“Man, Miles never did that…”
I stopped myself before I finished the sentence. I was doing it again: comparing my son and daughter, something I swore I’d never do when I had kids.
Growing up as a twin, I was constantly compared to my fraternal sister. Wendy was the funny one, Laura was the smart one. Wendy was the chubby one, Laura was the skinny one. Wendy did X, Laura did Y and on and on. It did (and still does) drive me crazy to always be viewed in contrast to my sister. Even now, as I work toward finishing grad school, I still get told that my sister is smarter and we haven’t even lived in the same state in five years, let alone been in the same school! For us, this competition was pretty destructive. It always felt like someone wasn’t measuring up. It made us, I think, competitors instead of allies.
So, I’ve always promised myself that if I had kids, I’d never compare them. They’d each be special snowflakes, viewed as wholly separate from their sibling.
Then I had my daughter and I realized how hard it is NOT to compare your kids. I don’t mean to do it in a way that assigns value or implies that one kid is better than the other, but it is just so hard not to notice that Kid #1 walked six months later than Kid #2 or that one seems indestructible when the other cries over every tiny sliver.
I think when you have your first child, they are the template for what is your normal for how kids act and then you have a second child and they don’t follow that template (in ways that are both great and perplexing) and you can’t help but compare to try to make sense of having such different kids.
I am trying to be more mindful of it though and am very careful not to compare them in front of each other, but I wonder if I am alone in worrying about the danger of comparison parenting.
Do you find yourself comparing your children to each other? Do you think that is something to worry about?