I’m lucky to be in a really great ‘mommy group’ locally. There’s a few dozen of us. I joined when my son was a baby and we were all first time moms. All of our babies (now toddlers) were born within a few months of each other, so it’s been especially helpful to have others going through the same experiences, both good and bad. We’ve celebrated milestones together as well as hardships. My son has a lot of friends and spends time with many of them every single week.
I’m also extremely lucky in that I’ve been able to become a stay-at-home mom. That means it has been my son and myself together 24/7 since the very beginning. He was (and is!) my world. I was able to dedicate 100% of myself to him – to his development, and his needs, and his happiness. It’s been a dream.
My daughter was born when my son was 25 months old. I had toyed with the idea of enrolling him in a part-time preschool program but ultimately didn’t, as I was overwhelmed with adapting to life with two kids. I say that because my son has still been with me 24/7, even with the baby here, too.
My baby girl is six months old now, and I am feeling terrible mom guilt lately. I know better than to compare my kids, but anyone with more than one kid knows it’s incredibly difficult not to do so. And when I compare, I realize that my daughter is not meeting milestones when my son did. I am taking that very personally. Am I not doing enough?
The truth is that I really don’t feel like I’m doing enough. I am unable to dedicate all of my attention to her because I am split between my two kids. I am not able to spend all day laying on the floor watching her do tummy time and helping her roll, or sit up, or crawl. (I am able to spend SOME time doing this, of course, but not to the extent I was able to when it was just my son.)
I also notice that she’s very quiet, especially compared to my son. She doesn’t babble like he used to. And I feel, again, like that’s my fault! I don’t talk with her as much as I should because I am enjoying the silence compared to my chatty toddler.
The only “friends” she has are babies of the moms in my group that have had their second children along with me. And while that’s great, and it’s been nice to also now have the bond of mothers experiencing life with two kids, I sometimes feel guilty that she doesn’t have her own group.
She is not behind. I know that. Every baby develops at their own rate, and she is perfect and beautiful and thriving.
I know this is all part of having more than one child. And the anxiety I felt while pregnant with my daughter (“How can I possibly love this child as much as I love my son?” etc) is normal and all part of the changes coming. I also know that this is part of ‘it’ – in order to grow our family, and grow the love and joy in our lives, we must ‘sacrifice’ some things, like individualized attention (sometimes). And watching my children interact with each other, and watching my son love on his sister brings me more joy than I ever imagined that makes the guilt all worth it.