My Kid Isn't Better than Yours

I have a confession to make. 

I thought my kid was cuter than yours. I thought he was probably smarter, too. And DEFINITELY more charming and sweet-tempered. My little boy could run circles around your kid. Nothing against your kid. Honest. It’s just that MY kid is SPECTACULAR!

It was only a matter of time before one of my shaky home videos of him went viral. Before he was scouted by some Hollywood producer. Before his teacher took me aside to whisper that he was really, truly special – the most extraordinary boy she’d ever met -- and she just wanted me to know that. 

But then I got to know your kid. I conceded to myself that your kid was pretty cute, too. Yes, maybe even very charming. And after that fit my kid threw during that one play-date, maybe, MAYBE they were both the same amount of sweet-tempered.

It was after my first parent-teacher conference that things began to change. I didn’t even realize it, but I’d been expecting … I don’t know … MORE. Streamers, maybe. A confetti canon. Perhaps a marching band or parade. A beaming teacher, clapping her hands with excitement at the chance to talk about my child. 

I expected chirping birds and soft music in the background as she went through his file and showed me that he was BRILLIANT by every measurable standard.

None of that happened. But she did say he’s very well-behaved and just where he should be on his reading – though his penmanship could use some work.

This was one of my first inklings – a nagging doubt, if you will – that maybe my opinion of my child was colored by my complete adoration of him. Could it be, I dared to wonder, that my child is a great kid but not THE GREATEST KID EVER? At least, not to anyone else but me? And was that okay?

I really had to stop and think about it

And then I thought about your kid. Your kid is freaking adorable – you know I’ve always thought so. But when I thought about it objectively, and not as a mother drunk on love, I realized that no, I mean seriously, your kid is REALLY great. And that doesn’t make my kid any less great.

You know what happened next? Wooooosh! This huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Weird, right? I didn’t even know a weight had been there. 

I'd been so worried, I think. Endlessly comparing; endlessly keeping score. I didn’t fully celebrate your child’s successes because I was afraid they threatened my own kid’s chance for success. As if there was only so much to go around.

How stupid is that? And I didn’t even realize I was doing it. 

I was subconsciously measuring my child and myself against everyone around me, trying to see if I was doing it right, if I fit in; believing that my child was a reflection of me and if he was successful, that meant I was successful. And if he was the best, that meant I was the best.

But my little boy is not a reflection of me. He is his own person. His own little growing person and I am here for assistance only. Assistance and hugs -- but not for credit.

I still think my boy is spectacular – nothing will change my mind about that. But I’m not waiting with baited breath for everyone else to stop what they’re doing and acknowledge it. 

And – the big one -- I don’t need him to be better than other kids for me to know he’s great. 

Because he’s great to me. TO ME. In a million varied and unremarkable ways. But he’s no prodigy. I don’t think he’s a genius in the literal definition of the word. He’s simply smart. And good. And beautiful and creative and fun and mischievous and sometimes very naughty – all the qualities you’d hope to find in a growing boy

All the qualities I see in your kid, too.


  1. I love this. Not too honest but very insightful. Not for credit . . . I am going to have to keep that in mind, because so often I take credit--both good and bad. When they soar, it's see, I'm a brilliant mom. When they plummet, it's see? I knew I failed at this mom thing.
    You're brilliant

  2. Your child IS brilliant and kind and creative and funny, which is why he has to marry my daughter, because she deserves only the best :)

    Seriously though, I think this is your best blog yet.


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