I'm not one for banning books, but there are a few I refuse to look at. Two, actually. My husband's baby book and my own. I could go back and track how we made it through each childhood development milestone and when, but I've learned the hard way that I'm better off not knowing. When I did, I made myself crazy.
The problem? I was constantly running a tally in my head of the milestones my baby had met before her parents and those she hadn't tackled yet. If she wasn't tracking ahead of either my husband or me (or both), I'd instantly go into panic mode.
We were both walking by a year old; why isn't she walking? Is there something wrong with her? Is it that foot that turns in a little bit? The pediatrician insisted it would correct itself, but what if he's wrong? What if she needs surgery? What if she will NEVER walk?
Eventually, she walked. She was 1 year, 1 month, and 1 day old, and she walked. It was later than my husband, later than me, but then, she isn't my husband and she isn't me. She is herself, and the timing was perfectly normal -- even our pediatrician said so.
Oh, and the foot turned back out too.
But that didn't stop me from worrying about everything else. Worrying, that is, until I finally realized it was time to quit the baby books.
I did it the hard way -- cold turkey. I stopped checking to see when my husband started dressing himself and when I cut my two-year molars.
And you know what? It made for a much happier me. So much happier, in fact, that I'm writing this here confession of my neurotic mom tendencies because I need to share my zen mama moment with the world.
Ladies and gentleman, it is possible to jump off the milestone merry-go-round! But you can't do it until you put. down. those. baby. books!
Really, just lay it down in a closet, and nobody's going to get hurt. You can bring it out again in, oh, about 18 years, long after the first spoonful of mashed peas has been swallowed and the first haircut cried through.
It won't be easy, and maybe you will still be a milestone maniac, but you will start to look at your child in a different way. Because without comparing your child to you or your partner, you'll be forced to look at your baby as just your baby, not a mini version of either of you. And this baby, this new person, will do things at their own pace. Heck, they might even surprise you.
Do you feel yourself falling into the milestone comparison trap?
Image by Jeanne Sager