Hits. And Davis doesn’t care what the other kids are wearing or whether the toys they are playing with are educational (he just wants all the toys for himself!). It’s the moms who create this mania.

So, I am going to get off the crazy train and let my little guy develop at his own pace, play with the toys he loves and keep his development about him and less about my feeling challenged by ‘perfect’ moms. PC

Published in Spring 2008

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