Friday, 8 July 2016

One Child to Two. 6 guilt trips to look forward to.

Happy Friday :)

In an early blog of mine (The Gift of Experience) I wrote about the enjoyment of being a mum second time round. Which I still maintain is glorious. However, 20 months into life with two and I've come to realise that there is one feeling which can rear it's ugly head quite a bit. Guilt. So if you're considering or celebrating the arrival of a second child here are a few guilt trips you may experience along the way.

# I want time with my eldest
Wow, this one hit me hard. Double servings of guilt. One dollop for not being able to have the same time with my eldest. Coupled with another dollop for not wanting to spend every waking hour with my newborn. My eldest went from having 4 years with me and I having 4 years with him to us both having to share. I loved my newborn dearly but I also missed my eldest, a lot.

# Unsettling my 4 year old
I did all the suggested stuff in the hope he remained feeling loved, important and looking forward to the arrival of his sibling. I imagined him enthusiastically showing his toys, softly singing nursery rhymes and gently stroking his brother's tiny fingers. There were these moments but there were far more of him enquiring with annoyance "when is he going back?". 'Accidentally' dropping toys on him and covertly nipping his tiny fingers. We went through a tough period. I knew the mis behaving was his way of saying 'I miss you' and that killed me. I was struggling to adjust to our newcomer so god knows how he felt.

#I want quality time with my youngest
Number two fits in. Baby massage, swimming classes and relaxing bathtimes are activities for baby number one. Number two's activities consist of visits to the supermarket, dropping off, picking up number one and watching mum do housework. Just remember, they know no different and running round screaming after the hoover is top of their favourite things to do anyhow.

#I'm not the best I could be
I just don't have enough time to be the mum I want to be. I'd love to listen to my eldest read every night but I only seem to remember when he's sound asleep in bed. My plan to replenish the freezer with mountains of home cooked food is just that, a plan. No way does my 20 month old ask for ketchup, enjoy the occasional fruit shoot or know what wotsit or space radar crisps tastes like...

# I can be unfair
Having less resources (time, sleep, patience etc.) but more to do can be hard. I always try to be fair. However if you're stressed, tired, fed up, worn out the child that understands, 'should know better' (ie the eldest) can get the brunt of your exhaustion, fairly or not.

# I sometimes feel ungrateful
I guess this one is true no matter how many children you have. It's normal not to appreciate every moment as a parent. They aren't always cute, sweet and adorable. There are some god awful times that can push you to the very edge. Make you sad, angry, frustrated, questioning your ability as a parent. A truck load of guilt accompanies this. Not only do you punish yourself for entertaining any thoughts other than pure love and affection towards your little darlings but also recognise that many who can't have children would give anything to be in your situation when occasionally you'd give anything to be out of your situation (just for 10 minutes mind).

The weird thing is, reading this back to myself I know deep down that these guilt trips are created and felt entirely by me. My youngest doesn't care that his Sunday morning outing is the supermarket. He loves the ride in the trolley. My eldest isn't put out by the lack of homemade food, surprise, surprise.
Only you know what's going on behind the scenes. All they see is their mummy who unselfishly loves and cares for them day in day out. Ahhhhh, feeling much better now. Wine anyone?

Friday crisp night for boys, wine night for mummy :)