I’m sure you’ve been here. Despite your best efforts of reading to them, cuddling them, letting them have sleep overs and dying for them each and every day, we all experience a little mom guilt. Are they getting enough? What are they thinking? Where are they lacking? Are they going to need extensive therapy when they grow up because of me?
Mom guilt is the worst! But it’s very real.
I remember when Taylor was a toddler and I was showering Ollie. Taylor hopped into the shower and quickly said “hey! How come I don’t get any water?” The truth was, was that he had just gotten in and I was about to share. But with a grin, I teasingly replied “because you’re not as important.” OBVIOUSLY this is farthest from the truth. But I watched my little guy take a step back, in acceptance. “OK,” he replied. Oh. My. Gosh. How could he possibly think I was serious? I quickly told him that I was kidding and it was a terrible joke. I asked him why he thought that Ollie was actually more important than him and he said that he thought that because Ollie had cochlear implants, that Ollie was more important. My heart was sad to say the least and I felt short of breath. My husband and I spent extensive time explainging how important he was and trying to reason with him why his brother gets so much attention. The next full week we called him “Important Tay Tay” in a great effort to pull him out of that mind set. But what’s a mom to do when their first born, a child they’d die for, feels less important than their special needs sibling?
Today I write, may years later, thinking about the mom guilt that I have in regards to my “normal” kids. How will they know that I would do anything for them?… That I’d go to the same great lengths that I do for their special brother, Ollie?
Realistically, I don’t know. There’s no way to be absolutely sure that Taylor and Henry never wind up with a deficit because of me.
But if I can find a way to live and love honestly with them and myself, and do it whole-heartedly…then I’ll call that a win. And if I can teach them that parents, like children are always learning and making mistakes, then that’s a win.
If I can be sure to let them know multiple times a day how much I love them, we win.
Early on, my mom was really great about helping me get out on dates with Taylor so that he could feel special and we could continue to grow our relationship. In the past few years with sports and sign language classes and life, we’ve gotten out of the habit of spending time together one-on-one.
Blogging about this is the best reminder that all of my little people truly cherish relationship with me (even if they claim that dad’s their favorite!). It doesn’t take money or a special occasion to make it happen. My kiddos simply need some time with mom.
Moms get the special privilage of instilling value into their little ones simply by looking into their eyes. We get the super-power of making our kids feel alive and seen.
Mom guilt may be real, but I think there is a way to fight it.
- Recognize it
- Evaluate. What do my kids actually need? Overall, do my kids know and feel that I love them?
- Respond! If you need to make more time with one of them, do it! Walk to the store and buy them a candy bar or take them to a park. Play a board game. It doesn’t have to be flashy! They just want YOU.
Feel loved mommas… Many times you will not be recognized for the hard work you do, but I recognize you right now. You are strong. You are kind. You are warriors.