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New-Mom Envy

Object of envy #2: The gifted child's mom

You wouldn't trade your child for anyone else's, right? Yet wishing your kid could be more like the baby next door is an envy pit that swallows many a new mom. Abby Warmington of Belmont, Michigan, points to her nephew, who was born two days after her daughter. "Just yesterday I was talking with my sister-in-law on the phone and I heard my nephew babbling 'mamama'...I thought, 'Ashlyn's not doing that yet!' "

Even babies you've never met can incite very real envy. Chrissy Perry of Hilliard, Ohio, participates in an online message board with other moms whose babies were born in the same month. "I read all about milestones of other babies all the time," she says. The only way she's found to keep envy from taking over is to "sit back and anticipate" that her daughter will eventually hit them, too.

For Colleen Kelly of Naples, Florida, the only milestone that mattered was when her child slept through the night. "It overrules all other envy issues. I almost couldn't even be around other moms with good sleepers," she recalls.

You don't have to tell that to Garland, Texas, mom Tiffany Lankford: "I envy every mom who has a 'sleeper' baby. My child is 2 and I can count on one hand the number of times he has slept an entire night."

When you love your baby more than yourself, why envy another person's child? Perhaps because in some sense, you view your baby as an extension of yourself, says Smith. And who wants to watch herself "lose" to a little person who isn't even potty trained?