Thursday, January 19, 2012

Raising Kids Is Not a Contest

I visited one of my favorite college roommates (ok, they’re all my favorites, since I only had three!) over the weekend in DC and met her most adorable toddler. When you’re visiting a family for an extended period of time (and a long weekend definitely counts), you really get to know them, even more so than you already do. For example, you see how they drink organic milk to give their kiddo the best nutrition or how cold they keep the thermostat (my friends must have lived in igloos in a previous life – it was cold all weekend! ). You also get to know their parenting style.

I am not surprised that CR’s toddler is BRILLIANT and so verbal. I mean, CR and her husband are the two smartest people I know – so it was obvious to me that their kid would be amazing. And he is.

But watching them raise their child, I mean I literally saw their parenting going on in front of my face, watching them mold and grow their child in their faith and otherwise. It was truly amazing. I realized at that moment that there is a reason I waited to have children. Because all that work that CR is doing? How she spends hours with him on the floor, reinforcing concepts like colors, and numbers, and Latin prayers? It is exhausting. And I was only watching her do those things, not even doing them myself! She loves it. She is such an amazing mom and this kid will go on to do amazing things because he had two wonderful parental figures in his life that were SO involved wit him.

After seeing her interact with her toddler all day every day for three days, I know that being a mom is a full time job, no matter if you have a job outside of the home in addition to that or not. Period.

Towards the end of the weekend, I found myself wondering how I can stay home with my kid when I have them, how I can instruct them in all those things they should know at each development stage in their life, how I can get my kid to read before going to preschool.

And then I stopped.

Because you know what? Raising children is not a contest. It’s not a race. There is not a winner. Just because CR’s toddler knows all of those amazing things at this point doesn’t mean that MY kid would be a failure if they don’t. And they might not. Because every kid is different.

And every parent is different. I get to make those decisions when the time comes, and as long as I do my research and my husband and I are in agreement, then that’s what we’ll do. I don’t have to race my friends to a certain point with our children.

It’s not a race. I have to remember that in a few years when I’m feeling the pressure. Because there isn’t a winner, really. Except the kids that we’re trying to raise to be good human beings. Isn’t that enough?


  1. you've learned one of the biggest lessons of being a momma before being a momma ;) congrats! for real.

  2. Wise words my friend! I couldn't agree more....

  3. Great post. It really is a full time job! And it is hard as a mom not to compare yourself to other moms and their children.

  4. Darci is very right that it is hard and we make it harder because in order to make sure our child is not falling behind due to something outside of our control (say autism), we continually compare our child to their peers.

    My biggest issue as a mom is not so much comparing my child as comparing myself. When you mentioned that CR spent all this time on the floor with her child, I immediately thought "I don't do that nearly as much as I should". Then, I had to stop myself and think about the reasons I choose to not play on the floor - like him needing to learn to entertain himself and play alone.

    Sadly, I really think that its not something we consciously do, but that it will take consciously stopping it to make any kind of difference.