Are you a better mom to one of your kids and feel bad about it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-13-2010, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a little of my backround and why this came up today with older daughter.
I was 18 when I married my first husband (he was 36), my family didn't agree to the wedding but of course I had to prove them wrong
Well, in a few words that was my worst mistakes, I stop studding and got in an abusive relation (physical and mentally) like when he hit me while pregnant I went to live with my mom and soon after that my baby was born and he went to see us to the hospital until the next day. He saw the baby and told me he was going home for the money to pay for the hospital, left and didn't came back (my family and friends have to pay for it!).
Anyway, after a couple more of this crap I finally move to another state and never look back.
It was very hard, I was immature, young, scare and had to work very hard since I was all in my own.
On top of that my mom was (I say was because she change so much when I left for years), she was very strict woman who hit as a punishment because that is how she grow. Therefor that is how I did to my daughter.
I loved my daughter,I love her very much and many times I took the food of my plate to give it to her.
He co-sleep together, and I always made sure she had a home and food in her plate.
But I made many mistakes.
A couple years later I meet the men of my dreams, he is a very nice men, very smart, responsible, sweet, hard working, romantic, etc, etc.
After 6 years of trying to have a baby, we finally had our sweet baby girl!!
Everything have been so different this time.
From pregnancy, to be able to be a SAHM.
I educate my self all this time (parenting/pregnancy) I learn from the mistakes I made with my daughter, and I am not going to lye, is so much easy to have a baby when you have somebody that is right there with you, soporting you and helping you and make you feel loved.
But I always have feel guilty about it , and that have stop me to be a better mom for my second one too.
For example: I never had a picture album with my first, I didn't have a camara and not even thought about it. Now with my second I wanted to make her album but I stop my self because I think is not fair.
With my first I never had the time or new of the importance of take her out to parks, with my second one I do but feel very guilty about it.
What I am supoust to do, how can I be the mother I can be now when I didn't with my first one?
Today my daughter told me that she feel that I have a better relationship with the little one because I learn from the mistakes I made with her
She was right, I have know that but it hurt so much to hear it from her.
I told her she was right about me learning from my mistakes, I told her that when I had her I was young and all in my own and had to work very hard, I told her I didn't know better and all I knew was learn by my own mom but I have grow now and I know better.
But that we have a very special relation ship because we went through very hard times together and we were just me and her for a while.
She told me that I had a special relation ship with her but she doesn't have a special relationship with her
I don't know what to say/do. I can't go back on time. I don't even know what exactly should change, maybe ask for child suport so I didn't have to work as hard and could have spend time with her? But that was back in Mexico, years ago, and I am sorry to say this but things are different back there, he had money and I could have end up without my baby.
I should have never got married and finish school but then I would haven't had her, so no.
I should have read more about parenting but again, I was to worry for have dinner at home because my ex was scary.
Sorry this is long.
My daughter and I are having hard times, and she just open a big door I wish it wasn't open until I knew how to fix it.
Have any of you felt guilty about being better parent to one of your kids? What do you do? Do you try to not be as good to your second so your first one doesn't feel as bad? Would you make a picture album to your younger if you never did for your first? what about birthday parties?

thank you for taking the time to read all this post, any advice or sharing will be appreciated.

SAHM, married to my geeky husband and mom of 12 year old girl and 2year old
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#2 of 9 Old 08-13-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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Oh, Yovi, I am so there with you on this one!

(((((hugs))))))

I am constantly amazed at how much easier it is to raise a baby when one is NOT married to a crack addict! My circumstances are hardly perfect, but they are so much better than they were when my adult children were toddlers.

What helps me is a Maya Angelou quote:

"We did the best we knew how and when we knew better, we did better."

Please enjoy going to the park and scrapbooking and all the other joys of new parenthood that you are entitled to. I find it healing. It helps me to make sense of my mistakes to know that I learned from them and am capable of growing just as my children are. It helps me deal with the difficulties I am working through with my adult children to know that I won't have the same problems with my toddler when he is older. It helps my adult children forgive me to see just how much I love little ds and for them to understand that all I ever wanted in life was to be able to give the same things to them.

Little ds has more than one older sibling, so I am already aware of the fact that we love each of our children in different ways. That is normal and does not mean that we love one more than another. Love both of your children. Do the best you can with the tools you have in the circumstances you live in. That is all any of us can do.
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#3 of 9 Old 08-13-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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I'm not sure I know how to say this but I'll try. You have grown since your first dd was born. Don't compare then to now. Make scrapbooks and explain to your oldest lo that you didn't have a camera when she was that age. Start one the age she is now. Write down what you remember and include that in her album. If you need to, apologize to her for being ignorant with her and tell her that you are learning differently now. Just as you don't want your new lo to live that way, you can't change how it was for your oldest. You can only move on. Stop the cycle of guilt (easier said than done, I know; but necessary). Guilt will not help you and will hinder your relationship with all your children.

It was Erica that was the focus of our family because of her needs. To such an extent that Joy and Angela only got the leftovers and in a lot of ways were neglected and left to fend for themselves. I had to apologize to Joy and Angela for all those times that they were neglected. They were adults by that time and understood but it was no fun living through it as children.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#4 of 9 Old 08-14-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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My mom is a much better parent to my two baby sisters (ages 11 & 12.5) than she was to my adult sisters and me. Like you, she had a hard, rocky beginning. She was young and could only work with what she knew at the time. I've forgiven her for her mistakes. As an adult, I am aware that one is always growing, learning and changing. I am so happy that she has the knowledge she has today so that she can be a better parent to my baby sisters.

My husband is a better father to our son than he was to his first two daughters (from a previous marriage). He was young and he just didn't know what he didn't know. He didn't think he had the right to talk to his ex about quitting smoking while she was pregnant or encouraging her to breast feed. They practiced CIO and a non-attachment parent way of doing things. With our son, DH sees how wonderful breastfeeding is, how good it is for our son, etc. He knows that our son needs us now and that if we are there for him, if we help him to feel secure and attached now, he will be more secure later. There are many things my husband would do differently, but he doesn't beat himself up over it because he realizes that he is only human and makes mistakes. He tries to be the best father to his daughters that he can possibly be to them now, to meet their needs in age appropriate ways. It's all that he can do.

I can speak for myself, that I would have been a very different mother to my son had I had him at 18. I likely would have bottle fed him. He would have received all of his immunizations on schedule without question. I probably would have done CIO and had my son sleeping away from me. I might have had him circumcised.
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#5 of 9 Old 08-15-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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Guilt is poisoning to the soul! There is absolutely nothing you can do to go back in time! We are only held accountable for what we know at any given moment. You didn't know then what you know now...but that's why we have many years to grow and learn on Earth. If we all came in knowing how to be the perfect everything, we wouldn't be here! All of these "should haves" and "shouldn't haves" keep you from being in the very moment where you have new opportunities to love and be loved!

I think validating your daughter feelings about her upbringing is a great way to pass on the meaning of "grace" to her. No one is perfect! You're still making mistakes with your new baby! I say mistakes, but really it's opportunities for growth...our childrens' greatest gift to us!

Say you're sorry for the things you did and things you didn't do. Say, I can't change anything but I do have this moment to make different choices that are more in alignment with who I came here to be. She will take these words with her because inevitably, she will makes many many mistakes in her life. Hug her, love her, and live in the moment. It's authentic and real! Guilt on the other hand....guilt is pointless (unless you have seriously broken human moral laws)! Let the past go!

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#6 of 9 Old 08-15-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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First, how old is your older one? Is she a teen now?

Second, don't feel guilty about parenting differently...you just do what you can do when you can do it. And one thing you can't do is change the past. The reality is that EVERY oldest child is subject to the same thing-they are the child that the parent makes the most mistakes with. That's just the way it is, because there is no substitute for experience. You can never be a perfect parent, and you can never be the same parent, because every single situation and child and time frame is totally different. That's just life, that is just the way it is. Feeling guilty or regret isn't going to change anything that happened in the past, it's only going to continue to affect the present.

And to that end, all you can do at this point, is parent all your kids the best way you know how to now. IF your relationship with the older one needs improving, then you work on that in the now. You just do what you can with the child she is today, because you can't change what happened in years past.

Perhaps it may help to look at the things you did that were positive, that have resulted in good things in your child today. For example, did the way you parented in the past result seem to result in a strong and determined child today?
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#7 of 9 Old 08-15-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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If I understand your post correctly, your oldest daughter also feels she doesn't have a good relationship with your youngest daughter because of this. If that is indeed the case, I would gently remind her that there is a very large age difference that can account for this. Also, just as your oldest daughter had no say in her circumstances, neither does your youngest daughter. Your oldest daughter cannot rationally hold anything against her, either.

I agree with so many of the others: Please let go of the guilt. You cannot change anything in the past. Explain to your daughter that you did the best with her that you could at the time, just like you are doing with your youngest now. She received your undivided attention, your youth, and your energy. You loved her like no other being in your world at that time. Your youngest doesn't ever get the opportunity to be the center of your universe, like your oldest was for so many years.

I would also like to remind you and your oldest that EVERY parent relationship is like this. No one knows how to be a good parent the first time. You *are* learning from your mistakes each time you parent. That's how life is. We always jokingly remind our oldest daughter that some of our mistakes went in her favor, too, and that sometimes her little sister gets the raw end of the learning curve deal.

Has your oldest daughter or you received any counseling? It sounds like you both had some hard times, and both of you have some residual issues because of it. Perhaps some joint or individual counseling would help both of you see the positive aspects of your early years together (the bond, the inner strength that you both developed), and help you work through and let go of the negative aspects of your early years.

Good luck! Just keep doing the best you can do; that's all it's really about. Not perfection. Just always trying to be *good* and *loving*.
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#8 of 9 Old 08-16-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorijds View Post
If I understand your post correctly, your oldest daughter also feels she doesn't have a good relationship with your youngest daughter because of this. If that is indeed the case, I would gently remind her that there is a very large age difference that can account for this. Also, just as your oldest daughter had no say in her circumstances, neither does your youngest daughter. Your oldest daughter cannot rationally hold anything against her, either.


Good luck! Just keep doing the best you can do; that's all it's really about. Not perfection. Just always trying to be *good* and *loving*.
I had forgotten about the age gap. There is a 20, 17, and 13 age gap between Dylan and his sisters. His relationship with Joy and Erica are more along the line of aunt and nephew than sister and brother. I don't expect any closer relationship between them until Dylan is an adult when the age gap is less important. Angela is the only one that he has a sibling relationship with. And because he is only 7, 9, and 11 years older than his nephews and nieces, he has more of a sibling relationship with them than an uncle one. He had a very rough time going from an only child to the oldest of 2-3 at age 10 when Joy and her family moved in with us and lived with us for 2 years.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#9 of 9 Old 08-16-2010, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lorijds View Post
We always jokingly remind our oldest daughter that some of our mistakes went in her favor, too, and that sometimes her little sister gets the raw end of the learning curve deal.
.
Thank you so much to remind me this!! You are right and I can't believe that I forgot about that point.
She got a $1,000 bed when she was little. It was a high bed in a shape of castle with a slide, and on the bottom we put her a TV, books, games, toys, etc.
The bed was super cute but a pain in the butt to make everyday, and to take the sheets for watch was a mission impossible, that is why, little sister will never get one, at least until she can make her own bed, which maybe she doesn't want the castle anyway.
My older also sleep with me until I got married, the little one will don't.
The older one got relative expensive close as a baby and grow out of it very fast but I didn't care because it was just her, but now my little one used clothes from Craigs and one new ones every once in a while.
My older one wasn't only my first kid but also the first grandkid and the first nice, etc. So she got a LOT more attention then the little one from our family.
The more I think the more things I found in her favor, some were not that good but still good for her as a child. Like we use to have ice cream dinner, lol. Since I didn't have nobody to parent with, it was all my decitions, now my husband put sense on me with things like this and I put sense on him, so the little one doesn't get ice cream for dinner and doesn't stay until 2am watching movies with mom.
Thanks

SAHM, married to my geeky husband and mom of 12 year old girl and 2year old
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