The Comparison Trap
In this modern age of technology and information at our fingertips it is easy fall into the trap of asking google to answer our questions or reaching out to forums for help. These can of course be valuable sources of knowledge - but is the need to compare our children with others affecting us as parents?
I for one, am guilty of reaching out to the internet for answers; often looking for a yardstick to measure things by. For example; baby experts and baby whisperers alike advise that by 12 months of age a child should be sleeping through the night and don't require overnight feeds. This may be what the perceived 'norm' may be, but the fact is, my son has only slept through the night on 3 occassions in his entire life, and most nights he is getting at least one bottle overnight.
Aside from of course adjusting to having broken sleep for twelve months, my main issue here is that I am now armed with the knowledge that our situation is outside of what is 'ideal' or 'expected' for the particular developmental stage we are in....and this bothers me. It makes me wonder what I am doing wrong, what I should change, and what I can do better. There are so many schools of thought on behaviour and routines that it is almost impossible to know which one to adopt. Then of course you have your friends who you speak to and share stories with. You may find comfort that there are some with similar experiences, but there are also those that are lucky enough to have babies that have basically slept 07.00pm - 07.00am since birth.
We are often so busy trying to fit everything into a category or find out the 'right' way of doing things, that we miss the bigger picture. I am guilty of this on many levels as I still learn about myself and my son every single day. Sure, we may ache for a good nights sleep or wish that our child followed the norm, but that fact is that all people are not the same. I am not the same as you; as you are not the same as the next person. Sure, we may have similarities or common elements but we are all cut from different moulds - with each person bringing something different to the world. Maybe my son sleeps too much during the day? Maybe his little brain is so inquisitive that he can't switch off at night? Maybe it is just that learning to self-settle is not his strong point? The quicker we accept things and stop struggling against the current, the easier life will become - so why is it sometimes so hard to do? Tonight is a new night, and tomorrow the sun will rise to new day full of possibilities - and it has taken me all this time to realise that constantly comparing your situation to others is bound dull your shine.