Lately some of you have sent me the nicest compliments saying how together I have it for being 3 weeks into being a mom of two. These comments make my day. I want to print them and tape them to my mirror in true Operation Beautiful form. However, as nice as these sentiments are, I don’t want to be misleading. I’m doing what any mom does and just doing it. After all, what other choice is there? Some days we look pretty ‘with it’ and some days we are just making it through. To give you a peek into what I mean, I sat down midday yesterday and typed out the following…
With one child I never felt much mommy guilt. Sure it would pop up every once in a while when I found myself wishing for bedtime to come quickly only to have one of those cherish-these-moments-because-you’re-going-to-beg-for-them-back-one-day blog posts pop up on my facebook feed. I loved spending my days with Hailey, had a good amount of patience and felt comfortable in my mommyhood.
In the past couple weeks, that has changed a bit and I’m having occasional doses of mommy guilt rearing their ugly head. The guilt comes from the reality that I just don’t have the plethora of time I did a month ago. Being a mom to a toddler and a newborn means I am go-go-go from sun up to sun-down and even in between. My care that used to be solely focused on Hailey now must be split between her and a newborn who truly needs me for every aspect of life right now. Often times in the who-needs-me-more battle, Kaitlyn wins.
I feel my heart cringe when Kaitlyn needs to be fed NOW and Hailey is begging to sit on my lap with her big, innocent eyes. I hate that Hailey asks sweetly to please do the slide one more time, but I know it’s too hot out for Kaitlyn and we need to get back to the shade and air conditioning stat. I tear up when I hear Hailey request MOMMY to read her books at night, but it’s time for Kaitlyn to eat again. It feels a bit like what I worried about is coming true some days and I’m just not able to be there for Hailey like I want to. The special one-on-one time we shared is no longer exclusively ours and it hurts. I fear she’s going to start resenting me, or worse, her sister.
Then there is my sweet Kaitlyn. When Hailey was this age I could sit and stare at her all day long. I could anticipate her naps and hunger because I would just wait and watch for her cues. Now, true to second child-form, Kaitlyn gets dragged around with us all morning. The playground, the splash pad, playgroups, errands… the child knows no normal. She’s so little and yet growing so quickly already. What if in our rush I’m missing something? Did I sniff her head today? Did I notice that little smile she gave when she had a full belly? Am I talking to her enough?
I’m so sad that I can’t explain it to either of them and sometimes don’t have enough patience to go around. I’m sure this will ease as time goes on, but for now, my heart is hurting.
A down point. We all have them right? Well after typing this out I sent an abbreviated version to some of my mom friends and within minutes had replies. There were other moms who have or are experiencing the same feelings, moms that had overcome it and even a unique perspective from a friend who was (is?) an only child growing up and said ‘I would’ve gladly given up that undivided attention to experience a sibling, both as a child and now as an adult.’ Maybe it was the extra hormones still trying to exit my system, but their words made me tear up, and then… relief.
As if knowing I needed a break, yesterday afternoon the stars aligned. Hailey was napping while Kaitlyn was up with a full belly and lots of smiles. For 30 or so minutes I had her propped up on my legs. I talked to her, made goofy faces and relished in her eye contact and smiles that might have been attributed to gas rather than my effort, but either way I soaked them up. I loved having that quiet, uninterrupted time with my baby.
She started yawning and fell asleep just as I heard Hailey stirring. I put Kaitlyn down for a nap and went up empty-handed to get Hailey. She immediately wanted a hug and I carried her downstairs with her wrapped around me. She wanted green juice for a snack so we blended some up while she chatted away about ponies and shopping for apples. As we sipped our juice, the rain moved in so we sat on the couch and put on a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Instead of getting things done, I snuggled next to her and together we used the Mouskatools to solve the day’s problem. Hailey loved it, though certainly not as much as I did.
I hope things get easier as the girls get older. They will be able to bond and play with each other and I imagine it will be easier for David and I both to have one-on-one dates with each of them, a habit we look forward to. Until then, I’m going to stay focused on one day at a time and try to remember that there will be up moments and down moments, but hopefully the good will always outweigh the challenging.
Moms, do you experience mom guilt?
How do you get through it?