Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Mistakes Of A 2+ Mom

Just as I know I'm not alone in these mistakes, I know that not every mom struggles to go from one to two. I'm sure many pull it off easily with no doubts. That wasn't/hasn't been me. I'm not sure if I'm writing this to relate, warn, or for my own children when they venture into these stormy waters. I'd like them to know they are not alone.

When Molly was a baby I never doubted myself. I would often hear my fellow new moms talk about people putting guilt on them and making them doubt every single thing. I never had that. I stood strong against older people warning me about co sleeping. Discouraging breastfeeding. Encouraging spanking and not letting her "manipulate." It wasn't until I became a mom of two that my head filled with doubt and my heart filled with guilt.

So here it is. My confession as a 2+ mom.

I did not let go and allow myself to enjoy the pregnancy and birth of Natalie. I was too consumed with worry that I didn't enjoy it. I worried how I would handle it. I worried it was too soon. I worried I'd miss just us three and then what kind of mother would I be? I worried the love wouldn't be the same. As time went by I realized this is so common it's more normal than shameful. I now know though that if we ever have another those feelings if even present will quickly be dismissed. I will never let worry for our future cloud the joy that is creating life.

Times of holding my sweet Natalie and combing over every feature and watching her sleep were rare. Hardly ever. The moment she went to sleep she went to her swing so I could give the attention to Molly. In fact I would tell my grandma "I don't know what she is affected by. She probably gets more attention now than pre Natalie." I spent so much time making sure Molly was ok that I lost time you just can't get back with my newborn. Making the older sibling feel special and loved is important in such a big event. Losing the early bond that is cuddling in the quiet and taking each other in is not something that should be sacrificed.

I have often thought this, but it wasn't until a conversation with another 2+ mom that I realized I wasn't alone. When Molly was a baby it was always the next milestone and the next clothes size. I looked forward to it. I probably dressed her in saggy clothes before it was time in order to say "She's in 6-9 months now!" We enticed her with our cell phones to get her to crawl. It was a rush to get older.

I'm not the only one. I've noticed that things Molly and my nephew did at Natalie's age were a major ordeal. They were gotten on too. More than they should of I feel looking back. At times I catch myself saying in the heat of things "You're two you should know better!" How dumb is that, honestly? She is two which is exactly why she doesn't know better. Natalie is given a luxury Molly never had. She is seen for her age. Her behavior is justified by the fact that she is a baby and learning and exploring. A couple days ago she was messing with my grandpa's scanner. We all laughed and redirected her. At her age that was a huge offense for Molly. I've held Molly accountable for things that should have been brushed off on learning and age.

I think these mistakes are so easy to make. We're so worried about making the right choices. We're so caught up in the potential long term consequences. I think that's what makes parenting 2+ so hard. Worrying that you don't have the balance down right in order to have multiple children grow up feeling equally loved and important. These are the mistakes I've made that have at times tipped that balance, but acknowledging something is the first step. I won't make these same choices again for the children I have now and for any future ones we may have.

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