The mum guilt of looking after two

The mum guilt of looking after two

I never thought I would feel guilty or feel the mum guilt for having two children, and I know that it would be worse if I had three or four children. The mum guilt is down to the fact that I can’t dedicate enough of my time to both children, and I definitely can’t dedicate enough time to my daughter at the moment which is where the problem lies.

For those of you who don’t know, my daughter was my first born and she’s now nearly three. She’s a crazy, wild and loving toddler, whose mood has been up and down recently especially since the arrival of my son. 

Having had a new born baby 8 weeks ago by c-section, and feeling like a beached whale before that it was and has been pretty difficult to spend one-to-one time with her. All of a sudden I’ve noticed that she’s grown up. She now weighs a ton, and seems like a different person to what she was three months ago. Part of feels like I’ve missed out on a huge part of her life, and another part of me feels like I’ve stopped watching her and seeing for three months. Where did my toddler go, she has morphed into child overnight. And that is where the mum guilt comes into play. I’ve missed it. It wasn’t because I stopped watching her so closely, it was because I’ve been spending time having a baby and looking after a newborn.

I know that I shouldn’t feel this way as it’s all part of the parcel of having two, and I’m sure that many parents feel the same, but that doesn’t stop the mum guilt from seeping through.

At the same time I can’t dedicate enough time to my son as my daughter also needs me. It feels like a constant tug of war which I am stuck slap bang in the middle of. I hate having to leave him to cry a little whilst I search for snacks or find a lost toy. You pick your battles, that’s the reality of looking after two. I often have to think about what’s worse either my son having a little newborn cry or my daughter having a full on toddler tantrum, and the latter is definitely worse.

On the days that I have the both it’s a battle of who shouts loudest which is often my daughter. Then on the days when my daughter is in nursery I breathe a sigh of relief as I haven’t got to look after the both of them. But in the next breath I feel guilty for feeling that way.

Argh! I can’t win at all. Does anyone else feel this way?

It is really hard being a parent of two, some things have been easier than I thought they would be, but no one prepared me for feeling so torn between the two of them.

Having spent a week away as a family it was clear that my husband spends a lot of time with my daughter, and I spend a lot of time with my son. Partly it’s because I’m breastfeeding, but I do wonder whether my daughter now prefers to spend more time with her Dad because she may feel that I’ve not been present for the past couple of months. I know that this is just a phase and it will soon pass, but I almost feel a little jealous of their relationship at the moment, and I feel like I’m watching in from the sidelines. Again this gives rise to that feeling of mum guilt that I’m definitely not spending enough time with her, and this needs to be resolved which we have tried to do this week.

It’s not easy but I need to push these guilty feelings to one side. It is what it is, both children are loved and cared for, and I know that I can’t dedicate as much time as I would like to both of them. I just need to be realistic about this whilst my son is so small.

But what I can do is spent quality time with them, nurture them, talk to them, and love them. After all it’s quality not quantity, and these early years are literally flying by. So instead of feeling guilty or worrying about feeling guilty, I’m going to use this time and energy to be with them. Yes they’ll be times when I have to see to one over the other, but in the grand schemes of things they won’t remember their Mum worrying, they’ll remember their Mum being with them, playing with them and loving them.

So ladies if you’re reading this, I hear you and know how you’re feeling. But let’s stop this guilty feeling. You’re being the best Mum (or Dad) you can be for your children and that’s what important.

I would love to know if you felt this way when you had more children, and how you resolved the mum guilt feeling with yourself?

Claire x

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