Neverending Guilt


January 16, 2012 by Melissa

I frequently forget that I have good kids.  In fact they’re really good kids but spending each day saying some version of “no” to my two year old and spending a lot of time rocking my 3 month old to sleep clouds the fact that they are, indeed, good.  Sometimes it takes a trip to grandma’s house to watch them with other people to make me remember and to be proud that I’m their mom.

My father-in-law’s birthday was this past weekend so we trekked up to our hometown for some family time.  Lucy and Alice had all the attention they could ask for and were dream children (it might help that they don’t hear the word “no” at grandma and grandpa’s or at grandma and pop-pop’s house).  Lucy was polite, and said please and thank you abundantly.  She lavished compliments about the cake.  She was excited to see her great-grandma June.  She was lovey and cuddly with me and with her sister.  She was excited about everything shown her by her grandparents.  It is just what I needed to once again be so grateful that she is my lovely daughter.

my girls

I feel guilty every day that I’m not giving her the attention she deserves as I have a 3 month old under wing.  Despite the fact that Alice is a really good baby, she still needs a lot of attention and I find myself getting frustrated with Lucy for wanting to play with her or myself when I’m trying to get Alice to sleep.  While I know that she is just longing for some interaction, my guilt fuels my frustration.  After all, aren’t I home to help alleviate that guilt?  Does any mom ever feel like her kids get the attention they need?  I can’t imagine being a single parent or the parent of multiples.  The answer must lie somewhere in what attention I give, how I frame it, what I expect of a day, how I tell my Lucy “no” so that she’s not so frustrated.  I just haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’m working on it.  These kids are too good not to.   I must have figured some stuff out, though, as this weekend showed me.

Any words of wisdom?  What have you learned that you can share?

2 thoughts on “Neverending Guilt

  1. I have multiples (twin boys) and the thing I regret most about their babyhood/toddlerhood was that I never felt like I could be 100% there for either of them in the same way I was for my older son. How many times was I sharing a sweet, tender cuddle with one twin and had to put him down to pick up his crying brother? I was overwhelmed much of their first couple of years (plus I had the older boy who needed attention, too). I missed that intense one-on-one bond I had with my eldest, where I could focus on him with all of my being. As the boys have grown (they are 12, 9 and 9 now), what I’ve realized is that the gift of each other more than compensates for my perceived inability to be everything to each of them. The twins’ relationship is magical to me. And my oldest has benefited greatly from being the great big brother that he is. All three of them get along well, most of the time (of course, they have their moments!) And now we have our sweet Miles, born when the twins were 6. I am able to give him that one-on-one I had with the eldest while his brothers are in school. I’m loving having 1 baby again and not feeling like I’m neglecting one while loving the other. However, his entry into the world was not without challenges. I suffered from post-partum depression after his birth and for the first few months of his life, I felt like none of my children were getting what they needed. We found our groove, though, and now everyone agrees that Miles is the best thing to ever happen to our family. I guess my point is, that we as moms are always going to feel guilt, but it is our guilt, not our children’s. They live in the moment and don’t know how life would be if all of our “shoulds” were met. And I’ve learned that the gift of siblings is greater than any lack they have for not having my undivided attention. I was an only child, so this window into my kids’ brotherhood is amazing to me. You sound like a great mom. Believe in yourself and believe that Lucy and Alice will have a wonderful childhood, maybe not the ideal one that exists in your head, but the one they create for themselves and their sisterhood!

    • Melissa says:

      I so appreciate reading your story! Thank you for sharing it with me and for your encouraging words. We all need other moms to let us know it’s all right and that we’re doing okay…
      I don’t know how you do it with 4 boys of such varying ages! They are lucky to have you and each other on their journeys!

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