I Know We Shouldn't Compare, but...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Good Morning All!

    I'm just having a little sad moment this morning...

    I know that I shouldn't compare my child to anyone else, but sometimes--there it is, right in front of your face.

    As you may remember, I have posted about taking my kids to the neighbor's farm to help with chores for a few hours here and there....and how it is always a challenge to ensure that difficult child is behaving appropriately (that she is not grabbing the cats and scaring the horses and sitting on the dogs, etc etc).

    Well, my neighbor recently hired a full-time assistant--a lovely woman, who as it turns out, has a 13 year old daughter who attends school with difficult child. So this woman begins to ask about my child to see whether her daughter might know her. Her daughter? Honor student, 4-H club, plays soccer--is my daughter involved in any of those? What teachers does she have?

    Meanwhile, I am dying a little inside because I know that her daughter would know EXACTLY who difficult child is if I said "O, she's the girl that threatened to kill herself at school...". But of course, I don't say that...and I just answer vaguely about how my child isn't too into sports, etc. etc.

    Today, I finally got to meet this woman's daughter in person....and there she was--a 13 year old girl, pony-tail, braces, smiling, eager to do farm chores in exchange for the chance to maybe have a few riding lessons.

    And as I watched her interacting with her mother and the horses and the cats and the dogs...it was all, well, just, so normal....

    And so I am a little bit sad...in a way that only other parents with difficult children can understand.


    Thanks for "listening"...

  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ohhhhhhhhh, {{{{hugs}}}} Daisy. I KNOW THE FEELING.

    I don't know what to suggest, because I'm one of the worst when it comes to that. Some days, I look at other kids and think, hey, there's no excuse for their behavior except for poor parenting. And I know I've worked my tail off at THAT. Other days, the other kids are just so cute and seemingly perfect.
    But my difficult child is cute, too. I keep telling people that if he weren't so cute, I would have killed him by now. ;)
    Just think about the good things ... maybe his laugh, his walk, something endearing ... ?
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    No. We shouldn't compare. But it's normal to do so. I shed so many tears for the same reason over the years. Sometimes it just grabs you by the heartstrings and gives a yank.

    It helped when I'd force myself to think of the positives about my difficult children. Travis had this scary ability to be able to take anything mechanical apart and put it back together again. He picked up musical insturments and just played the darned things. Amazing. At 8 Nichole drew a picture of a bird that looked like it would fly off the page. Her ability with animals still makes me shake my head.

    Focusing on their strengths got me thru some rather very tough times.

    With Travis I did alot of grieving. I made a break thru when I realized I wasn't grieving because he is not "normal" nor never will be. I was grieving for all the potential that had been there but because of his disabilities would never be realized.

    Focusing on the positives (even when it seemed like there wasn't any) did wonders for me. If we're not careful we can get too caught up in the difficult child behaviors and sort of forget the kid behind it all. Especially during bad times.



    i think it is something we are all guilty of, even though we know it is something we shouldnt do. It does seem unfair sometimes, but i am sure even the families that try to make out like they are this perfect little family , even they have skeletons in there closets; so i try not to think about it too much.
  5. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    It's always a little heatbreaking to see other kids doing things in life that we wanted/dreamed of for our difficult children. I even find myself doing it a little with my easy child and difficult child. Just last night, easy child was asking about how to make an f in cursive writing (grade 3). It's something I taught difficult child to do in about grade 7/8 and he still doesn't like to try. I just commented oh difficult child, I guess that's why you never learned it, they teach it in grade 3, and you were in XXX program then. At that time we were just trying to get him to school to learn ANYTHING, let alone cursive writing. Led me to thinking of all the other things difficult child missed out on and made me a little sad too.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  6. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    If we must compare, let's compare the strength of your heart. How pure is your love to face each day. How hard is your resolution to do the best for your child? How big are the challenges you have to face?

    A co-worker of mine had a child that experienced a sever brain trauma. Every day for 10 years that mother when to the bed of the child who was in a coma, and sat with him, washed him, read to him and loved him. The child never woke up and eventually went to heaven. On the hard days I think about her and compare our two lives. I would never want to trade places. As difficult as our difficult child get we still have them in our lives.

    But, sigh wouldent it be nice if ...
  7. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Oh Daisy,

    I so understand. I compare all of the time. Even though we shouldn't, how can we not??? I miss all of the things I will never get to do with my daughter. When I am out shopping and I see a mom and teenage girl together, laughing and picking out clothes it just tears my heart into pieces!!!! Or when I hear about someone else's child going to the prom or graduating HS, going off to college, it kills me because I know I will never get to experience those milestones with my daughter!!! It saddens me for her too, she will never experience those things either. It's as though we are mourning the child we thought we were going to have. I love the "Welcome to Holland" story, it is so fitting for us parents!!!

    I am like you, reluctant to say who my daughter really is. When someone asks, I am afraid to say as I don't know what they witnessed my daughter doing or saying!!! Then I feel guilty for being ashamed. It's not even shame really. I am just so afraid to hear someone else say hurtful things about my baby, ya know? Then I feel the overwhelming need to justify her behaviors. I usually end up going into great detail about her illness because I would rather them feel sympathy for her than disgust!!! When in reality, why should I really care what other people think anyway?

    I so get it!!!

    Shawna :)
  8. bran155

    bran155 Guest


    Thanks for that. Very true! :)
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I think this is why the Welcome to Holland bit touched me...I grieve a little bit, frequently.

    I avoid the watercooler conversations at work - I just can't bring myself to pretend to care anymore that Cindy's daughter only got 3 minutes of playing time at the last soccer tourny, or that Joe's son was benched for a technical foul which cost the team the game and the coach didn't fight it...it just hurts to hear such importance placed in what seems to be all the wrong spots. At least your kid can play team sports.

    I also try to remember that there are parents out there envious of what my child is capable of.

    There's a good side to it, too. Most parents don't recall the exact date their baby said "mama" or "daddy". I do. They don't recall the date when their child clung to them for the first time - or let them go. I do. They don't recall the first successful playdate. I do. To "typical" parents, those things aren't so important. To me, those are the milestones and goals that I am so very proud of and that push me forward when I really just want to quit. The little things.

    Hugs. Its ok to grieve.
  10. lizzie09

    lizzie09 lizzie

    Thank you all for writing these feelings....I know exactly how you feel as I am there too, so many words of wisdom in all the posts I found so uplifting
  11. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    this is a good topic since most of us have these feelings and we can share them here. It helps me to know you all are here and understand and experience these things too. It is hard not to feel envious sometimes--I think it is probably normal! Or, to feel like you are on the outside looking in.

    I tend to be very frank about my difficult child 1--"oh, what is difficult child up to these days?" My reply: Oh, she lives out in Seattle now and has a new baby and works as an exotic dancer. I say it in the same way someone else would say, "oh, she is a senior in high school now and is on the honor role, taking all AP classes--plans to go to Harvard." I have to admit I like to see what kind of reaction I will get.

  12. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I grieve... and I get jealous too. Sometimes I get angry that my daughter struggles the way she does. She's so close to being a easy child, but she's not. No matter how hard we work and how hard she tries she still is a difficult child.

    But sometimes I do better, usually when I remember that this is her life to live. I don't want to color it with pain and loss. I'm proud of her, difficult child and all. And I want her to know that... even if we do have some issues to work on.
  13. "If we must compare, let's compare the strength of your heart. How pure is your love to face each day. How hard is your resolution to do the best for your child? How big are the challenges you have to face?"

    difficult child managed to completely ruin easy child's birthday dinner last night and it was his first real major meltdown in ages. easy child wanted to know if I ever "kinda wished that difficult child was a cousin and we dind't have to deal with his angries all the time." I was so sad when he said this.

    So, thank you Aerong. It was a bit of a reminder that I really, really needed today. I love my sons; both of them. Somehow, I just have to find a way to remind easy child too of difficult child's worth. I just wish I knew how.
  14. robinm1922

    robinm1922 One day at a time

    Daisy, I really get where you are! I was the mom of the 13 year old with the pony tail, the honor student into karate lots of friends. Now I am the mom of a 15 1/2 year old majorly depressed girl that suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ODD and maybe ADD/ADHD. I find myself wondering when or how it got so bad so fast. Then I read a lot of the posts here and feel guilty for thinking that my situation is so bad because in comparison it isn't that bad. Then I find myself grieving for the 13 year old daughter that I had, in some ways I feel like I have lost her. Every now and then I see a glimmer of how she once was, I sure do miss her. Don't get me wrong I love my difficult child with all my heart and there isn't a thing in this world I wouldn't do for her but I miss my little girl!
    I know all about the envy, I look at some of my difficult child's friends and think you were just like them. Now she is becoming the kid other parents don't want their kids to hang with. Breaks my heart and all in all she is not a bad kid just turned around at the moment.

    Daisy I fully understand and empathise with you. I also believe we are given what we can handle and what will make us stronger in the end.
    Look we have all come together here!
  15. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Oh yes, I get that. I can remember and count on 1 hand how many times difficult child has been invited to spend the night at a friend's house. Once. How many birthday parties in the last 2 years for friends not relatives? None. But if you ask him he has "lots"(aka none) of girlfriends.

    In all areas of life, there are better and there are worse. My difficult child is in mainstream ed, and he can do lots that many more physically disabled children cannot.

    I work in healthcare. I once had a self pitying pt who asked if she was the most disabled person I cared for. While she was a very sick woman, she could walk, talk, eat, and speak. I had a pt who could do none of those things. I told her that. Sometimes it helps to realize that while there are many better, there are many worse. Now that does not mean that I take pleasure in peoples pain, but by doing the comparison I am trying to keep my situation and difficult child's in perspective.
  16. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    Oh I can relate. I volunteer in the nursery at my church every Sunday with a mom who has a easy child daughter who was in the same school/grade as N*. Her easy child daughter volunteered in the 1-2 year old room for six years (grade 7 thru 12). She left us when she started college in another city this past fall. easy child's mom is understandably proud of her daughter, who graduated from high school with honors, got a partial scholarship to go to college, and stayed out of trouble. This young lady has a whole world of wonderful opportunities open to her.

    When N* was younger, she would come to church to volunteer with me as we played with babies for an hour. Then she discovered trouble in all shapes and sizes and that was more fun than volunteering in church, going to school, studying, getting a job, getting a driver's license.... With all the trouble N* has been in, she has a criminal record, and will not have the some opportunities others without a criminal record will have. Now that N* is pregnant, if she chooses to raise the baby (in a home of her own, not mine!), she will have even fewer opportunities to get an education and support herself.

    While my burdens are different from everyone else's burdens, I know I cannot logically compare the two. What I can do is look myself in the mirror every day and truthfully state I shoulder my burdens to the best of my ability. I complain sometimes. I cry sometimes. I sarcastically vent sometimes. I try to do these things out of range of difficult child - because these are MY burdens.

    I also remember the day a judge said, "Do you voluntarily take on the responsibility to love and care for this child - through sickness and health, through good times and bad, to the best of your ability?" Yes, I do. She is the best gift I have ever been given, and I say this to her - because that is her gift from me.
  17. I love my son, I really do - and I was glad to read this posting as I noted earlier;

    But then I had the great joy of listening to a new co-worker (man to boot) talk this afternoon for 45 minutes straight about how wonderful his boys are - honors, band, drama - leading rolls no less and football. Love of his life, but you know - they are such a struggle sometimes. He tells me we have no clue how difficult it is? I mean, he's having to teach them how to really juggle many different things at one time.

    What I really find difficult to tell you the truth; is not just the envy, that's certainly true-but pretty much can work through this; it's lack of anyone else really understanding or even caring - and just blame the parents. That's what I still find to be the most difficult.

    I guess he's never had to teach his kids how to manage all the annoying people in his life (that's everyone) . . . but that's another post.
  18. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I hate the blame the parents attitudes!!! The people that don't know me or my family but do know my daughter must think she comes from the gutter. That has always bothered me. Because she does act as if she came from the gutter. It took me a very long time to let go of that responsibility. That overwhelming desire to tell the world IT'S NOT MY FAULT and that I am a darn good mommy. While I still hate the fact that people are judging me without even knowing me, I no longer feel the need to justify myself. I have learned a very big life lesson though. I do not judge anyone else for their children's behaviors as you just never really know what they stem from. A neglected child running wild mirrors so many of our children's behaviors. Most times it is not what it seems. Too bad the rest of the world doesn't think that way, hu?
  19. Janna

    Janna New Member

    I have one easy child - so I guess I don't do as much comparing as those that might have all difficult child's. But, I have many days I wish D was just "normal", whatever that is.

    Where I didn't have to cringe when I see him interacting with other kids. When I don't have to worry what impulsive, inappropriate stuff is going to fly out of his mouth. Yeah....when the principal doesn't know my voice by heart. *sigh*

    I'm sorry that you're feeling down. There's gotta be something there. Out of ALL the things about D that are depressing - he's the only 12 year old boy I know that will give mom a hug and kiss or hold my hand in public, and not be ashamed! LOL! He's my little baby still - and I'm OK with that.
  20. ML

    ML Guest

    I am still working on this. There are many people here that post about aspergers in such a positive light that it takes away the stigma for me. Since my kid is more on the aspielite curve, most people would be shocked if I told them. I think they just see him as a quiet, sensitive shy boy who mostly hangs out with girls.

    Keep hanging around here DaisyFace, you will realize that while we may not have "normal" we have something just as good, we just have to stop trying for normal and accept and appreciate the good that we have. Midwest Mom and Marguerite in particular have helped me feel soo much better about our differences because they have lived with this in a positive light which has inspired me.

    PM me sometime!