Trying not to be a goal driven parent

I think it’s human nature to be competitive and to compare yourself against others. I know that I thrive on competition – sometimes with others, usually with myself; I continually need to have goals and targets to meet or to better. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve struggled not having the clear goals a working environment brings during my maternity leave year. As the year has progressed and H has developed and grown, it would be incredibly easy to latch on to her ‘development milestones’ and use those to fuel my need for continual progression. But I’m going against my natural inclinations and trying to not do this because I don’t want to become a goal-driven parent.

Rowing – my competitive outlet for years!

Firstly, let me be upfront – I’d be a hypocrite and a liar if I said I have never made comparisons between H and other babies I know. But similarly, through those same observations the obvious has also been clearly demonstrated to me, namely this:

Every baby grows and develops in their own way and at their own rate.

Now sure, there are certain milestones which if not reached by a certain age become “warning signs” to potential issues. But if your baby isn’t crawling by 4 months, walking by 8 months and talking at a year then it’s really no big issue. Every week I get several ‘circulars’ delivered to my inbox from various baby sites. They give me little facts about what my baby might be doing during this week / month of their life. The key word there is might. H didn’t roll until about 7 months and she’s only just started showing interest in being on her front for more than 5 minutes at 8.5 months. But she’s been able to hold her own beaker since she was 6 months old, has been holding her own bottle during milk feeds for at least a month and is generally much more dexterous than her marginally older peers.

“Ooh, if I move off my back I can see the moving picture box better!”

I’ve got several mum friends who are desperate for their child to crawl, cut a tooth or grow so fast they need new clothes or a new car seat. I can understand why they do this but having reflected upon it, it’s not for me. If I start watching H simply from the perspective of some set milestones, I’ll miss every other little development that she makes. There is also the risk that the behaviour will also continue in to her older childhood years and I want her to have the freedom to develop as she wants and explore things that interest her.

After all as many a wise person has said, you don’t see teenagers needing to be rocked to sleep, being spoon fed and crawling to school. Everything will happen eventually and if for some reason it doesn’t, that’s why there are professionals there to help!

The Pramshed

20 comments On Trying not to be a goal driven parent

  • It’s so hard but I think we have to be careful not to compare our babies to others. Like you say, it will happen when baby is ready #familyfun
    Emma recently posted…Should I be censoring myself?My Profile

    • Definitely. I often find myself doing it but remind myself she probably does lots of other things her peers don’t. It balances out in the end! Thanks for commenting x

  • Couldn’t agree more! Yep just let these things happen and more often than not they will (and you’ll be wishing the baby wasn’t crawling/walking etc too before you know it)! Really good post to remind people not to ‘buy in’ to these developmental milestones too much. #familyfun
    Mindful Mummy Mission recently posted…Did you know you can learn Mindfulness from a Disney Pixar film?My Profile

    • You’re quite right that the moment the walking, talking etc happens you realise life has just got a bit more hard work! Thank you for reading and for your lovely comment x (Also apologies for the delay in approving – it got caught in my spam filter randomly!)

  • I don’t think I’ve opened up any emails from these sites in months. Delete delete delete! What your baby 10 months… So what! Delete! There is too much pressure to perform and yes if they aren’t showing signs of doing things the health professionals will spot it but it’s all guidelines and they all get there eventually!! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…#FamilyFun Week 8My Profile

    • Wise move in ignoring those emails! I have a friend who always gets herself worried that her LO isn’t developing enough because she reads these things and compares. Just causes her undue stress! Thanks for commenting x

  • This is very true, I am definitely guilty of comparing my children to others, I don’t think we can help it it is human nature. I know deep down though that it is pointless and like you say, every baby will do things when they are good and ready. I know this too well after watching my pram boy do everything slower than his peers but doing in nonetheless in his own time. Thank you for sharing this at #FamilyFun

    • It is hard and as you say it’s human nature. I am naturally prone to over comparing and competing so really had to fight against it. In reality I do compare but just try and put it into perspective against everything else she does. You’re so right that your son will get there and is probably having lots of fun in the process! Thanks for reading x

  • I have always tried not to compare my kids to others. They will do what they need to when they are ready.
    Ali Duke recently posted…Making Halloweeny Fairy CakesMy Profile

  • I completely agree with you! I purposely didn’t sign up to those ‘milestone’ sites / apps because I just didn’t want to know. She’ll do things in her own time. People often ask me ‘when will she crawl / walk / talk’. My reply is always: ‘there’s no time frame. She’ll do it when she’s ready!’
    Lucy | Lucy’s Locket recently posted…Working mum stigma My Profile

    • Great idea! If we were to have another I wouldn’t sign up. I still get them monthly now but rarely read them – only if there are tips on things like potty training etc. Sounds like you’ve handled peoples questions really well! Thanks for reading x

  • Yes – so hard not to be worried about all those milestones and when they’ll happen. With my daughter (2nd child) I have been much more easygoing. What a relief to know it will all come together, and believe it! Thanks for the read! #fortheloveofblog

  • I just read a book about the damage we’ve done to this generation because of the constant comparison. It’s a step further down the line but called Beautiful Failures. I think we made parenting about is so the kids got endlessly compared and begin to feel pressure from a very early age as a result. #fortheloveofblog
    Lydia c lee recently posted…First of the month fiction – NovemberMy Profile

    • That sounds like an interesting and worrying read. Thanks for mentioning it. I’m going to look it up. Heard on the radio today that even 8 year olds now suffer with anxiety. Terrible! Thanks for reading x

  • I think that goals are really important to help move us forward, I certainly have them at work. I’m trying not to focus on the developmental milestones goals as at 15 months our daughter is still not walking, she’s showing signs, but not there yet. As you say we shouldnt put unnecessary pressure on ourselves for this, they will walk when they are ready. Goals are important and should be used for the right things. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    • I completely agree. I definitely need goals but the right kind. I think certain perceived goals, such as your daughter not having hit her ‘walking milestone’ yet just cause undue panic; The main thing is she’s showing signs and bearing weight. The rest needs to come from her being confident. Being aware of what your baby needs to be doing is important but it shouldn’t be the all-consuming focus of life!

  • Every child is different, is thee own person and as long as they are happy and healthy then who cares if they are walking at 9 months or 14 months. Me and my friend have children a month apart and as my daughter walked first, she beat herself up so much when it’s matters we can’t control. We put so much pressure on ourselves in everything, it’s so much better to just let life flow and enjoy today. Great post! #fortheloveofblog

    • That’s so sad your friend felt the pressure because her daughter wasn’t walking when yours was. But I can relate. I get hit by those feelings too but have to box them away. Each child chooses to focus on developing a skill – for some the priority will be walking and for others it will be something else. Thanks so much for reading! x

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About Me

About Me

Hello, I'm Angela. I'm Mum to two small people (6 & 3). I'm a Gardener, houseplant obsessed and addicted to tea. By day I work in tech and also look after my littles. I'm trying to get our family to live a more sustainable life. I also have far too many opinions...hence the blog. You can read more about me here. You can also follow me on Instagram for mainly plant spam. Hope you enjoy reading!

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