I was hoping some mama's out there would be able to give some advice on how I can overcome the guilt I am feeling on a daily basis due to the fact that I am trying to be 'everything' to 'everyone', meaning being there for my 22 month old DD as well as trying to care for our 3MO b/g twins.
I am a stay at home and have the help of a full time nanny but even with help I am wondering if I am spending enough time with all of the children. I am exclusively BF the babies and my DD is still nursing twice a day as well, and this is our special time in the day when I try to give her undivided attention, but not always succeeding. Apart from this, I try to play a special game with her everyday, or at least sit with her while she plays or scribbles etc. What makes all of this difficult is the 'physical' part of it all, in that it has become so difficult for me to actually physically be there for her - most of the time I am carrying a baby in a sling or carrier, or BF one or both babies, that I cannot actually 'get down and dirty' with her. My babies dont sleep on their own for very long, hence the carriers, and even if they do, there is just always something to do, like tidying, or even eating etc etc, I am sure I am preaching to the choir.
How do I stop feeling guilty over this? Any suggestions on how I can change things to better the situation for my DD? Is it that bad?
Any replies or ideas will be appreciated!
Subbing, because I will be in the same situation in about 6-7 months. DS will be ~26 months when we have our twins.
I'm not sure what your nanny's duties include, but maybe she could take care of some light cleaning or hold/wear a baby for you to spend some exclusive time with your DD (even if it's just 10 minutes)? What about DH? If neither of those are an option, try to stop feeling guilty, because it sounds like you are doing the best you can in your situation. Hugs to you mama!
Strong single mama to Ethan (9/09) and Rowyn (7/12)
I am in the exact same situation and feel the exact same guilt. BFing didn't work out for me with the twins so I don't even get that special time with them. They love to sleep in their swings and boppies, where as DD slept in my arms or on the boob 95% of her naps. I feel like I am either not holding the boys enough or having to not play with DD because I am feeding them. Because we have the nanny I get to take DD to all of her classes and playdates still, but then I feel like I am neglecting the boys. Our nanny is wonderful and holds them whenever they want it, as do I, but I still feel like they aren't being held enough. (They sleep A LOT, just not long stretches yet.) I just have to keep telling myself that I am doing my best and that the boys will turn out just as wonderfully as DD even if I am not holding them as much and taking them out as much. I do plan on starting library times and classes with them at around six months, but still I feel guilt. Anyways, sorry to vent and not offer advice, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.
Natalie ~ DH 8/04 ~ DD 8/09 ~ Identical Twin Boys Arrived at 34w5d on March 2, 2011
Here's some advice from a BTDT (my DD is 17 month older than my twin DSes).
Ladies, when you are beating yourself up over not "being everything to everyone", you are not only transferring that stress to your kids, you're also destroying your enjoyment of them in the here and now. You need to knock it off.
You need to do whatever it takes to knock it off. Maybe that means thearapy for you (this is one of the things I did). Maybe it means keeping a journal of 5 things that you liked about the day every day. Maybe it's time to do whatever you need to do to hire a housecleaner every other week (something else I did). Do Flylady or some other thing that reminds you that you're not perfect, never will be, and that is a good thing. STOP reading fancypants glossy ooooooh I am SO MUCH BETTER than you mommy blogs. Sometimes it means learning a little humility and forgiveness--for yourself (definitely me). But whatever you do, you need to figure out some way to be at peace with being a "good enough" rather than "the most perfectly perfect fantasy I always had for myself" mom.
My DD is now 9.5, my boys turn 8 next week. You know, we did not get out to library times very often (the boys went maybe once or twice); we didn't do mommy and me classes, the boys did do little gym butt didn't start until they were almost 3. We did do a once a week parent-and-child co-op group. Instead we went to (gated) parks, a little more during the summer when I hired a teen to go with us to the zoo, kids' museum, ect. We didn't even do t-ball or anything like that. They are happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids that are bonded to me and each other.
Once you've decided to dump the guilt over things that you really can't control and you're going to spend more time enjoying your kids rather than bemoaning how you're screwing up (and I know this is no easy task, but it's something you must do, and I know you CAN.)--then get in the habit of at least once a week, going out with each child individually (no matter how much the others protest). For a long time, for me that was having a grocery/errand helper. It's good for the singleton/oldest kid to not have to be overshadowed by the babies; good for each twin to not be totally lumped into a unit; and good for you to be able to shop without being stopped every third step by well meaning strangers (no matter how much you think you don't like the attention, you may discover that you kind of miss it--so it's good to help let go of that as well). Now that they're all older, I still do that, but also have a different kitchen helper each week, and now that they're all in different afterschool activities, I often get an overlap with one or two that allows me to spend one on one time. And they can always request a special time (like going out for tea or a walk) and I do my best to accomodate that. When you have a bunch of littles, though, it's catch as catch can. If you love them and are caring for them you're "doing right" by them. If you beat yourself up so they have a depressed mom who only looks at her failures, then you're not. Some people can figure out how to do that on their own, for others like me, it required some work in therapy for a variety of reasons. If that's what you need to, trust me, there is NO better investment of time and resources.
The first few years are really intense. But the skills you learn (acceptance of "good enough", self-forgiveness, compassion, humility, ect.) will serve you so well as time goes on, and you'll be ahead of the game with parents who never "had" to learn that until their kids are older.