Some of the questions I would ask others is:
When do I introduce solid foods?
When do I introduce the sippy cup?
When do I begin potty training?
Then, there are the, "When should they", questions. You know.
When should they be sitting up?
When should they be crawling, walking and talking?
This is all natural. We want to be good parents and want to know if anything is wrong. What isn't natural is the competition and judgment. Us moms can be the worst critics and best supporters of other moms. The "mom world" is very dynamic. Being a mom is a privilege and puts us in our own little category.
It can turn ugly though-fast. We all know the hot topics-breastfeeding, immunizations and co-sleeping are a few of the big ones. I won't get into the actual topics because that would just be asking for trouble.
I will give the general rules I follow in my own parenting. I hope this might help put things in to perspective for others.
IS THIS CRITICAL TO THEIR DEVELOPMENT RIGHT NOW?
Before looking at what other children are doing, find out from a reliable source if your child should be doing this because, if they aren't, it would be a reason for concern.
Should your child be eating solid food?
Let's say you have a four month old and have talked to your friend that said they started their child eating solid food at four months. You have tried and your little one wants no part of it. What's wrong?
I would ask the parent in this situation to see if it is critical for your child to be eating RIGHT NOW. The answer to this situation would be that nothing is wrong with their child. Every baby is different. It is actually recommended that parents not introduce solids until their child is AT LEAST four months. Many doctors will recommend that babies be on milk for a solid six months.
In this situation, the fact that the baby is turning away solids at four months is not a big deal because IT IS NOT CRITICAL TO THEIR DEVELOPMENT RIGHT NOW.
AM I UNNECESSARILY CREATING A HABIT THAT WILL HAVE TO BE BROKEN LATER?
Diapers, bottles and breastfeeding are all "habits" that will eventually have to be broken. However, they are "necessary" habits. There really isn't any way to get around it.
However, sometimes we introduce habits "unnecessarily". We are all guilty of it. One big one is the pacifier. Yes, my children used a pacifier. My two youngest only used if for six months or less. My son is approaching a year and still using the pacifier. It is a habit that I am going to have to break. It won't be pretty, but it is of my own doing.
My point is that breaking children from "habits" is no fun for us as parents, but, more importantly, the children have a difficult time dealing with change. So, before I introduce something, I try to think long-term. I ask myself if it is something they can do/have for a long time or is it something I will have to take away? Is it worth it?
I felt the pacifier was worth it. When you aren't getting any sleep, if a pacifier brings comfort to the little one, then it is a small price. I would recommend breaking them of the habit early. Don't be like me!!! lol.
IS THIS SOMETHING THEY MUST BE TAUGHT NOW or IS IT SOMETHING THAT WOULD EVENTUALLY BE LEARNED ANYWAY?
There are certain things that we must teach children from an early age. Then, there are some things that we DO teach children, but they would eventually do on their own.
This is how I prioritize where to put my energy.
For Example: The mother of a three year-old is catching a little flack because their son is not yet potty-trained. Is she a lazy mom?
I look at potty-training as something I work on but not drive myself crazy about. They will eventually learn how to go potty in the toilet. However, I do worry about teaching them their manners and teaching them empathy. Those are things that have to be taught at an early age or may never be acquired.
So, no, this mom isn't necessarily lazy. She may not be focusing on it yet. Us mothers can't tackle everything at once. So, asking ourselves whether this will be something they will eventually learn to do anyway or is it something that has to be taught, can help us direct our focus to what is really important.
Before I start freaking out thinking my child isn't normal, I ask myself these three questions. I get the facts and find out how critical it is for my child's development that they be doing whatever it is. Then, I make sure I am not unnecessarily creating a bad habit. Finally, I prioritize my time. I devote the most time to the things that I have to teach them now, because, if I don't, no one else will.
I try not doing too much comparing. Really, all children are different. If your child is healthy and thriving, you are on the right path. We should support our fellow mom's and not judge them. It can be hard sometimes. I know. However, we know it isn't easy. We know we aren't perfect. So, it is best to take the good and leave the judgment.
New moms are full of questions. I was too when I had my first child over ten years ago. The questions usually start out "When do I....".