March 12, 2006

No Comparison

One of the challenges I’m finding with parenting two babies at the same time, is to avoid comparing the two as we know they are unique individuals and will progress at different rates. I imagine they will be compared to each other for many years to come and I want to avoid that as much as possible. Even here on my blog I sometimes have to think about what I want to write about and how it might read to TheMonk and Swee’Pea someday down the road. My gut instinct is that they won’t care that one said their first word earlier than the other or that one walked earlier than the other because we will be raising them to not be competitive with each other but to support each other and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

However, I realize this is easier said than done. My brother and I are five years apart. I’m the older one and I was a tough act to follow – especially during the high school years where teachers and coaches all knew me and expected my brother to be similar to me. He was very senstive to the comparisons and it might be why we currently don’t have the best relationship. Comparisons are inevitable and can be burdensome after a while.

At the same time, I don’t want to avoid celebrating success of one child just because the other has not experienced the same success. This is shaping up to be the most difficult aspect of parenting twins and I hope that we can find a balance that will be beneficial for all involved. One thing we have going for us is that our twins are different genders. This may alleviate some of the comparisons but I’m certain it won’t completely take care of it.

When writing this blog I purposely try to avoid comparisons as I know both will progress at different rates. That’s okay. It’s normal. And I hope TheMonk and Swee’Pea realize that years from now. My hope is that instead of feeling like they are always being compared to each other and rather than be competitive with each other, I’d like them to be each other’s biggest supporter. A built-in cheerleader. Siblings for life. Because if you can’t depend on your sibling for support, who can you turn to?

So, I guess I would like to say to TheMonk and Swee’Pea as they read this blog down the road, it’s not a competition. We’re all on the same team. I truly love you both the same – no matter what. I couldn’t have asked for two more wonderful children.

In fact, if you pressed me, I’d have to say there’s no comparison.


  1. I have drafted and re-drafted a post on this very topic. I still haven’t come up with something I’m completely satisfied with. I am one of three girls (the oldest), and by the time my youngest sister reached high school, she was so SICK of the comparisons to myself and our other sister (studious, polite, people-pleasers), she chose to rebel against it. Although the three of us are very best friends now, it took her moving out and having children to get there. I don’t want that to happen with my children. I agree that we do have the opposite sex thing in our favor, but I feel like I have to measure my words. Maybe we are both being over-sensitive to the comparison thing, but each time I write of one of my children’s accomplishments, I think about it. I’ve made the decision to still document those milestones in my blog, regardless of who is doing what first. Really, my two children are SO different, it may be a moot point in the future.

    Comment by Amy — March 13, 2006 @ 6:40 am

  2. When one of my children accomplishes something special, we all celebrate it together. In this way I hope to teach the kids to be each others’ enthusiastic supporters, and so far, it seems to be working.

    The problem arises should one child’s strenghts are in an area not particularly valued by the family. I know a family in which everybody is very athletic. They are on teams, they take part in charity runs, they love to push their bodies. All but one, who is not athletic, but he is very creative. He paints and writes beautifully. The adults acknowledge his successes, but in a way that clearly shows that it’s second-rate accomplishments. “That’s nice, son; now how about we try out your new SKATES, huh, see if you can beat your sister?”

    If each one’s strengths are praised, so that each one feels appreciated; and if each child is expected to respect the other’s accomplishments, to build family team spirit – then you can talk about one’s accomplishments without feeling guilty about the other – because the other will be cheering, too!

    Comment by Mary — March 13, 2006 @ 8:15 am

  3. I think this is a hard one. It will inevedable come up. It happens in every family. But it is also a good chance to teach your kids to support each other. As babies, I wouldn’t worry about it so much. But as they get older, I would celebrate their differences and similarities. Just my 2 cents.

    Comment by Melissa — March 13, 2006 @ 11:39 am

  4. It has to be harder for you, Matthew, not to compare your two because they are twins. You would think that they would be doing the same things at the same time. In that respect, it’s much easier for us parents of singles to not compare our children to each other, because we see the progression and difference in age as well as ability. I try very hard not to compare my son to my daughter, because I know that she accomplished some things extremely early (like walking), which a “normal” baby will take longer to do. Though I am pleased when he does the same things around the same time that she did.

    I was the oldest and a hard act to follow academically for my brother and sisters. Fortunately, I attended a different high school than they eventually did (Japanese classes available at another high school), so they didn’t have teachers doing the comparison. We did the comparison among ourselves, though, and decided (unconciously) that I was the academic one, my brother was the athletic one, and my sister was the musical one. Eventually, we all branched out beyond those definitions that we gave ourselves, and my youngest sister has her own niche in softball. But my parents never expected us to “be like the others” – we were all expected to get good grades, but my siblings weren’t pushed to take “advanced” classes just because I had, just as I wasn’t expected to try out for a sport. I think, as we have all gotten older (with the exception of my 13 year old sister) and become parents, we’ve become more mature and instead of comparing ourselves, we compare our kids. Only kidding…

    Comment by Deanna — March 13, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

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