"Life Would Be Easier Without My Youngest Child"

I just read this article and am horrified. I can’t even imagine being the child she’s describing and stumbling upon this piece someday. Anyone want to share their thoughts on it?

Life Would Be Easier Without My Youngest Child

It made me sad. Her fourth child is spirited and loud, much like my third child is right now. My third child is the girl that came roaring into our family and busted up our quiet peaceful family life, and I thank God for her and for the shaking up she brought with her. I cannot remember ever having a thought like this mother had about her fourth child. I cannot imagine life without my little flower child, so wild and beautiful. My memories of our family life prior to her birth seem somehow empty, like we were missing somebody who wasn’t there yet!
Some dark thoughts should never be given voice, except perhaps in the confessional. The way some women use their blogs or columns these days as if it was a confessional, and then they proceed to justify and absolve themselves, is truly horrible to witness. :frowning:

I found this to be an honest expression of her feelings. While she obviously loves all her children, the fourth one pushed her way out of her comfort zone. I’m sure she’ll manage and everything and everyone will be okay. If I was her, I probably wouldn’t have put these feelings in writing and published them for all the world to see. (Mainly because of all the judgmental folks who are about to pile on. Just follow this thread. You’ll see.) But there is nothing in this article that would make this child feel unloved if she stumbles upon it someday. My youngest sister was a holy terror when she was growing up, and my mother never misses an opportunity to tell her about it. There were many occasions when, if put to a family vote, we’d have “sent her back.” But she was always loved and cherished…and she knows it.

That is horrible. Did you ever tell her that? I ask because my mother had a horrible habit of telling me she didn’t want to be my mother anymore and that she was “turning in her mommy button”. It crushed me. When I was a teen, I finally got the nerve to tell her just how hurtful that was. She was shocked to hear that. She had no idea that all those years of making that joke, that she was breaking the heart of her child. Now that didn’t stop her from ever saying it again. She still occasionally make that joke until the day I left home for good, at which point she made comments to others that she was “glad I was gone”. So there is good reason why people react with judgement about such comments or admissions. It is unnecessarily hurtful and it is a sign of rejection of the person.

Oh, give me a break. Did you read the sentence AFTER the one you highlighted?

i feel the need to say that when we condemn another we have thus judged them.
and that is not who we are - or at least i pray it isn’t.
May we say and do everything out of love…

If we have a comment that helps not - then what is the purpose of saying it?

I’m not really disturbed by this woman having this thought. As a mom, I’m pretty comfortable saying that all parents occasionally have such thoughts. I’m disturbed by the idea of actually sharing it worldwide. Blogging and the web in general can be fabulous, but now it seems that everything is shared. Privately expressing the thought that life would be easier without one of your children is a-okay in my book. Making it public knowledge and accessible at a later date by said child is scary. In general, I think pieces like this one force us to evaluate/reevaluate what we make public and how it affects others.

I read this to mean that yes, life would have been easier without her fourth child, but easier is not always better.

I thought that it validated her decision and that the joy of having this child was worth all the difficult times and that certainly is not a bad thing to hear.

This! And it’s not like she was writing anonymously either.

I don’t understand what the fuss is all about. She’s sharing some of the pain and stress she’s felt. I’m sure many mothers empathize. I think some people are just taking the article title too seriously and not really delving into the experiences that she’s trying to share. I’m sure it won’t be too scarring for the child in question to grow up and read her mother’s words:

I am the luckiest mother in the world.

And the most unworthy.

Praying for this family.

Maybe it won’t be to scaring and maybe it will. It will depend on the experiences that she has growing up.

Her life would also be easier if:
*cars could hold more than four passengers , (like they used to!)

*she didn’t feel compelled to drive 6 hours to an amusement park with her children but without her husband (because they couldn’t all fit in their car.)

*they hadn’t plan an age gap of 6 years between #3 and #4. She writes at a time when her fourth is “almost four” meaning she’s three-- and next oldest child is likely 9 or 10. If her fourth child was 7 or 8 it would be different.

*they didn’t over-indulge the youngest child (and then complaining when she acts a little bratty as if that child’s behavior has nothing to do with them.)

I could go on…

IMO, the questions are, at what age will the child in question read the piece and will she even get past the headline?
Will the other children, or even some horrible schoolmate take the opportunity to rub it in this child’s face.
Those are the worst possibilities and that child will never understand why her mother put it into words unless she has a child just like herself and by that time much damage will have been done to the relationship. People who think they have to tell the truth about everything all the time are overlooking the other choice: Silence is Golden.
This is the kind of thing a parent says only to a trusted friend or a family member who will never use it on them or their confessor.
It’s as bad as a spouse reading that their beloved wishes they had never married after a particularly bad argument.

I’m the oldest and most difficult child. While I wasn’t a “holy terror,” my mother does like to say that I was “high maintenance.” There are plenty of funny stories in our family about my hijinks as a child. In contrast, my brother was the angel baby who even put himself down for naps and never caused an ounce of trouble.

Like you, I don’t see anything here that would make a child feel unloved. I’ve always appreciated my mother’s honesty about how I really presented a challenge to her, because instead of hearing a whitewashed tale of motherhood, I am able to learn from her reality. Children can be difficult. They can clash with their parents’ personalities, and can be a force all their own. But if you’re not honest about that, you leave people either feeling overwhelmed and unlike those “perfect” moms out there who never complain, or wondering if there’s something wrong with their child or themselves.

I found the piece loving and honest. My only concern is all the judgmental hate mail that’s going to start rolling in for her.

Life would be EASIER without my dear baby, and I would have no problem telling her so when she gets older. Life is so much more wonderful and marvelous with her, and she is a gift from God; I delight in and treasure her; but life would definitely be easier without her.

“Easier” doesn’t equal “better.” Rather the opposite, in many cases.


I liked this part:

Lydia reaches her arms to me as I step outside to open the garage for the bicycles the kids will ride to school. There’s still a bit of baby fat on her cheeks. I kiss them and inhale her familiar scent. I’ve been parenting long enough to know she’s just doing the hard work of growing up, and that we are all feeling her growing pains. I also know that we are all kinder, more generous and more creative because of this baby. I love her more than anything in the world. I would lay down my life for her. Standing on my tiptoes to enclose her older sister in a sandwich hug (“I’m the lettuce!” Lydia cries), I try to forgive myself the dark thoughts. I can be impatient, imperfect, sleep-deprived and immature sometimes, and still be a good mother. Sooner than I can stand it Lydia will be the willowy teen heading off to middle school. Only she’ll have no baby sister waving her goodbye.

Got me a bit teary eyed.

Yeah, I thought it was sweet, and the mom can mitiagate any harm to her little girl by reading the article with her and talking about it, rather than leaving the child to discover it for herself one day.

There’s a big difference between saying “I wish I had never had another child” and “My life would be easier (not better) without my youngest child.”

Almost everyone’s life would be easier with fewer or no children. Money would not be as tight. There wouldn’t be as many demands on our time. There would be less conflict, from “No, you can’t have candy for breakfast” to “No, you can’t go to that in chaperoned party.” There would be fewer people to worry about.

But I doubt that many of us would say we would make different choices if we had it to do over.

In my mind, that makes a child feel more valued, not less.

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