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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Guilt And Other Things

Miles & Ella "talking"

It’s been two months since Ella was born and I’m finally starting to feel like the fog is lifting.  Going from one to two kids is quite an adjustment for everyone in the family.  You have to make physical, mental and emotional space for this new little being.  There are days when that’s easy and days when it’s not.  So I’m trying to take it all one day at a time.

For Miles, not being the center of attention has been difficult. He likes babies and was interested in his sister from the beginning, giving her kisses, saying “hi” and wanting to hold her.  Then he realized she wasn’t leaving and that our attention was split between the two of them and that’s when started acting out with us. He got very needy, clingy and whiny.  He also noticed that we tend to Ella when she cries....so he started crying more. “Crocodile tears” as we say in Panama because it’s just for show.  But what an annoying show!  He’s been testing our patience, that’s for sure.  Then he caught a cold which turned into an ear infection, which turned into a second ear infection and then bronchitis.  Kid was sick for almost three weeks!  And the cold spread to all of us in the house, including Ella.  But now that we’re all feeling much better, I think that Miles is getting used to the idea of having Ella around. He still wants more attention all the time.  He whines and cries and throws little fits, but he is also starting to act like a big brother. When Ella is in her swing, he wants to swing her.  When she’s in our laps or on the floor, he gets down to her level and “talks” to her.  Every night before going to bed he gives her a kiss goodnight and he gets mad if we don’t do the ritual.

As for Ella, she is a sweet little thing who cries when she has a reason and takes the world in when she’s content.  She seems very comfortable around Miles, with all his yelling and carrying on and she doesn’t mind that he sometimes pats her a little too hard on the back.  It’s very sweet to see their relationship starting to form. 

For me, splitting my attention between my two kids, my house, my husband and myself has been the hardest thing.  I end up having so much guilt over everything!  I’m guilty if I spend too much time with Ella or too much time with Miles.  I feel guilty if I leave them with a babysitter so I can have some free time.  I feel guilty when I’m working and don’t want to come home to deal. It’s like I can’t win, no matter what I do I feel guilty.  Until today, that’s all going to change today. 

You see, I’m tired of feeling guilty and the last thing I want is to turn this into a horrible pattern that I teach to my children.  I want them to be self assured, open, curious, empathetic, free.  I don’t want them to be second guessing themselves and feeling a need to be perfect in all areas of their lives.  I want them to live, experience and learn!  So my first order of business is to stop judging myself. If I can give myself room to make mistakes, learn and grow then I will be a much better role model for my kids.  And a much happier person!

The second thing I’m doing is making my time with the kids count.  I know that the more sleep I get the better mother I am.  So there are days when I won’t be able to handle both kids with patience, but I won’t feel guilty about it and I will enjoy the days when my patience and joie de vivre are tantamount.

And the third thing I’m doing is setting aside quality time for myself and not feeling guilty about it!  I deserve a little break, I deserve to get my nails done or take a nap or go out with my husband or sit an watch TV for 3 hours and I shouldn’t feel bad about leaving the kids with someone else so I can have a little me time.  I am a good mother, but I will be a great mother if I can rest and remember why I love my life.

All of this is easier said than done, I know that.  I’ve been experiencing it and that’s why I am taking it one day at a time.  As with anything difficult in life, that’s the only way to get through it. 

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