Compare and Contrast

I spend a lot of time making decisions about Charlie’s care. I worry about his doctor’s appointments, therapy goals, his medication list, and even more basic things like if he’s watching too much TV or eating too many processed starches.

When I makes these decisions, I always feel confident–I can list the pros and cons, the cost, the potential rewards versus the potential risks. I feel and sound completely competent.

and then I see someone else’s child do something that mine cannot–walk, talk, read, solve quadratic equations (kidding!), whatever. Really, it doesn’t even matter what the accomplishment is. I get upset.

Have I done the right thing? Am I doing the right things? I question my decisions and there’s just no way to compare my child to another. Cerebral Palsy is such a vague, uncertain term that means very little. I do know that no one has ever looked at Charlie’s brain without being shocked by how bad it looks. I know that I should be happy with all that he can do–that he smiles at me and loves my company, that he can master any DVD player, and that he’s finally beginning to understand social conventions such as eye contact and smiles.  I AM happy, but I still question my choices and wonder if I could be doing more.

Will this this feeling ever go away? Will I ever feel satisfied with the decisions I’ve made?

I don’t know. child playing a game

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Comments

  1. Charlie looks like a very normal little boy and without the help you have given him that wouldn’t be the case. He is beautiful! Try to relax and enjoy him too as well as teach him. As parents we never get it all right. We look back and think oh…I wish …I had been different in this way or that. I am glad you have confidence and courage raising Charlie is is so cute.

  2. Katy, I think those feeling apply to all of us… But something tells me that if someone were to ask our kids if we, their parents, are doing enough for them, I bet they’d say YES and that is what will always matter most.

  3. I think you will have peace with all you’ve done for him.

    When Owen was that age, I felt like EVERY second of EVERY day had to involve some goal oriented activity. Play had to be structured, meals were therapy, conversations were learning challenges.

    I burned out and let it all go to the therapists.

    Therapy was work, and there was a lot of it. PT, OT, Speech, Feeding. Daily.

    But home down time? I made it just that. And I had some guilt. But I got over it.

    At seven, he’s caught up on some stuff, behind still on others. But bottom line: He’s happy.

  4. Kati,

    I think that every parent, worldwide thinks like you do. We all want to make sure that we are doing the best by and for our children. You are doing fantastic and it shows! Look at that happy, contented face. When you doubt yourself, know that there are many, many people who are rooting for you, even if it is across the vast reaches of the internet!

  5. Katy,
    I wish you would look back at pictures of Charlie from a year ago and compare them to the one you put up today. The changes are definite and drastic. You are doing awesome! It is so hard to find a balance though, isn’t it? Enough therapy, too much therapy… At the end of it all, Charlie
    seems happy and I think that is reason enough to believe you’ve got the right mix.

  6. Everytime I read your blog I am left thinking how much you do for Charlie! All of the creative lessons and time you invest working with him. I always think how much you do and am inspired by it. In my mind I don’t know how you could do more! He is doing so great; you should be really proud of you and him!

  7. As a teacher I can tell you Charlie is better for all the things you do for him. I work with some children who have involved parents on there side but many who do not. The kids that do are able to do more and it is so important that you work hard with him while he is young when he can learn the most and his body is flexible and getting stronger! Keep up the good work!

  8. Oh Katy, I wish I knew anything that would help you trust yourself. I struggle with this myself with what I do or don’t do for Hannah, and wonder if she’d walk even better if I took her up and down hills every day, but I can’t do every possible therapuetic activity every day, so I content myself with doing as much as I can and trying to forgive myself for the rest. When I rock her to sleep I touch her right side and and I tell her how strong she is and that she will be even stronger and more agile and be smart and fun and joyful and lovely. And somehow telling her these things while she sleeps in my arms helps my psyche a lot, even while it screws up my neck, and I’ll never stop whispering in her ear how wonderful she is now and will be forever. Obviously you are getting that message to Charlie, just look at him!

  9. Jailen's Mom :) says:

    Katy, I feel your pain with this post. I do the same thing. But, we just have to remind ourselves that every child is different, including “typical” children. They all reach their milestones at different times & no one or nothing can really predict the outcome. You’re doing an awesome job with Charlie…the proof is all over his smiling face. Keep doing what you’re doing. Everything will fall in it’s place at the exact time it’s supposed to for him & you. I wish you & your handsome man the best! :)

  10. Really? Because everytime I read your blog, I feel like the biggest slacker mom on the face of this planet.

  11. I have to agree with Toni. Reading your blog makes me feel like slacker mom of the year! I am so impressed with the things that Charlie does. You work so hard with him and it shows! He is one of those kids that makes me have that feeling of “am I doing enough for Emily?”. Mom-guilt never ever goes away – I am convinced of that. And for some bizarre reason, we all like to play the comparison game. Maybe we just like torturing ourselves!

  12. I wish I could say that it goes away, but for me it hasn’t. It doesn’t happen all the time like it did when my son was younger, but right now at age 10 I still worry quite a bit. Am I doing enough to help him do the best he can in school? Am I listening to the right professionals & their opinions? Am I trying to “fix” him still, & not accepting him for who he is?
    Thanks for this great post in particular, & your blog in general. You’ve always got an eloquent way of saying what I’m thinking!

  13. Hey K.

    What you’re describing is a feeling that all moms have. We never feel like we’re doing enough..that we can always do more, teach more, discipline, entertain..you name it. As the kids get older I find that i’m more comfortable with what I have done..which is my best. Some days that means I do nothing..some days I do a lot more….And then I think back to what my parents did….lol…nothing…absolutely nothing. We went to school, we did our homework, we played outside every other waking moment and that was it. The house was clean (sahm), dinner was ready at 5 and that’s the way it was. I think todays moms do a lot more than ours did 30-40 years ago. How did we turn out??

  14. I forgot to add that we were happy as clams too…Despite not having 1/3 as much as kids do today…

  15. I feel that way too, a lot. I think ‘Are we doing the right therapies?’ ‘maybe I should do this one because it helps so and so do this. I tell my husband these thoughts and he just tells me I’m ridiculous because I do what I can and that’s just the way it is. I’m glad he doesn’t worry like I do, I need that balance. Charlie is a treasure, I love seeing his photos and reading your posts.