Mom guilt is real and it is constant, at least in my experience. I feel guilty about everything. For not giving my son, Morris, ALL organic food, for getting mad when I should have been more patient, for being too lenient, for letting him have too much screen time, for not playing with him enough, for not allowing him to be bored, for him being bored and so on… it’s exhausting. For years I felt guilty about not being able to give Morris a sibling. Most recently my mom guilt revolves around dividing my time and attention between my two babes equally.
Morris is turning 4 this year and until our daughter, Rose, was born this past December, he basically had my undivided attention. Now he has to share and not surprisingly he doesn’t love when he is told no to something because of his sister. When she was first born the bratty attention seeking behaviour from Morris was terrible (i.e. licking his hands and wiping it on things/people). I realized quickly that I had to do something to stop it. Here are a few things that have worked for us.
Ideas to decrease Mom guilt:
- I spend an awful lot of time breastfeeding. Instead of telling Morris I can’t play with him during this time we either read books or play a game that we made up. I ask Morris questions and open a draw bridge (an empty wrapping paper roll) for him to go under when he’s correct. He loves this and isn’t annoyed when Rose needs to eat.
- Morris helps with Rose- bringing me diapers and giving her back her soother when she cries. He also helps with cooking and cleaning. Spray bottles with water/vinegar/essential oils are super fun for kids, apparently mops are pretty awesome too! With some, “you’re a great big brother” or “you’re such a good cook/cleaner” praises and thank yous Morris is happy to help.
- Morris has had to become more independent, getting himself dressed while I get myself and Rose up and ready for the day or ready for bed – so we time him and he tries to beat his “world records” each time. He can get into his pjs in 54 seconds 🙂 Timing him works in many situations- how fast can you clean up those toys? grab me a diaper? find your sweater? etc etc.
Is the mom guilt gone? Of course not. I am very much open to any suggestions anyone has in this area. I still worry that Morris will feel that his sister eats up too much of my time, and there are a million other things I feel guilty about, but this has helped.