Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Comparison Is A Real Jerk

Yes, I know I am incredibly late with Elliott's 12 month update, but yes I am going to write this post first. It's just been burning a hole in my heart the past couple days!

Comparison is a real jerk. Leading up to, and since Elliott's first birthday I've been feeling really introspective about the past year. Unfortunately, not in the good, warm and fuzzy way. I found myself thinking about all the areas we got things wrong. Off base. Missed the mark where others obviously got it right.

I mean, surely he should be eating better by now. So and so's one year old eats all solid food. Why is Elliott still throwing everything off his tray and then when I try to fill his belly with oatmeal or purees he whips the spoon to the floor? I highly doubt other Mom's experience this much trouble at every single meal. That stupid stupid food list we were trying to follow must be to blame. Better believe we won't be making that mistake again!

And then there's his sleep. (Or lack there of?) Well, so and so's baby has been sleeping 12 hours since 6 months old. There was a good 4-5 month stretch where I was up every 1.5-2 hours. I heard it all. I need to stop nursing him to sleep. I need to stop bouncing/rocking/shushing/patting him to sleep. I need to give him a comfort item at bedtime. (Which is confusing because I thought you weren't supposed to put anything in the crib??) Put Lavendar in his bath and on his feet. Give him a bedtime massage. Bathe him every night. Oh wait, he has dry skin? Stop bathing him every night. I should wean him off night nursing. I should wean him off breastfeeding altogether. Why doesn't Chris get up with him? Why don't I let him cry it out?

Side note. Vulnerability is the key to relationship. If we can't be real with one another about our struggles, we'll never grow real friendships. However, if being vulnerable means inviting unwelcome advice, where does that leave us?

Well first of all, it leaves me so thankful for the few friendships I have where it doesn't feel like a "who's baby is better" contest, but instead just two Mom's swapping notes. You know who you are, and your friendship has been invaluable to me this past year! Next, it leaves me humbled by my lack of knowledge and compelled to keep my mouth shut, because I've been the one who broke down crying from a simple suggestion to "just fill his belly before bed" Oh, I hadn't thought of that, thankyouverymuch. Thanks for solving all my problems and then going home to sleep a full night's rest because you have a fifteen year old. But yes, by all means, give me ALL THE ADVICE.

Ok, but really.

Comparison is a jerk and steals so much from us. I'm embarrassed to say how much I have obsessed over this kid's sleep. It caused me so much anxiety I started seeing a psychologist. And you know what he said? I need to allow myself a little grace in this stage of life. I don't need to handle sleep deprivation with a smile. Sleep deprivation sucks. What makes it suck even more though, is trying to figure out why my baby isn't acting like her baby.

Here's the thing. None of us understand babies. If we're lucky, we might become experts on our own babies, and while that makes us uniquely qualified to give advice on how to care for our own child (to say, a babysitter) it does not mean that what worked for you will work for me. Or maybe it will, but your method doesn't work for me. 

Back to my point. Comparison steals joy. Instead of deciding what balance works for you, you spend all your time trying to juggle someone else's ideals. I'm not an attachment parent, a free range or a helicopter parent. We don't cry it out, and we don't co-sleep. I don't fit in any category which sounds tricky, because how do I know what to do if I don't have a specific book to follow? My meter stick for what is right is not, and can never be the woman in the fancy parenting blog or the Mom in my Mom's group who has all the answers everytime. It can't be my best friend or my Mom or sister. My meter stick has to be Jesus. That is where true joy is found. 

The Bible may not have verses that tell me what foods to feed and how to get a baby to sleep, but it is chock full of wisdom on heart posture and where I need to be placing my focus. And when I focus on Jesus, the food splattered on the floor gets a little bit easier.

This year has been amazing. Hard? Sure, at times. But so bonkers jam packed with joy that it dries up all the sleep deprived tears and points me straight towards Jesus. The joy of the Lord is my strength, and it renews me each day!



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Thanks for stopping by :)

~M

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