Oh yeah, I have another child.

Guilt: a feeling of have done wrong or failed in an obligation.

Mommy Guilt: guilt multiplied by 1000.

Fellow parents of multiple children, I hope, I pray, you know what I’m talking about.  Please tell me I’m not the only parent who occasionally forgets, for fleeting seconds, that she has another life she is responsible for.  No, I haven’t left my child in the car or forgotten him at daycare (knock on wood).  What I have done though is obsessively worry about my oldest son so intensely that I’ve forgotten the quiet, contemplative little dude sitting right beside me.

It feels awful forgetting.  I love my youngest boy.  He’s thirteen months old, and he’s awesome.  He’s toddling around, climbing up stairs, and eating with reckless abandon.  He loves flashing his six pearly whites (creating dimples in his chunky cheeks) and showing off his skills as a yogi master (the boy is flexible, I tell you).

But he doesn’t get the consistent attention he deserves.  My Mommy Guilt is on overdrive these days.  I cannot figure out how other parents do it.  How do you devote your attention and focus on both children equally?  Seriously, I’m asking.  Tell me your secret.

Having  a child with special needs only exacerbates the problem.  Because of his recent ASD diagnosis, Big C demands, and I mean literally demands, my attention.  He needs my help right now.  There are therapies he needs and that means hours of prep, planning, and organizing on my part to make these therapies a reality for him.

But what about Little C?  Is he getting what he needs? Am I giving him enough of my undivided attention?  Is undivided attention even a part of my reality anymore?

I cannot stop wondering: in an attempt to help my oldest son, am I detrimentally affecting my youngest?

In the meantime, Little C is getting better at demanding attention.  He’s learning how to effectively use his fake cry (a born thespian), and he’s proven to have a natural talent for the temper tantrum, but is this because of his natural disposition or is it a reaction to my inattention?  Just last week, the daycare staff informed me Little C was starting to get “a little mean,” hitting and pushing the littler babies.  I wanted to crawl into a hole.  I began to imagine a recycled future of daycare suspensions, daycare removals, and nannies quitting all over again.

But that’s not fair.  It’s not fair to Little C.  He’s not his big brother.  He’s his own little guy.  He should be allowed to create a future that is uniquely his, flaws and all.

I know figuratively beating myself up over all of this is counterproductive, getting me nowhere but spinning in circles, but I cannot shut it off.  It’s frustrating when people tell me to stop worrying so much.  Don’t these people know I would if I could?

I. Feel. Guilty.

My only solace is that the guilt stems from a genuine desire to be a good mom for my boys.  I give a shit.

That has to count for something.

just a little boy by zznzz
http://zznzz.deviantart.com/

~ Chaos Complicated (for now)

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7 thoughts on “Oh yeah, I have another child.

  1. I know what you mean. A is older than E, so there is a difference there because A got the attention in his toddler years before E came along. I am not so sure how things will work out with baby 3 here. Hang in there and remember you can only do so much and whatever you are doing is enough.

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  2. I don’t have another child, but I definitely think it makes sense you feel this way. it’s totally valid. When I think about getting pregnant again, I get a lump in my throat and want to cry. Because I would be scared. I don’t know how I would ever manage it.

    That said, you are clearly managing it the best way you possibly can so you’re a rockstar. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are a human being as well as a mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My youngest daughter (of 3), has many, and severe, disabilities and the cherry on top of that delicious piece of cake is that she is also medically fragile. I SO TOTALLY understand the guilt. Now for the good news, just my opinion but the daycare calling a toddler “a little mean” is stupid. He probably has very few words and so expresses himself by being a little too physical. I’m not saying it should be accepted behavior, but come ON daycare people, he’s 13 months old! I say take that guilt right out of the equation because this is what many kids his age do with or without siblings. Period. Next, I can very happily report that even though there have been many times where I felt I had neglected my older girls for my youngest, I firmly believe that having to understand at an early age that sometimes other people’s needs have to be met before yours, and to grow up seeing first hand how hard it has been for their little sister, they really do appreciate life in a more meaningful way and they spread that out in the world with positive attitudes and joyful spirits. Have they ever said to me, “Tess is your favorite.”? Yup. But then I shoot them a look and like the wise ass I am, tell them to stop being able to eat, walk and talk, then have a seizure and we’d talk about. (They are older now:17 &20-I wouldn’t say that to a child!) Long, rambling story short, give up the guilt, mama! Your kids will be fine because, and I quote, you “give a shit.” That right there will take them where they need to go in life. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It really does make me feel better, and it’s always nice to hear from another mom who also obviously gives a shit! I also agree with you about the daycare comment. I don’t want to knock the place too much because they really have been mostly awesome, but it really was a ridiculous comment. It was a lack of words to pick from on the daycare provider’s part. 😉 Hope you keep reading! I’m going to go check out your blog. 🙂

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  4. Oh boy howdy do I hear ya! I’m the momma of 5 kids. My youngest two will be 5 in November. My 4.5 year old daughter, “G”, is medically complex, and my 4.5 year old son, “N”, is ASD and SPD (sensory processing disorder) .. G is in and out of the hospital often … and N’s behaviors have been growing more and more extreme as the days go by.

    And then there are my other kiddos … M is 7, C is 10, and bigG will be 12 in 2 months.

    There are times when I wonder if I can even make it through the day … and I pray I am giving everyone enough of ME.

    But there are the moments like tonight … I put the twins down early because it has been “one of THOSE days” … and C came up to me just to snuggle and talk. He finds the moments when he can .. and he takes them. He is 10 and still loves to find ways to snuggle with mommy. Even if it’s when I’m laying his little brother and sister down after an extremely long day…. he will come and hug and kiss me and talk to me about his day. And bigG will some and sit on my lap when I’m having the rare moment of Trying to relax … she’s almost 12 and still enjoys sitting on mommy’s lap.

    Apparently I’m doing something right … because my kids seem to show me .. in those sweet and precious ways … that they know I love them too … and that sometimes they can find their very own ways to spend special time with mommy ♡

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    • Wow! You are a super mom! That’s awesome C comes to you for snuggle time. You must be doing something right. Oh, and thank you for reading my posts! I hope you visit again. I’d love to hear more about your kiddos too. 🙂

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