Two Too Many?

Sometimes I wonder if I'd been better off sticking with one child.

Don't get me wrong. I love both of my children with my whole heart, body, and soul. But sometimes I feel as if I'm gypping them of the mother I could be if I weren't pulled in so many different directions. If I only had the time and energy focused on one, and not both.

I fondly look back at that first year and a half with my son and wonder if our relationship would have been different if I waited to have a second child. Or just had one child. He was mine and my husband's whole world and I absolutely loved spending every single minute with him.

I felt like a good mother. A great mother some days.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter my son was only 13 months old. I was excited, nervous, and hormonal. But I knew I could handle it. If I was a good mother to one I could be a good mother to two, right?

I happily went along throughout the whole pregnancy with this idea that being a mother to two would be hard but doable. People do it all the time. They even have more than two kids. Why couldn't I? Friends and acquaintances made it look so easy.

And then my daughter was born.

I felt as if I couldn't figure out how to spend time with my son without having my daughter right there with us. The alone time I thought I'd get with him each week to continue building our relationship was focused on my daughter. With her lack of interest in the bottle I was basically "tied down" to her until she started solids. And even then we had issues since she didn't care much for purees and other foods.

My son started to bond more and more with my husband, mother-in-law, and aunt-in-law and he started needing me less. Our relationship really started to change and I wasn't his world anymore. I was the parent who took care of the crying baby. When he got hurt or needed anything his first reaction was to turn to my husband. And while normally I would have been overjoyed at this response, I took it as a silent stab at my heart. My son didn't want me.

But I moved past these feelings and continued to move forward. When my daughter was 6 months old I quit my 9-5 job and became a WAHM. Weekdays were just the three of us. I made sure to get out to playdates a few times a week, attempted to keep up with the housework, and tried to keep the kids on some sort of schedule.

But I was failing. 

Even though I wasn't working outside of the home anymore I felt as if I were being pushed into so many different directions that the basic needs of the family weren't being met. I felt like a bad mother. And I felt as if others could see it too. The good mother image I had when I only had one child was being replaced. With what? I wasn't sure exactly.

I didn't have many people to talk to and felt as if I were being shut out because of the image I created. Happy mother to one who could handle it all turned to over-scheduled, unavailable mother to two who shuts everyone out. And looking back on everything, the fact that I had no one to turn to was my own doing. I didn't put enough energy into the friendships and relationships I held so dear.

Maybe I just didn't want to feel as inadequate as I thought I was. I didn't want to see the perfection in others that I thought I should have. But in hindsight I realize that I was kidding myself to think that everyone else was perfect.

Throughout the past few months I've found myself trying to get back in touch with the person I once was. To find a balance in my life. But I keep coming to the realization that the balance I am craving just isn't going to happen. I need to find an alternative. And I know I've blogged about this before. Or maybe just talked about it with friends, but I feel as if I need to write this down. To be accountable for my feelings.

I've started to change the way I view a "good mother" and am working on trying to become a good mother once again. I just keep coming back to the thought that maybe I'm in over my head. Maybe two children are just too many.

I absolutely love my kids. As I've said before, they're my whole world now. And I know how precious this time I have with them is. However I think that I have cared too much about the mother image that I've grown lazy when it comes to actually being one.

I might have to add that I've written half of this post after having two glasses of wine so my words might not make as much sense as they do in my head. And my original concept for this post might have gone out the window with the second glass but...

Being a mother to two is nothing of what I thought it would be. I honestly thought that the ease in which I found motherhood the first time would reappear when I had my second. But adding a second kid is a whole other game altogether. And now I'm finding myself doubt my abilities a heck of a lot more.

I think maybe the focus on the image of motherhood and not the actuality of being a mother was where I went wrong. I heard about what a "good mother" I was from so many other people that I didn't want their image of me to change when I started to struggle. The front that I gave as a woman in control was just that, a front. And now I have to deal with reality.

And now as a bottle of wine has been emptied this post falls to an end. I will begin again tomorrow as a new week starts and I'll attempt to be the mother I wish I was. I will try to remember that the pressure I feel to be a good mother is only placed by myself, no one else. And if the pressure to be a good mother comes from anywhere else I'll just have to ignore it. And trust that my instincts as a mother are enough for my children. Both of them.

Are you a mother to two or more? Do you ever feel as if you're in over your head with two?


14 comment(s) with love:

Kecia said... Reply To This Comment

This is the biggest reason that I am torn about having more children!

We have a 19 month old, and he is our world. I feel like if we bring another child into the family, he would only get 50% of my attention - maybe even less right at first.

And then there's the 2nd child - who would never get 1-on-1 time with his/her parents like his/her older brother had.

Sometimes, parenting one can be a struggle for me (thank you PPD that I think may have turned into something more) so I can't really imagine having a second one. Kudos to you for being a mommy of two!

Sorry I can't really offer advice, but still wanted to comment with my similar thoughts/worries.

East9thStreet said... Reply To This Comment

I can't offer advice either as I only have my almost 3 year old (my step-son is 15 and lives out-of-state) but I do know that growing up with 2 siblings and parents who both worked outside the home on different shifts, the time we had together on the weekends was most important to me. Hang in there mommy, as long as your children know you love them, all will be right. Hugs!

Amanda said... Reply To This Comment

Ill just say this. I have yet to have finish the laundry piles I started before I went back to work..... in January! This is why we own a lot of clothes ;)
I feel ya mama. Two is not twice as hard, its 10 times as hard! And Kenzie is my "easy baby" HA! I figure ill find the balance e between it all again eventually. For now I just have to keep my head above water er laundry ;)

Kari said... Reply To This Comment

Just for the record- you are a fantastic mommy. You may feel that it is a front but I can see the way you treat them, talk to them, and all the things you do for them and you are, no doubt, a great mother.

Also, E would be asserting his independence and lessen his reliance on you/strengthen other relationships at this age anyway. So don't fault yourself for that!

You have a lot on your plate. But make the best decisions for yourself and your family about where your time should go- and everything else can wait. That's what I am having to decide for myself right now.

You could never imagine life without Miss M so imagining life as a Mommy to one is pointless! You are a good mom, every day, even when you don't feel like one.

CinnyBBS said... Reply To This Comment

I think it a tough decision. I don't have kids yet but argue with my SO a lot about how many kids we want. LOL, I grew up with a sibling so of course I want my kids to have a sibling but he was an only child so he always argued for the sole attention theory. I now have 2 dogs. I got the second one because we felt that the one may have been lonely by herself but I am in way over my head in terms of the amount of work I have to do to take care of them. But you know what? They bring that happiness and joy into my life that wouldn't exist if they weren't there so its tough but I still love them and don't regret it...LOL, most of the time, that is.
Whirlwind of Surprises

Mariah @ FormulaMom.com said... Reply To This Comment

Thank you for your insight because this is what I think about often these days. My friends are starting to get pregnant with number two now. I know I'm not ready yet but we're thinking about in a year or so. Some days I'm all about it and other days I wonder if my little man is enough. I guess we just go with our gut and do our best!

Mariah, Formula Mom

Dixieland Deals said... Reply To This Comment

I have four children, my youngest was 8 when I got pregnant with the 3rd one, I had mixed feelings about starting over with the diapers etc, again after the first 2 were 1/2 grown, but the second he was born, I knew it would all be worth it! When he was 9 months old I found out I was pregnant AGAIN,... but this time the wondering about what I was doing, didn't come along with the positive pregnancy test. I look back on it, and actually, the 2nd two were easier than the 1st 2. I was more relaxed with them. Now that 3rd one will be getting his private pilots license AND drivers license this fall, and #4 starts high school next year. (where DOES time go??) While #1 is in his 3rd year of college going for a degree in physics and #2 just got married last month. Enjoy every second you have with them while they are young. The time will be gone before you know it!

Ashleigh Walls said... Reply To This Comment

We have just started discussing how many more children we want. I will definitely be thinking bout how I want to spend alone time with each of them now.

Shawna said... Reply To This Comment

I worry about having another child myself. I have a 2 year old (who will be 3 May 28) and she is our only child. I'd like to have another but then again I think she would not get 100% of my attention if I did. On the other hand I worry about her being an only child and not having a sibling to play with and talk to. If I do end up having another she will at least be 4 when I get pregnant. That way she gets those 4 years all to herself.

Deanna - Mommygaga said... Reply To This Comment

I have two, and I must say that you are right on with the "pulled in so many different directions". My son is 5, daughter is 1, it's getting better as they are able to play together more and my daughter doesn't need me at ALL TIMES.

I am sure you are doing fine. Every moms routine is different, you'll establish yours!

Colleen Lanin at Travel Mamas said... Reply To This Comment

Of course you feel overwhelmed. Of course you feel like you are not doing it right. But that's just an illusion. You are doing just fine, and so am I. Your kids don't need a perfect mom, they need YOU.

Laural Out Loud said... Reply To This Comment

The first thing you need to do is let the house go! Lol. I have two kids, and just could NOT do it all, so I decided not to! The thing I gave some leave to was the house (I do clean one room per day, so at least it's clean on rotation). Now that my baby is 2, things have evened out attention wise. And my oldest learned some really invaluable skills in how to entertain herself. Just do what you can and let the rest go, and it'll all work out!

Mary @ The World Is A Book said... Reply To This Comment

I am a mother of two (9,7). I feel overwhelmed all the time especially after starting a blog that seemed to have taken a life of its own and working full-time outside the home. I wish I spent more time with my kids when they were younger so for now, just cherish every moment with your little ones. Those times are what all of you will remember. Hang in there!

Joann Woolley said... Reply To This Comment

Oh my goodness, I could have written this post myself. I had nominated myself for mother of the year when it was just Amberly and I... things got tougher with a second baby and having them super close in age. Then I did it AGAIN! As you've described, being pulled in so many directions, no matter if it is WAHM or potty training, or getting to doctos appts... when you have the responsiblity of raising another human, the pressure is great. We can get through the tougher times knowing we are not alone when we feel "in over our head." Thank you for your honest post.