Have you ever felt inadequate as a mum?
I had huge plans for my 3-year old son, Yuri. Don’t get me wrong; his dad and I still do. But sometimes, I doubt my capability as a mum to work those plans into fruition.
I know it’s bad and every wise person should know by now that comparison is the thief of joy, but I’m finding myself in that blackhole. It’s like having a Macbook. Once you go Mac, you won’t go back or something like that. Once you start comparing, it’s hard to stop.
Recently, I find myself comparing Yuri to almost every child I see, and I find myself worrying about his development. For example, one of his friends came to play one day. He’s only 2 and a half but bigger and slightly taller than my boy. It didn’t help that before that, I’ve been worrying about the lack of changes in his height and weight. Yuri had been an exclusively breastfed baby so he was never on the big side.
And then I see posts of kids already reading by 2 or 3; Yuri is still learning the letter sounds (phonics). Last night, I saw my friend’s post about her 3-year old daughter’s drawing of herself and her daddy. Yuri is just learning to trace. It has never occurred to me before, but last night, I feared that we made the wrong decision to postpone preschool this year.
As you might probably have understood, I made a 180° turn from a chill mum to a worrywart.
To be honest, I know deep in my heart that Yuri is doing alright. He’s conversant and acts maturely for his age, and he’s rarely sick (although we just discovered he’s allergic to shrimp – sadness). But I can’t help thinking about my own inadequacies. Did we, somehow, make some wrong decisions that might affect Yuri in some way? Are we spoiling him or delaying him in some manner? Are we not paying as much attention to his health as we should be? The questions are plenty. They are not helping at all, but they are plenty.
I haven’t shared this concern to my long-distance partner, Job, yet precisely because I know what piece of advice he’ll give me:
Pray, read your Bible, and don’t let your emotions rule your head.
And then he’ll add that he’s always there for us and that Yuri is doing great; he’s a smart and a good boy. I know he will say that not to make me feel better but because it’s what he thinks is true.
So I’ve done a lot of thinking last night. Instead of focusing on my what my son “lacks,” which may or may not be a figment of my imagination, I tried to think of everything that makes him special.
- First, he’s the only toddler I know (so far) who knows the names of around 20-30 kinds of trucks and vehicles. I can’t even tell a front loader from an excavator (and yes, I learned the terms from him).
- He builds this really well. He’s been building crude versions of cars, trucks and aeroplanes using his Mega Bloks since he was 2.
- He might be clingy (another one of my mum-insecurities), but he surprises me sometimes by acting so maturely. He’s really defensive of me.
- So he doesn’t know the numbers beyond 30 yet or the lowercase letters, but he can easily memorise songs and sing them in tune. Okay, a lot of preschoolers do that, but still, I find it amazing!
- So he may not be as tall or as big as some kids, but he’s strong. Yes I am aware that Yuri’s arm is only a few inches wide and that his ribs are somehow showing, but the boy could lift a mean load. Examples are my middle schooler sister’s school bag which is full of books and our freshly delivered gallons of water. Seriously!
In the end, I understood the meaning of my “exercise.” There are so much more things to thank for than things to complain about. Yuri is a special boy who may lack in a few things but is brilliant when it comes to other things. He may not be as big as his peers, but he is healthy. And strong.
Realising these things, I learn that comparison is really the thief of joy and that it is futile. You’ll end up nowhere except in the hole of your own insecurities, perceived to be bigger.