Parenting is a privilege… not a competition

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, toddler, #whatkatydidUK
Up on his feet: Sonny Jim is now a toddling toddler

I think we can all agree on the fact that Einstein was a pretty clever chap.

But, did you know he was slow to talk? In fact, he reportedly didn’t start speaking until he was four. FOUR.

I bet he had his mum fretting.

Sonny Jim has just started walking. He’s one and a bit and in his little gang of baby buddies, he’s pretty much the last to get up on his feet.

He also took his sweet time in starting to crawl. Has no interest in potty training. Calls pretty much everything he sees “Bob”. And utterly refuses to wave or clap on cue.

None of this bothers me in the slightest.

Yet it’s really easy as a mummy to start comparing your baby to others. To start fretting that you’re doing something wrong. That so-and-so’s child is three months younger than yours and can hop, skip and jump while yours just wants to eat their shoes.

I’ve been determined not to fret about milestones. About ticking boxes. Consciously choosing not to worry (and by nature I am a complete worrier!) about time scales.

My little lad is a sweet-natured, content somewhat shy toddler, with a gorgeous giggle and a cheeky smile. He’s healthy and happy (when he’s not wailing because I have the audacity to put him in the buggy.) And he’ll figure everything out in his own way, in his own time. There’s no rush.

Raising a child isn’t a competition. It’s a privilege. And while celebrity mums, and filtered photos on Instagram would have us believe everyone else is managing so much better, that their children are so much more advanced, it’s worth remembering Einstein.

If that crazy-haired genius could struggle with speech as a tot, then the fact your little one won’t hold his own spoon, or my boy prefers cuddling to toddling really is absolutely fine.

This post was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, August 4, 2017:

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