Hi Is This Normal,

I always wanted to be a stay at home mom to lots of kids, and then struggled with infertility/loss before finally getting my twin boys. They’re almost 3 and I find myself thinking I don’t want any more, and in fact, I really want to go back to school for a career change. Was I just wrong about my calling and this new career is what I’m meant to do, or am I just never satisfied with my life?

Am I a SAHM?

 

Dear Milestone Marker,

 

It’s TOTALLY normal to compare your kid’s milestone markers to other babies. We track them on a universal scale, so of course we look to other kids to see how ours are matching up! And yes, it’s 100% normal to worry that your baby isn’t doing all the same stuff on the same timeline as her baby peers. We compare ourselves to others in so many aspects of our lives – career, appearance, finances. The thing is, comparing your baby to someone else’s baby is like comparing apples to sushi. No two babies are alike – not even identical twins! This was never more evident to me than when I had my second daughter. I remember thinking, “Two girls, cool! I’ve done this before, second time around is going to be caaaaaake.” And my children literally could not have been more different if they’d tried. It was like I’d gone back to Parenting 101, except I was cockier so the failures and letdowns stung just a bit more. Every time the baby did something later than her sister, I worried about her. Every time she did something earlier, I worried about her sister! Our pediatrician had to sit me down and tell me to stop worrying, because despite being born of the same parents and nurtured in the same household, my kids were their own separate beings, independent of one another. They’re 9 and 5 now, and I’m still learning this lesson, tbh.

 

Now, I’m going to level with you: not all those other kids are super advanced. I’d wager a guess that most of them are just totally normal, developing babies. Because guess what? Parents don’t brag about the normal, ordinary stuff their kids do. That’s not going to win them any accolades at Tiny Gym. They brag about the one-off stuff, the seemingly extraordinary stuff that they can use to set their kids apart from the herd. And you know what else? They also exaggerate about milestones … a lot. An excited, first-time mom can jump the gun and hear “MAMA” when really, all her 5-month-old was was trying to do was poop. You really have to take every brag and boast from parents with a grain of salt, just keep that in mind.

 

But you may have very valid concerns about your little one’s developments, and I don’t want to downplay that at all! There’s nothing worse than having a genuine concern dismissed. If you need some reassurance, schedule a sit down with your pediatrician. The CDC milestone guidelines are just that: guidelines. They are not requirements, and they are not set in stone. Some kids sit up before they roll over. Others walk without crawling first. Every baby is different! I know it’s worrisome, but unless your pediatrician seems worried, I want to gently encourage you to not focus so much on the guidelines or what other babies are doing before yours. She’s working on her own timeline, which is exactly right for her. And don’t worry that your 8-month-old isn’t walking, trust me. Once they start doing that, it’s a whole new (and incredibly stressful and exhausting) ballgame.

 

Doing Things On Her Own Time and That’s Just Fine,

Is This Normal

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