Why I Want to Quit Facebook…But Won’t

March 20, 2014 § 7 Comments

This past year it has been so fun watching Evy grow and become a little person of her own. It’s amazing to think that a year ago she would stay put in one place, and now she’s crawling everywhere, climbing on things, eating real food, drinking out of a sippy cup, saying many words, and walking with our support or along furniture. “Wait,” you’re thinking, “did I read that right? She’s still not walking on her own?” Maybe you didn’t think that, but I have definitely thought it a time or two. And this thought is one of the reasons I’ve considered getting rid of my Facebook account. It’s called the Mommy Wars.

walkingI’ve especially noticed that people who have their first children tend to post many of these things on Facebook as a way to brag. And what does this bragging do? It makes others whose children may not have reached those milestones quite yet feel as if their children are somehow inferior. None of this really bothered me until recently, when Evy was still mainly crawling despite many babies a few weeks younger than her who were already walking. Because Evy had been on the earlier end when it came to rolling, teeth, and crawling, I just assumed she’d also be walking early (and my naturally competitive personality definitely hoped so!). But she is not interested in it. Not at all. No, she is cautious. So cautious that she will practically run while holding on with both hands to our hands, but if we let go, she stubbornly decides to sit on the ground.

Mommy wars can include a range of subjects—from why it is “better” for moms to work or stay at home, to whose children are smarter and/or cuter. And they don’t just include moms. Dads and grandparents are not exempt, lest we try to give them a pass. For me, I have noticed that people tend to brag about things that they cannot control. For example, someone’s child gets a tooth early or has more hair or rolls early and that child is suddenly “advanced.” (Because we all have friends who are super smart and have attributed it to their advanced dental, follicle, or rolling abilities.)

Curious if this meant anything, I decided to use my job as a researcher and look into it . . . by Googling it :) And, of course, using the search terms “early crawler, late walker” I found many articles that explained that babies who crawl early and walk later are actually smarter, because they have to use both sides of their brains when crawling, which is much more cognitive labor than just walking. Of course, as one of Steve’s coworkers told me, the internet is like the lamppost for the drunk: often used for support instead of illumination. This explains why changing one’s search terms can also bring up other results that explain that there is actually no real significance between children who crawl longer than others.

What it all comes down to is the normal range. Although parents are often told what is average, we have to keep in mind that average is just that, the average. In fact most kids fall on either side of the average, in the “normal” range. So, for example, the normal range for walking is nine to sixteen months old, yet the average is one year. Evy is almost 14 months old, and she’s doing just fine. She’s walking faster when she holds our hands, balancing on her own at times, and also developing in other ways, such as language and social skills. As one article stated, when children decide to walk is a combination of three main factors: strength, balance, and temperament. It seems as if Evy inherited my temperament to play it safe. She is not a risk taker when it comes to walking, and until she is absolutely sure she can do it, I think she’s going to hold on to our hands for dear life. However, I have a feeling when she decides to let go, she may be running, or at least speed walking :)

Although it drives me crazy to see post after post of people bragging about why their kid is more advanced or cuter than others (we all think that about our own kids, don’t we?), I will likely stay on Facebook because it is the quickest way for me to share photos of Evy with family. But, when it comes to her development, I won’t compare her to other babies, because each baby is unique and, “No matter which baby in the neighborhood walks first or wins the speed race, the age of walking has nothing to do with eventual intelligence or motor skills. When and how your baby walks is as unique as his [or her] personality.” And I absolutely love Evy’s personality.

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§ 7 Responses to Why I Want to Quit Facebook…But Won’t

  • Kristen says:

    I LOVE her personality too!!! And she is one of the best and sweetest little girls there is. :) She has shown that she is fully capable of walking, but like you said, she is going to do it on her own time, when she feels 100% confident that she can do it on her own!

  • Donna says:

    I too love Evy’s personality (but I’m her Nana and that is one of the Nana rules). I loved your comments and have to agree. I was just talking with someone about those very things and have to admit to being on the “it’s good to crawl more/longer” side (mainly because of things Rick learned in his Special Ed classes). I think though that what you’ve said is pretty right on. Each baby/child will do things at her own pace. And yes Mommy (and Daddy and grandparents) Wars are alive and well on Facebook but I will still anxiously await pictures and will keep sharing pics of our adorable grand daughter (and any future grandkids).

  • Jennifer says:

    As far as I’m concerned, when a baby walks later, it just means mommy and daddy get to rest for that much longer. :) Both of my boys didn’t even crawl until 11 months…yes, 11 months exactly for Jordan…11 months, 5 days for Jaden. Jordan didn’t walk until 15 months….that many more months of peace for us. In NO hurry for Jaden to walk…he has plenty of YEARS ahead for that….and, yes, he will start when he is ready! I have a friend whose son started walking at 9 months….SOOOO glad I’m NOT her! LOL!!!

  • Jan says:

    Oh, Megan, this is so crazy making for so many moms and dads!

    I’m not sure if you remember (or even know!) that in my previous life, I directed and taught Parent/Child classes for 14 years (100 families per week!) … so I can say with certainty that this is an ongoing “problem” with parents. It’s usually first time parents (or “one child only families”) who are loudly touting their child’s accomplishments, because by the time the second child comes along, most parents realize really fast that ALL kids develop at different rates! The bragging and one-ups-mans-ship is amped up to super craziness with social media.

    The “my kid is faster, better, smarter, has more teeth, drinks from a cup, crawls, walks, talks, recites the alphabet (although they have NO idea what that is, just a fun song!) plays Beethoven, speaks French, pees and/or poops in the toilet, etc” is enough to make me stop reading posts.

    It was soooo much easier to tone them down face to face, by consistently talking about child development in our classes, so everyone heard the same message, over and over and over and over. ALL kids develop at their own pace and in the end, no one walks down the aisle in diapers or sucking on their binky! (Or even enters kindergarten with the mentioned items!)

    It always amazed me that bright, articulate women (and it was mostly the moms, as dads were far calmer in class!) took a while to realize their kids were not their “project” and that they shouldn’t push, push, push them … but stick with developmentally appropriate practices. The research behind DAP (and proven track record) speaks for itself.

    My advice was always to “relax and enjoy your child at every stage, because they pass through them so quickly”. The old saying, “the days are long, but the years are short” holds true with raising kids, but every seemingly l-o-n-g minute is worth it!

    I could go on and on, but know I’m preaching to the choir. :) Just know that I feel ya’ sista’ and agree 100%!

    Love you guys, keep up the great parenting!

    PS – As Evie gets older you’re going to hear (and read on fb), “My kid reads at the 2nd grade level, my kid counts to 100 in Greek, my kid got in to Blankity-blank school, etc.” … so I want to share one of my favorite quotes with you. This is from Sue Bredekamp, a past president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “Education is not a race, it’s who sticks with it and learns to love it.” Yep.

    • Jan,
      This is so great! I should have had you write the post! :) I don’t think you ever told me about your years doing parent/child classes. Thank you for your insight, the quote, as well as a head’s up for the future. It is MUCH appreciated!
      Megan

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