Feeling guilt as a mother


#1

We just brought our second son home 3 weeks ago. Our oldest is almost two, and I am a stay-at-home mom. I have been feeling so guilty about not being able to spend as much time with my oldest as I used to. And I feel so bad for him having to go through this adjustment period that he doesn’t fully understand.

This is obviously a normal part of family life, but I didn’t expect to feel so torn. I wish there were two of me! :slight_smile: Has anyone else experienced this?


#2

I have not personally experienced what you are feeling, but I have to share a funny story with you. When Jillian, the youngest of the family was brought home, Stephen was three years old. He was understandably a bit upset at no longer being the “Little Prince” and ruler of the household…he took one look at his new little sister, turned and looked at all of us and announced, “Ok, she can stay. But I am NOT helping anyone take care of this baby”.

Then he stomped out of the room with as much dignity and authority a three year old can muster.


#3

LOL, oh no, I’ve never ever felt guilt as a Mother… :wink: Not one ounce, in the 28 years I’ve been at the job… :smiley:

All I can say is, welcome to the real world, friend! :slight_smile:


#4

[quote=kaj3]We just brought our second son home 3 weeks ago. Our oldest is almost two, and I am a stay-at-home mom. I have been feeling so guilty about not being able to spend as much time with my oldest as I used to. And I feel so bad for him having to go through this adjustment period that he doesn’t fully understand.

This is obviously a normal part of family life, but I didn’t expect to feel so torn. I wish there were two of me! :slight_smile: Has anyone else experienced this?
[/quote]

Yes, others have experienced this. And it is tough on everyone.

My one piece of advice is not to call this “guilt”. You are not experiencing “guilt”. You are experiencing “regret” and “sorrow” which can feel a lot like guilt. And you can and should tell your son that you wish you had more time for him.

But since you are doing what needs to be done you by definition cannot be felling “guilty”.


#5

A very wise friend of mine comforted me when I expressed my feelings of sorrow at not having the same amount of time for each of my children after having two.

I expressed to him that I always had time to read to my dd#1 and work with her on letters, colors, numbers, etc. I told him how I felt that I was short-changing the younger one because I just don’t have the same amount of time.

Here’s what he said to me: “It’s true that you had more time for dd#1 when she was little. Sure, you don’t have the same amount of time now for her or your other dd#2. However, you helped God to give them each other. Sarah never had a big sister to show her the ropes, but Danielle has a big sister. And, now Sarah has a play-mate that she didn’t have before.”

Honestly, it’s hard when they are so little, but now mine are 4 and 2 and they play together ALL the time and Danielle talks much more than Sarah did at her age and knows her letters and things…and you know what? Sarah does most of the teaching!

YOu are feeling normal things, but I guess my point is that you shouldn’t let yourself get bogged down with it. They have each other AND you and your DH. They are very lucky children.


#6

I think that guilt is part and parcel of being a mother, and if not guilt, at least second-guessing and doubting yourself. I remember feeling guilty on the way home from the hospital with my first baby (and only baby right now) when a truck was tailgating us and honking… I remember thinking, "how could I bring him out into this mean world?:o"
I try to remain confident in God’s ability to be all in all to my baby boy because even from that moment on the way home I knew that I couldn’t do it all, couldn’t be it all.
A funny chapter on this is in the Girlfriends Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood. She says, “Only a mother of a precious only child can know the conflict, guilt and anxiety that are attached to the decision to have another”.
One funny section is in the Ultimate Betrayel sub category (keep in mind she’s being facetious):

“What in the world made you think that having a brother or sister would make your original baby happy? Someone to share your love and attention with? Someone to steal his toys or trash his room? Are you crazy? That’s like saying that your husband’s new girlfriend…is welcome because she will be a good companion for you. You can hardly look into your baby’s face without feeling overcome with guilt. Someone is going to break up your affair, and it’s all your fault!”

So, Vickie Iovane thinks it’s normal anyway, and so do I! Good luck with both of your little ones!


#7

[quote=Michelle in KC]A very wise friend of mine comforted me when I expressed my feelings of sorrow at not having the same amount of time for each of my children after having two.

I expressed to him that I always had time to read to my dd#1 and work with her on letters, colors, numbers, etc. I told him how I felt that I was short-changing the younger one because I just don’t have the same amount of time.

Here’s what he said to me: “It’s true that you had more time for dd#1 when she was little. Sure, you don’t have the same amount of time now for her or your other dd#2. However, you helped God to give them each other. Sarah never had a big sister to show her the ropes, but Danielle has a big sister. And, now Sarah has a play-mate that she didn’t have before.”

Honestly, it’s hard when they are so little, but now mine are 4 and 2 and they play together ALL the time and Danielle talks much more than Sarah did at her age and knows her letters and things…and you know what? Sarah does most of the teaching!

YOu are feeling normal things, but I guess my point is that you shouldn’t let yourself get bogged down with it. They have each other AND you and your DH. They are very lucky children.
[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#8

Having grown children, I’ve found that there’s no sense in beating myself up for my past errors in childrearing. I made more than one big boo boo, and have gone to my children to ask forgiveness. Also, they’ve made mistakes of their own. We’re all human!

Also, remember, your son is learning a valuable lesson that he’s not the center of the universe. Frankly, it’s not natural for children to be totally coddled and given unlimited attention. It makes spoiled children. Having another child provides a natural way to temper the tendency in our children to be nascissistic. I know women with only children who loved them to a fault, and their children are unpleasant. So, take heart, you sound like a great mom. And, look how lucky you are to be able to stay at home. Working mothers really have to deal with a lot more guilt!


#9

[quote=Michelle in KC]A very wise friend of mine comforted me when I expressed my feelings of sorrow at not having the same amount of time for each of my children after having two.

I expressed to him that I always had time to read to my dd#1 and work with her on letters, colors, numbers, etc. I told him how I felt that I was short-changing the younger one because I just don’t have the same amount of time.

Here’s what he said to me: “It’s true that you had more time for dd#1 when she was little. Sure, you don’t have the same amount of time now for her or your other dd#2. However, you helped God to give them each other. Sarah never had a big sister to show her the ropes, but Danielle has a big sister. And, now Sarah has a play-mate that she didn’t have before.”

Honestly, it’s hard when they are so little, but now mine are 4 and 2 and they play together ALL the time and Danielle talks much more than Sarah did at her age and knows her letters and things…and you know what? Sarah does most of the teaching!

YOu are feeling normal things, but I guess my point is that you shouldn’t let yourself get bogged down with it. They have each other AND you and your DH. They are very lucky children.
[/quote]

It always strikes me as odd when I hear people say “I’d feel so bad not having 100% of myself to give to Tyler, or Joey or whoever” – I agree completely with the text above – my kids MISS eachother – they fight 90% of the time when they’re together, but when my 4yo is at school, my 2yo keeps asking for him, and wanting to go get him, and this morning even came up to me and said “Go get bruddah at cool??” – you have given them eachother, and that is a precious gift in and of itself…keep in mind, this 150% mothering is only for a few months, a year, and then you can back off a bit (meaning no eating every two hours, napping every two hours, etc…there’s more time to do things together all of you b/c baby is more self-sufficient and can participate in more, kwim?) – I just never worried about it, I knew I would have enough love for both, b/c you don’t have a finite amount of love to give, and that’s one of the best parts of motherhood in my mind – how big your heart grows with every day…and just when you think it’s about to burst, it grows some more, and you find yourself thinking “I never knew I could love sooooo much!”

It will take adjusting, and letting your hormones “run out” as my DH likes to say…no doubt that is having some part in this too…give yourselves time to adjust and recognize the times when #1 needs an extra hug/book/bath, whatever. It will work out, and they will be better people for having eachother!!


#10

I have 6 kids, two were only 21 months apart and the older still wanted to be a baby but he soon got over it. I reassured him that I loved him, gave him lots of cuddles and told him that when the baby was older they would be able to play together.

There are 2 things about parenting that it is important for mothers to keep in mind.

1 Whatever you do will probably be wrong

2 In the long run it probably won’t matter much anyway

LOL

The Beatles said it “All you need is love.” Actually I think Jesus said that as well. :rolleyes:


#11

Like someone else said, siblings are a gift. The first gets lots of mom’s attention but the rest get attention from one another. My oldest 2 are about 22 mos apart. They’re 19 and 17 now and have been good friends all their lives. Now that the 19 year old is home less (college, work) the 17 and 14 year old are doing more together. It’s great to watch the change in dynamics. —KCT


#12

This is obviously a normal part of family life, but I didn’t expect to feel so torn. I wish there were two of me! :slight_smile: Has anyone else experienced this?

Yes, those of us with more than one child, have all experienced this. The more you have though, the less you will feel this.Take it from the mother of 3, ages 37 to 41, you always feel guilt to some degree, for one reason or another, no matter how old they are.
The 39 year old still says I like the 37 year old better! LOL!!


#13

[quote=catsrus]Yes, those of us with more than one child, have all experienced this. The more you have though, the less you will feel this.Take it from the mother of 3, ages 37 to 41, you always feel guilt to some degree, for one reason or another, no matter how old they are.
The 39 year old still says I like the 37 year old better! LOL!!
[/quote]

I got a better one I have a sister that actually had the nerve to ask my mother years ago “Tell the truth Mom, isn’t my little Michael, much cuter then Lisa”:ehh: (my brother’s daughter 2 months older then her son) My Mother knowing my dear sister was and still is so vain, simply answered “You know Lisa is such a pretty little girl” and refused to answer that question, which of course got Miss Vanity mad.:rolleyes:


#14

[quote=spiritblows]LOL, oh no, I’ve never ever felt guilt as a Mother… :wink: Not one ounce, in the 28 years I’ve been at the job… :smiley:

All I can say is, welcome to the real world, friend! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Well, 34 years here, and no sign of letup yet. It’s just part of the territory.


#15

Oh my! Thanks so much for posting this – I actually just found out I’m pregnant with our 2nd child, and I’m already feeling exactly what you are talking about!

I give SO much of my time and attention to our first that it’s difficult to imagine another child in the mix.

I already feel some the “sadness” associated with the fact that my little girl won’t be getting 100% of my attention when the new baby arrives. It’s been “just us” for almost 2 years now…

But I certainly appreciate what other wise people on this board have said, and I truly believe that giving a child a sibling is a wonderful and precious gift! I can’t imagine life without my brothers or sister…so I definitely want to give that to my child(ren).

Great responses, everyone! They really helped!


#16

when they brought me home from the hospital, according to family legend, my 3 year old brother was very interested and excited but at bedtime, when they put me in the crib in his room he said, hey, isn’t about time for her to go home?


#17

The guilt will shift when you realize you kept up on baby #1’s baby book, and #2 has lots of blanks. :stuck_out_tongue:

I thought I was pregnant when my oldest son was 12. When we told him, the first words out of his mouth were, “Well, I hope you’re going to give it up for adoption.” :rotfl:


#18

I was 3, nearly 4 when my little brother was born. I remember not minding all the extra attention he got because it kept him from crying, which was as we all know, not so cool.

Momma used to have me help with giving the attention to the baby. I held the bowl while she spoonfed it. And I was always willing to get down on the carpet and play with the baby toys with him and her. And she always took time to give soley to me. Maybe a day or two every few weeks. Those were awesome.

I don’t know if this helps. Just some suggetions that seemed to work to help ease a child into the whole sibling thing.


#19

When my second one was born, I cried almost every time I looked at my oldest for a few days. I was feeling so bad that we wouldn’t have the same bond any more. Then I realized it was post-partum hormones, and I had to laugh. How ridiculous to burst into tears about this.

I was the oldest and I wouldn’t trade my sister for anything. Right now my two children are great friends. You are giving your child a gift by giving him siblings. Talk to any only child, and they will tell you that they wished they had siblings.


#20

[quote=bapcathluth]When my second one was born, I cried almost every time I looked at my oldest for a few days. I was feeling so bad that we wouldn’t have the same bond any more. Then I realized it was post-partum hormones, and I had to laugh. How ridiculous to burst into tears about this.

.
[/quote]

I had the same experience-----only my children are all adopted, so I can’t blame hormones!!! With your first child, there is such a special closeness, you’re buddies, you spend all of your time with your child—then when the second comes along, things change. I felt “guilty” because I didn’t spend the same type of “quality” time with my second, and I felt “guilty” because things were forever changed with my first. However, as with the other posters, my 2 oldest are 12 and 10 now. They LOVE playing together, and even though they won’t admit it, they’re really the best of friends too. Once you have time to adjust, everything will be just fine.

BTW, CONGRATULATIONS!!!


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