So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

This post originally appeared on The 21st Century SAHM

Don’t compare your kids to other kids. 

Don’t compare your house to other people’s houses.

Don’t compare yourself to other mothers.

We’ve all heard it. We know we shouldn’t do it. But we do it anyway. Why isn’t my kid reading at your kid’s level? Your kid is already potty-trained? Mine refuses to even try. My kid can’t catch a ball, and yours looks like a superstar on the field. What am I doing wrong? What’s wrong with my kid? 

These are the comparisons we all make. These are the questions we all ask. But here’s the truth.

The kid who can’t read yet may be the best hitter on the team.

The best hitter on the team may struggle with math.

The kid who struggles with math may be an artistic genius.

The artsy kid may be dyslexic.

The kid who is dyslexic may spend her free time volunteering at an animal shelter.

The kid who volunteers may have no real friends at school.

The kid with no friends at school may be musically talented.

The musician may still wear pull-ups to bed at 8 years old.

The kid who still wears pull-ups to bed at 8 years old may be the most well-behaved in class.

The most well-behaved kid may only eat 3 things and cry hysterically when pushed to try new foods.

The kid who only eats 3 things may be gifted.

The gifted kid may have poor social skills and get teased on the playground.

The kid who gets teased on the playground may have been the first one on the street to ride a bike.

The first kid on the street who rode a bike may suffer from crippling anxiety. And ADHD.

The kid with anxiety and ADHD may be a competitive dancer with a room full of awards.

And the kid with a room full of awards may not be able to read.

There’s your answer. Your response to Why isn’t my kid… or Why is my kid… is simple. It’s just who he is. And where he is, developmentally. And just like moms have our secrets—some of us are incredibly insecure….some of us battle infertility….some of us battle addiction….some of us are drowning in debt….some of us are fighting through an unhappy marriage….some of us have faced abuse…some of us are terminally ill—we have secrets about our kids too. We wonder if other people know, and what other people see. And worst of all, what other people say about them.

It’s important to remember that any parent who sees your child struggle to read, or witnesses your child come in last on every lap around the swimming pool, also has a child who has faced a challenge. And that parent has had the same thoughts you are having right now.

My three children have faced and overcome many of their hurdles with relative ease. I have a child who read early. I have a natural athlete. I have one who is incredibly kind and generous—traits that are innate and cannot be taught. But each of them has also struggled, sometimes through tears (theirs and mine) to power through a challenge. And our difficulties are far from over.

I have stayed awake at night often wondering what I was doing wrong. Or what could be wrong with them. Why was this hard? Here’s my answer: Nothing is wrong. Does that mean I stop working with them? No. But it does mean I stop comparing. Or if I do still compare them (and myself) to others, I simply accept that on the timeline of childhood, my kids are perfectly positioned where they are meant to be, in this moment. And there is no failure in that.

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a freelance writer who is known on social media as The 21st Century SAHM. She is an assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds, staff writer and social media manager for Scary Mommy, and is the author of I Brushed My Hair Today, A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms. Follow Karen on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/21stcenturysahm/, Twitter https://twitter.com/21stcenturysahm , and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/the21stcenturysahm/

As Another School Year Begins, Remember Mama: You Know Your Child Best

In: Kids, Motherhood
little girl holding a first day of kindergarten sign

Dear mom buying school supplies and feeling overwhelmed, Stop and pray. Ask God to help you envision each child as the young adult they can be. Write out your goals for that child . . . fair warning, there will likely be very little academic success in your goals. You may even have to go back and write those in. Take a deep breath. Keep this list of goals nearby. Go back and read them when the world is telling you your child doesn’t stack up somewhere. They aren’t reading as fast, they’re not “getting” math, their handwriting is wonky,...

Keep Reading

Every Time the Doctor Says, “It’s a Girl!” My Heart Grows a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sisters sitting on park bench

When I’m in the grocery store with my girls, I always get comments. My oldest girls are walking near the cart with my two-year-old running up and down the aisles. “Three little girls! Wow! God bless you, Momma!” Then they look in my cart and see the car seat holding my nine-month-old. “Is that a baby boy in there?” “No, another girl!” I reply. I get a variety of responses when people realize I have four girls under the age of seven. “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” “Going to try for a boy?” “You are truly blessed—your girls are...

Keep Reading

Raising a Child with a Severe Food Allergy Affects the Whole Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy looking at ice cream cone

I saw something recently that said, “It’s National Ice Cream Day today!” and I cannot stop thinking about it. Now I know that sounds silly, but as a mom of a child with a severe dairy (and egg) allergy, I must admit at times it makes me sad (and more often jealous if I’m being completely honest) when I know my son is going to miss out on another fun or “normal” thing that other kids his age are experiencing, like actual ice cream and ice cream parties. If I continue to be honest, I get jealous when I see...

Keep Reading

So You’re Not the Fun Parent…So What?

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman reading book while two play in background

I’m not the fun parent in our household. Of course, this comes as no surprise to me but it still stung when my 8-year-old said to me rather bluntly the other night, “Daddy’s way more fun than you.” And while the rational part of my brain knows better than to take this kind of comment to heart, my super-sensitive, highly emotional primitive brain did the exact opposite and ran with it.  Daddy is the more fun parent. I’m the stricter, more rigid, and more uptight parent. I’m not the type of parent who, in the spur of the moment, will...

Keep Reading

Mine Is the Shy Kid

In: Kids
Girl sitting on side of playground

I’m the mom of one really shy child. But not your quintessential shy kid. I don’t mean she is “slow to warm up,” because my daughter might not warm up at all. And I don’t mean that she’s only shy until she gets to know you. There are friends and family members she still hides from or won’t talk to. What I mean is my almost-4-year-old struggles so much with her shyness that it’s hard for her to interact with most people. Especially her peers. I’ve Googled more than you could ever imagine about this topic: How shy is too...

Keep Reading

In This Magical Place Called Kindergarten

In: Kids
Kids at elementary school circle time

It’s hard to put into words what happens in a classroom in the course of a year. Especially a kindergarten classroom. For many children, this is their first experience away from home, from their place of comfort and security—the place where they can always be themselves. But teachers are a special breed—especially teachers of littles. And they step into this substitute role with the biggest hearts and the most love to give. They take this unknown, intimidating place and then transform it into a magical, wondrous adventure. A classroom, a community, a family. A place where these little people can...

Keep Reading

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.