Mommy Guilt has been a part of my life in spades since Keyan was born. You name it, I’ve probably felt guilty about it:
– not spending enough time with him
– not teaching him enough songs, abc’s, numbers
– doing things for myself, away from him
– not cooking enough, or not cooking healthy enough
– wanting to take a break from the kids
– feeling bad for getting mad or yelling
– not reading to him enough
And the list can go on. I know that I’m being unreasonable to myself because I can’t be the perfect mom, only the best that I know how, yet, the Mommy Guilt is always there, lurking in the background, ready to pounce!
And then a whole new set of Mommy Guilt arrived after Kyah was born. Now I was comparing what I was doing for Kyah in comparison to what I had done for her big brother. All of a sudden, with two kids, there just wasn’t enough time or enough hands to do everything I wanted. Here’s where I experienced Second Child Guilt:
– I didn’t take Kyah to baby signing classes
– she spent much more time in her carseat as we took her to activities for Keyan
– I didn’t have much alone time with her because her big brother was always with us
– I probably didn’t sing to her as much or read her as many books
– We didn’t get to have baby friends for her or regular playdates
If I let myself, I guess I could probably drown in these feeling of Mommy Guilt, so lately I’ve been trying to put it into perspective because the guilt isn’t going to do anything but make everyone feel worse.
I look at my kids and realize, they seem to be pretty happy, healthy and well-adjusted kids, despite me feeling like I’m not doing enough.
As for my Second Child Mommy Guilt with Kyah, even though I wasn’t able to do all the same things with her as I did with Keyan, let’s get real, when there’s another kid around, there’s NO WAY that’s going to happen. Plus, she has an awesome big brother around her, someone she can play with and learn from everyday. Maybe that’s even better than being the first child and getting all the attention?
Either way, we as mother’s have to accept that we are doing the best we can and that our kids are happy. So let’s cut ourselves some slack and not let the Mommy Guilt take over!
When do you experience Mommy Guilt? And how do you deal with it?
20 thoughts on “Second Child Mommy Guilt”
It can be so hard to find a balance especially with kids! I don’t have children of my own yet (unless you count my bunny and dog…), but I do work with a lot of fitness clients who are moms. When they take the time to exercise even if they feel guilty about it at first, they’re surprised at how much better they are as moms because they have more energy! Great post and reminder 🙂
You’re right Catherine, when you take the time to do things for yourself, it does make you a better mom <3
I’ve definitely had mommy guilt. Only I get it now with my older kids. I have a 14 year gap between my youngest (who just turned 1) and my next child who is almost 15. With my 3 older children who are 15, 16 and 18, life was different. But now, as an older mom with a 1 year old, my time is less crazy. I have more money to spend and I’m more relaxed about parenting. I get guilt feelings all the time that I’m not as hard of a parent as I was with my older kids and I wonder if they notice. The funny part is, my oldest, has noticed and even made a comment but he says I shouldn’t feel guilty because according to him I was a good mom. I’m just a different kind of mom, but no worse or better.
Thanks for sharing Misty! You sound like a great mom!
Best thing anyone ever said to me about the second child was that we shouldn’t feel guilty as that second child gets a ton of attention from the first child. I hope that helps a little. A
I didn’t really experience mommy guilt when I had my second, mostly because they were such different babies that they needed me differently. However, I feel a bit of it now with my kids being at nearly 2 and 5. When the 5 y.o is off to school, I often spend the time doing errands, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, etc. I do end up feeling a bit bad that the whole day wasn’t spent at the playground like it was when the 1st was a toddler. I just have to accept that and go with the flow!
Good advice Andrea 🙂 I have to ‘go with the flow’ more.
I can totally relate to this post. I did so much with my first daughter, but my second really gets the short end of the stick most of the time. I tell myself at least she has someone to play with all the time, whereas my first was always needing attention.
It really is a plus when the second one has a sibling!
I had HELP syndrome at 34 weeks and had to have an emergency C-sect because my liver was conking out. Imagine the guilt over have a preemie just so I could get better……that took awhile to get over. I still have the guilt over not working on my sons printing enough or spending enough time with my second etc but try to limit it all and just be the best mama I can be.
I can’t even imagine Tennille, that must have been so difficult for you.
Yes we do the best we can that is the best way for our families so don’t have guilt. Only have if you know it’s wrong.. like yelling or doing something to hurt your child. It’s all work in progress and we are learning as we go. No one teaches us to be parents we do the best we can. Beautiful kids!
Thank you Lina.
It’s funny, I have the exact opposite mommy guilt that you have. I’ve got a 5 year old and a 9 month old and I get to spend lots of alone time with my baby, but hardly any with my older daughter as she’s in kindergarten and I often work in the afternoon when daddy’s home to save on childcare costs. I started doing mommy dates with my big girl to help make up for this and she loves them! She also gets to have occasional “sleep overs” in mommy’s bed when daddy’s working at night. Every little bit helps!
I guess Mommy Guilt comes in many forms!
With just one girl I have working Mom guilt. It can eat me alive but I’m trying to keep it at bay. We are so hard on ourselves as Moms. I’m cutting more slack for myself in 2014. Less guilt = more positivity and better parenting in general. That’s the plan anyways…
We are hardest on ourselves!
My feelings of guilt crept up on me when my twins were turning one. I think it was enhanced by the comparisons I made between the mums in my neighbourhood who were high achieving and highly aspirational. (This wasn’t helped by some of the comments that were addressed to me.)
Salma did your children use soothers made from organically correct rubber from Brazil. What? They didn’t? Add that one to your list.
Of course my list looks similar to yours. What I decided was that I had to have goals that I wanted to meet and not worry about the rest. This helped.
* lots of hugs and kisses
* if possible ensure the children to get outside for an hour a day
* play a lot of world music and sing together
Thanks for the suggestions Pamela 🙂