Sometimes I wonder if I’d been better off sticking with one child.
Don’t get me wrong. I love both of my children with my whole heart, body, and soul. But sometimes I feel as if I’m gypping them of the mother I could be if I weren’t pulled in so many different directions. If I only had the time and energy focused on one, and not both.
I fondly look back at that first year and a half with my son and wonder if our relationship would have been different if I waited to have a second child. Or just had one child. He was mine and my husband’s whole world and I absolutely loved spending every single minute with him.
I felt like a good mother. A great mother some days.
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter my son was only 13 months old. I was excited, nervous, and hormonal. But I knew I could handle it. If I was a good mother to one I could be a good mother to two, right?
I happily went along throughout the whole pregnancy with this idea that being a mother to two would be hard but doable. People do it all the time. They even have more than two kids. Why couldn’t I? Friends and acquaintances made it look so easy.
And then my daughter was born.
I felt as if I couldn’t figure out how to spend time with my son without having my daughter right there with us. The alone time I thought I’d get with him each week to continue building our relationship was focused on my daughter. With her lack of interest in the bottle I was basically “tied down” to her until she started solids. And even then we had issues since she didn’t care much for purees and other foods.
My son started to bond more and more with my husband, mother-in-law, and aunt-in-law and he started needing me less. Our relationship really started to change and I wasn’t his world anymore. I was the parent who took care of the crying baby. When he got hurt or needed anything his first reaction was to turn to my husband. And while normally I would have been overjoyed at this response, I took it as a silent stab at my heart. My son didn’t want me.
But I moved past these feelings and continued to move forward. When my daughter was 6 months old I quit my 9-5 job and became a WAHM. Weekdays were just the three of us. I made sure to get out to playdates a few times a week, attempted to keep up with the housework, and tried to keep the kids on some sort of schedule.
But I was failing.
Even though I wasn’t working outside of the home anymore I felt as if I were being pushed into so many different directions that the basic needs of the family weren’t being met. I felt like a bad mother. And I felt as if others could see it too. The good mother image I had when I only had one child was being replaced. With what? I wasn’t sure exactly.
I didn’t have many people to talk to and felt as if I were being shut out because of the image I created. Happy mother to one who could handle it all turned to over-scheduled, unavailable mother to two who shuts everyone out. And looking back on everything, the fact that I had no one to turn to was my own doing. I didn’t put enough energy into the friendships and relationships I held so dear.
Maybe I just didn’t want to feel as inadequate as I thought I was. I didn’t want to see the perfection in others that I thought I should have. But in hindsight I realize that I was kidding myself to think that everyone else was perfect.
Throughout the past few months I’ve found myself trying to get back in touch with the person I once was. To find a balance in my life. But I keep coming to the realization that the balance I am craving just isn’t going to happen. I need to find an alternative. And I know I’ve blogged about this before. Or maybe just talked about it with friends, but I feel as if I need to write this down. To be accountable for my feelings.
I’ve started to change the way I view a “good mother” and am working on trying to become a good mother once again. I just keep coming back to the thought that maybe I’m in over my head. Maybe two children are just too many.
I absolutely love my kids. As I’ve said before, they’re my whole world now. And I know how precious this time I have with them is. However I think that I have cared too much about the mother image that I’ve grown lazy when it comes to actually being one.
I might have to add that I’ve written half of this post after having two glasses of wine so my words might not make as much sense as they do in my head. And my original concept for this post might have gone out the window with the second glass but…
Being a mother to two is nothing of what I thought it would be. I honestly thought that the ease in which I found motherhood the first time would reappear when I had my second. But adding a second kid is a whole other game altogether. And now I’m finding myself doubt my abilities a heck of a lot more.
I think maybe the focus on the image of motherhood and not the actuality of being a mother was where I went wrong. I heard about what a “good mother” I was from so many other people that I didn’t want their image of me to change when I started to struggle. The front that I gave as a woman in control was just that, a front. And now I have to deal with reality.
And now as a bottle of wine has been emptied this post falls to an end. I will begin again tomorrow as a new week starts and I’ll attempt to be the mother I wish I was. I will try to remember that the pressure I feel to be a good mother is only placed by myself, no one else. And if the pressure to be a good mother comes from anywhere else I’ll just have to ignore it. And trust that my instincts as a mother are enough for my children. Both of them.