Here is a guest blog post from April Payne on the guilt some mums may experience when they have their second child, or as my mother-in-law used to say double trouble.
If you’re a parent, you have already experienced different forms of guilt. Sometimes it feels like it comes with the job description. When I gave birth to my second child, Jessica, just 16 months after having my son, Robbie, my guilt went into overdrive. When you bring home a new baby to her sibling, sometimes that means double the guilt. You feel guilty about your older child…What are you doing to your little best friend? Are you taking away his mummy time? Is he simply going to feel like a helper to you with the new baby?
If that’s not enough, you will inevitably feel guilty about the new baby. Your latest addition will have to be toted all around, regardless of her nap schedule. You can’t devote 24/7 to reading every book on sleep and poo like you did for your first.
Tips to help ease the guilt:
This is an opportunity for your older child. Your first born will get the chance to share her toys, your attention and the family’s space. This is not such a bad thing. These are valuable lessons for her to take into school and beyond.
There are perks for the baby too. Your newborn will grow up in a world where people share and take turns. Many parents say that the second child is naturally more easy going than the first. And you won’t have to read a book on how to make that happen! Your youngest child will have special time with you once your older child starts school. And he may even be more appreciative of the time you can give him because he instinctively knows that mum has lots of jobs.
You can be more flexible to make your life easier. What does it matter if the baby naps in the car as you drive your eldest to football? Isn’t it a good thing that you put less pressure on yourself about a perfectly tidy house and pat yourself on the back for making it through the day?!
Walk away from the guilt gremlin. If guilty feelings start creeping in, remember that these negative thoughts don’t help you find an extra hour in the day. Mothers are notoriously hard on themselves and all the angst still doesn’t get the laundry done.
Feel it and move on. Every parent feels guilty at some point. Just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean you are guilty. Your children are lucky to have a parent who cares enough to want the best for her children.
And from a mummy on the front lines…
“When we first brought my newborn son home, I felt guilty about showing him too much affection in front of my daughter. I was afraid of how my little girl would react. But then I realised she would actually learn to love her little brother –and learn so much more—by watching me love him. Instead of giving in to the guilt, I got the chance to watch her love for her baby brother grow as I fell head over heels for him.” Danna, mum of Lahna & Liam
April Paine is an American living in Norfolk with her British husband and two children. She is the co-author of The ABCs of Baby #2, now available on i-tunes, kindle and Sony Reader.