You know the way this story goes. It happens to parents ALL THE TIME! Someone stops you in the grocery store line, at church, or at the playground. They ask your child’s age. You expect a compliment on how cute they are in that outfit you picked out just for today. Instead you get a question about a milestone.
Example A: Saturday I was in the Target checkout line with Superhero Son and Darling Daughter. A lady asked Darling Daughter’s age. I explained that it was her first birthday, fully expecting her to reply, “Oh Happy Birthday, beautiful girl!” Instead she said, “Oh! One year old! Can she walk? All three of my kids were walking by their first birthday!”
Cue parental cringe! No, she cannot walk. My son didn’t walk until 15 months.
Example B: I was at t-ball practice with Superhero Son. An acquaintance that is actually a friend of a friend asked what preschool Superhero Son attends. I explained that he doesn’t. He goes to a private sitter. Her follow up question, with a snooty, shocked tone, “Well! Can he write all of his letters? Our preschool requires the three year olds to be able to adequately form all of their letters. The four year old class will focus on writing complete sentences. Our child is excelling! Won’t your son fall behind?”
Again, cue parental cringe! No, he can only write a few letters.
My pediatrician is paid to tell me if my kids are behind. I work in an elementary school. I am a certified Pk-5 teachers. I have a masters degree in Reading Education. I am a writing teacher. Why do I feel inadequate as a parent? Why do we try to “one-up” each other as parents?
I seriously doubt the Proverbs 31 woman tried to boast her parental skills. Others probably admired her because of her confidence, not her comments about other kids falling behind. I bet she was strong enough in her convictions to know that her children were just fine when others tried to make her feel inadequate. She probably prayed for her children, and left the rest to God to handle.
Don’t be discouraged by others! Don’t try to discourage others! We are all in this parenting thing together!