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Parenting isn’t a race: a poem for parents who are bored of the Baby Olympics

As parents, it’s tempting to compare your baby’s progress and development against other babies you know around the same age. We’re all guilty of joining this rat race, but nine times out of ten, doing so just makes you worry. Because however well your little pride and joy is doing, there’s always going to be some other parent whose baby has reached a major developmental milestone (or two) before yours.

Of course, they may be entirely gracious about it. On the other hand, they might incesantly crow about it as if their kid just won six medals at the Baby Olympics! Either way, try not to overthink it. All babies develop at their own pace, and even if yours is a bit behind in some areas now, they’re almost certainly going to be ahead in others. And it really doesn’t take long before they all catch up with one another…

So for anyone who has ever doubted their parenting abilities or worried that their baby is falling behind the pack…

Or for anyone who’s been made to feel small by a play group gloater or elderly relative who says, “Your baby really should be crawling/sleeping through the night/eating solids/talking/potty trained by now”…

Then this poem’s for you.

***

Parenting isn’t a race

Parenting isn't a race

.

Just ask any parent,

and all will agree,

that raising a human

is far from stress free.

.

You read all the books,

(and some you read twice)

as page after page

gives conflicting advice.

.

While trying to function

on just four hours sleep,

and fixing a smile

when you just want to weep…

.

‘Cos few jobs on earth,

feel quite so high-pressured,

where success is subjective

and cannot be measured.

.

So it’s normal to worry,

(and sometimes see red),

when so many babies

seem so far ahead…

.

While your pride and joy

(though perfectly fine)

just won’t hit those milestones,

and seems so behind…

.

“Oh wow, look at Ruby,

she sleeps through the night!”

(While bedtimes at your house

are a twelve hour fight).

.

“And ooh, there goes Timmy

with a mouth full of teeth!”

(Though yours has just three;

two on top, one beneath).

.

“So Sammie’s now crawling?

And standing AND kneeling!!”

(While your one just lies there,

staring up at the ceiling).

.

“And Fred feeds himself now?!

Ah isn’t that sweet!!”

(As your baby sits there,

refusing to eat).

.

“Wow, Mylo’s now talking,

and counts up to three!!!”

(When yours only squeaks

if they’re watching TV).

.

“And Flo’s started walking!

Just look at her go!!!”

(While your baby’s new trick

is picking their nose).

.

But hold up, let’s stop this;

it isn’t a race,

‘cos every small human learns

at their own pace.

.

So let’s stop comparing

ourselves against others;

we’re doing our best

both as dads and as mothers.

.

And don’t be too hard

on yourself or your baby;

they’ll get there eventually,

it’s a cert, not a maybe.

.

As even if everyone else

seems ahead,

they probably aren’t

and it’s all in your head.

.

Plus in a few years,

when this shit’s in the past,

no one will care

who walked first or talked last.

***

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s poem! If you’ve ever felt like your baby is falling behind in the ‘race of life’, while all other babies around you do all their ‘firsts’ first, or if you know any other parents who could do with a little boost,  please do share this with them on your socials to help spread the love!

And for more advice on pregnancy, birth and parenthood, my new book YOU THE DADDY: The Hands-on Dad’s Guide to Fatherhood, is OUT NOW to buy!

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3 Comments

  1. Dylan
    20th June 2022 / 2:45 pm

    cheers helpful for me as my son is always tickling his pickle in the bath he needs to calm down tbh

  2. 1st August 2018 / 10:41 am

    Very true indeed, I actually watched Michael McIntyre last night joking about this, his message was basically chill out, everything will happen in good time.

    • YOU THE DADDY
      Author
      1st August 2018 / 10:52 am

      Thanks Paul! Bloody Michael McIntyre though…always stealing my jokes