It's a killer. And it seems to be prevalent amongst mothers more than any other group of people. As I thought back over the last week, I realised that it was when I started comparing Levi to my friends babies that I had become discouraged. I became frustrated that he wasn't acting the way their babies were, he wasn't sleeping well like their baby, or eating like their baby or he was much more fussy than their baby. I stopped just loving Levi for Levi and trusting that we were doing just fine. I started enjoying motherhood much less when I compared how much other firends were enjoying their "perfect" babies...of course, this is only from my perspective on the outside looking in!
I panicked, certain that I had to "fix" him. I tried to put Levi on a schedule, I tried to make him sleep in his own room, I woke him to feed. I did all the things that other people were doing, and were working for them. I tried everything, all at once, scrambling to make things right, feeling like time was getting away from me.
Before I tried to make him like everyone elses baby, my little guy was quite content to take really good daytime naps in the swing, and eat when he woke up. Taking much more at some feeds than others. He settled well at night and slept pretty good stretches most the time. Then I started trying to force him to be on my schedule etc and he bagan to be fussy and unpredictable.
During one of my devotionals which challenged us as mothers not to compare I was strongly convicted that I was doing just that. A peace flooded over me. A hope that it was actually ok; that my 8 week old was doing just fine for an 8 week old in every area of his life - even if I didn't manage to do tummy time every day! haha!
He is him, and I am his mum, and we are figuring it out just fine.
This is not to say that I can't receive wise counsel from friends and family, solicited and un-solicited. I want to share this experience and have the humility to recognise that I do not have all the answers. However, I want our sharing to be coming from a place of love and not comparison. I want to hear another mother's story without anxiety that I am doing something wrong. I want to share my own experiences without fear of judgement or criticism. I want to be open to share when I fail, or struggle and celebrate when I conquer a hurdle.
I am blessed to have a great community of mums around me, who do a good job of supporting and loving me, but I am a newbie, and I am still insecure in my mum skills. I compare, and I need to quiet those voices and hear only Jesus.
That still small voice which gives me identity. I am a mother to a beautiful boy. I am enough.
This is a beautiful and wonderful journey, and while there is much shared experience, the fact remains that we are all unique individuals and so are our children. Made perfectly in God's image. Incomparable.
I leave you with a picture of my uniquely perfect little man at 5 days old. In comparison, he looks like a giant today...I guess that's a fun comparison to make!