Thursday, May 21, 2009

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Because Honor Student bumper stickers make me batty.

We are women. We compare. Everything.

And it only gets worse when we become mothers.

We pretend it doesn't, but oh-does-it-ever

We've all heard the advice from pediatricians, counselors, friends, relatives, websites, teachers: "All children are different and develop differently at different rates. They have different strengths and weaknesses."

But we let that advice go in one ear and out the other. We see the freak show one-year-old prodigy on Oprah - a mere baby who can name and locate all 50 states and capitals while balancing Tiffany china spinning on her head.

Admit it. You DVRed it and had it ready to play for your husband when he got home. And then you rushed out to the bookstore and bought a mural-sized map of the United States so that you could immediately start teaching your lil' smartypants a wealth of good for nothing knowledge. Seriously, when's the last time you referenced the location of Cheyenne, Wyoming? (My deepest apologies if I offended all seventeen people living in the Western frontier.) 

So why do we do it? Why do we compare?

I'm terribly guilty of it. There is a little girl at our church who is two weeks older than my son. She can sign and sing and dance and speak and skip - on command. My son can grunt. And grunt some more. I'm learning that "uh" means more and "eh" means more, please. So technically my child can communicate quite well, thank you very much, but dang it's hard not to speed dial the pediatrician for reassurance that my son is not actually a caveman (my son's ped has the number three speed dial slot, second to my son's shrink and stylist - you know, just in case the little dude is having a bad day and needs to reconnect with his happy place or look good to boost his confidence).

Honestly, I wish I could bottle up my son's innocence. If he could talk, he would absolutely tell you that he wants to be a garbage man when he grows up. My son is fascinated by trucks. Every Wednesday morning we stand outside waiting for the garbage truck to come, and when it finally does, my son is captivated. I can see it in his eyes, "Holy moly, flinging trash in a giant abyss behind the back of a humongous truck is COOL!" 

But at some point my backward influence and society's flesh-eating ways taint him and he begins to believe that it's not cool

But does it really matter if my son is a garbage man? To whom? Not to God. I've looked. The Bible doesn't say a darn thing about job rankings or salary scales. God doesn't care if your child makes a dollar or one hundred thousand. All He cares about is intent. Is he/she glorifying God as he flings garbage or performs a heart transplant?

So in an attempt to teach my son that he really can be ANYTHING he wants to be when he grows up, regardless of status, prestige, or fame (and regardless of what the little church girl grows up to be), I'll have to start renaming these photos in his baby book. 

Chris Spielman in training - Watch out, Michigan!

My future scholarly professor

The next Dog Whisperer

Ty Pennington, here he comes!

Michael Phelps in training (God, I hope not!)

My future economist (hopefully not in this economy!)

A mini Larry Byrd

On his way to win the Kentucky Derby

Because worst case scenario is really best case scenario. My son doesn't amount to one of these, rather he turns out perfectly handsome, respectable, mannerly, and God-fearing, just like his Daddy.



  1. I am just as guilty of comparing as anyone - in fact, I may be more so. Because Parker was born early - heck I even did it when he was in the hospital. And I still do it, even though I know it's wrong and my pediatrician I think thinks i am nuts! I think no matter how hard we try, it will always be something we do.

  2. This is AWESOME, Ali. LOVE it.

    I used to compare WAY more than I do now. Slowly but surely learning that we are all such unique creations. God made me (and each of my three kiddos) to fill a special niche in His kingdom, and that's what I'm going to focus on, darn it. I only have enough time and energy to be ME.

    Those pics of Henry are to die for. LOVE the Dog Whisperer one. :)

  3. okay, that is the best post yet! i love it!

  4. Awesome post Ali. Very well said and sometimes so hard to do. Heck, all the time. We want the best for our bambinos and sometimes fail to realize His best and ours are quite different. We won't go wrong if we teach them to search whole heartedly for His best for their lives. Best way to do that is by example. Hardest way, too! Thanks for honest posts.

  5. What a blessing this post is to me! I've been listening to sermons on the radio about how women have a problem with contentment in life. However, when we are walking closely with the Lord, and we joyously obey His commands, our lives, whatever they may be, become amazingly content because our focus is on the Lord, not what we do or don't have.

    at A Virtuous Woman