Do you mommies feel a sense of mommy guilt? Why do you think this is and what is the cure?
I shall explain:
When I was expecting Eden, I was completely happy about the idea of having another baby... especially another girl. Along with just adding to our family and life, I was happy for Maddie to be having a close in age sibling, and a sister to boot. I felt that it was in her best interest that she not remain an only child for long (not saying it would be wrong... just my opinion as I noticed her attitude of "It's all about ME!", which just about every toddler develops, right?). There were many things I did not anticipate that happened when Eden arrived and the biggest surprise to me to the strong feeling of guilt that I had. It's difficult to explain, but I will try.I felt overwhelmed at the idea that now three people (my two children and my husband) were relying on me so heavily. Each of them wanted ALL of me. I felt like I was being stretched farther than possible. I could not give myself totally to each of them all at the same time. Failing one, if not all of them seemed inevitable. I wanted to be teaching and training Maddie to obey better and just spend time playing with her and engaging her. I wanted to give Eden all the loving and cuddling that a newborn should have, plus nurse her as long as possible. And maybe the hardest of all was trying to give Seth all the attention and priority a husband should have and trying to be careful to not let babies consume our marriage. Further complicating my situation is the fact that Eden was born in May. Why is that significant? I'm a youth pastor's wife. The late spring and summer is a very very busy time for us. Tiny little Eden came along to youth conferences and outings, and was just fine. If you've ever nursed a baby while standing up in a bathroom stall on the thru way rest stop, you MIGHT be a youth pastor's wife! ; ) Honestly though, it all felt like trying to divide up a raisin into three servings that would fill each person. I knew in my head that this feeling of guilt and not being able to satisfy every need presented to me was illogical and unnecessary but I could not shake the guilty feeling, which I have dubbed "Mommy Guilt". It plagued me strongly for about 3 months, during which time I muddled through and did my best to be everything each of these three special people needed of me. The guilt subsided a great deal as Eden got older and I felt that we were adjusted to our new family size. I was back to giving Maddie one on one time, and was able to lavish more attention on Seth. I still did have some guilt about not having the time to cuddle and snuggle with Eden as much as did with Maddie. The guilt is not overwhelming any more but it still does arise periodically.
This subject has been on my mind recently because in conversation with other moms, I have gotten the impression that they too feel Mommy Guilt, especially as new members are added to their family. It makes me wonder if mommies of large families feel this way when bringing in their 8th, 9th and so on child. I hope to have a big family as well and I wonder if I will feel this way when I have our 3rd, 4th and more, Lord willing. If I felt so guilt ridden with just two kiddos, I certinaly hope not!
While in the hospital waiting room yesterday as I tried to sneak at peek at my brand new nephew, I had a conversation about Mommy Guilt with my father in law, who is also my pastor. He knew exactly to what I was referring because my sister in law had just been in tears about how she would be able to care for her three older boys, one of whom is still a baby, and her newborn. My father in law is old school in every way.... common sense practicality oozes out of him, and sometimes that is just foreign to my female, "touchy feely" brain! ; ) He told me that he is baffled by the young mothers today who seem to all struggle with this nagging guilt. When my in laws were bringing up their house full of children, guilt had never occurred to him, and not to his wife either because they've discussed this trend as they observed it in young moms. They just hunkered down and did right by them. Period. What's to feel guilty about?
Sitting in that maternity ward as we talked on this subject and others concerning family life, I thought "I do not believe this man has an ounce of estrogen in him." *sigh*
This evening I brought it up to my husband and... well. He doesn't get it either. It's not his fault. Again, serious void of estrogen.
Do you think estrogen promotes guilt like it promotes breast cancer? Hmmm. Someone should do a clinical study on that!
So please, give me your in-put. Is this a generational thing? Is it a wrong philosophy thing? Is hormone therapy the only cure? Maybe you do not experience the guilt that I'm referring to? Why do you think that is?