Mom Guilt is no secret. I’ve had it plenty of times in my three years of momming. I’m sure you’ve had it, too. So many parts of motherhood can be hard. And I’ve heard the adjustment from two to three kids can be similar to the adjustment to one (AKA: ULTRA-HARD). But I didn’t spend time thinking about in which ways it would be hard besides knowing that “you do what you’ve gotta do” and “we’re all trying our best”.
Well, I think I found a hard part.
I’ve felt guilty over:
All of these things have something in common, because they were all my [probably wrong] choice. The big difference between two and three kids? I don’t have a choice anymore.
My baby needs to nap. He’s already showing that he needs a quiet, dark space to do that in. I should provide that for him, right? But my oldest needs to get to preschool and speech therapy, so let’s hope the baby adapts and adjusts to nap on-the-go. But my toddler has separation anxiety and can’t be left alone. And then there’s appointments and check-ups, you can’t miss those. They should probably all get to a playdate or two. But one naps when the other doesn’t and we’re certainly trapped by the nap, but I need to socialize my oldest, too. Forget about any time for myself, I don’t matter when all of this feels much more important.
There’s just no give.
I cannot make everyone happy anymore.
And trust me, I’ve tried. I will sit and rock an over-tired, screaming baby for hours, I will try to practice the alphabet and phonics and arrange neat play dates, and I will sit, cuddle and tickle all day long. But there is only one of me- and three of them. It’s the constant feeling of choosing one over the others, and therefore feeling more failure than success. I’m drowning in a sea of mediocre motherhood.
I’m trying to see this cup as half full.
While I can no longer “helicopter” as I once did, I know it’s probably healthier for my kids this way. Having that choice taken away from me is still hard. Good thing, being my third time around, I know that every phase is just a phase. “This too shall pass.”
Soon I will miss how desperately needed I am on ALL fronts. In a few years I might not remember how I forgot to eat for over 24 hours because I was so needed by all of them. Or how I felt selfish to just use the bathroom and let them all cry. And I hope I forget some of this. That will make my memories so much rosier, and then I will yearn for this time again.
But for now, I know it’s hard. And it’s okay. I’m okay. I might feel like I am hardly surviving this choking guilt of failing my children, but I know that I’m doing great at the same time. If all I do is love them, they will be fine. And so will I.