I was talking to an awesome mom of six kids recently, and we were discussing all of those parts of being a mom that cause us to have Mom-Guilt. It's pretty much inevitable....if you're a mom, then you have guilt. It's sort of like being a Catholic, and having guilt due to sin. Except that when you're a Catholic, you can go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, confess your sins, and have them completely taken away! With Mom-Guilt, you confess your fears and shortcomings with other moms and (if you're lucky) make changes to ease some of the guilt.
For me, one of the biggest sources of Mom-Guilt is not being able to spend as much time with my 3rd and 4th children as I did with my 1st and 2nd kids.
John-Paul, being the first born, was given so much attention every single day. I would play with him for HOURS, read to him, teach him, cater to his every need, and keep him near me all the time.
Once the second baby came along, I couldn't devote as much time to each child, but as a stay-at-home-mom, I was still available to them all day and night, and we still played and read for hours each day.
When the third child came along, our budget was soooooo tight that it was necessary I go to work part-time. My sister was able to watch the kids for me while I worked, and I watched hers in return on the days she was in nursing school. So now, there were days when I wasn't even at home with my kids, and then on the days I was at home, I had even more children in the house, which made me feel like I wasn't giving anybody enough time and attention.
Then the fourth baby came 14 months after the third, and I was so busy with so many little people (the oldest being only 4). Never mind playtime with the kids, I was struggling just to change diapers, nurse babies, feed and clean all of them, and try to keep up my house. Then my work wanted me to work 3 days a week instead of 2, and Saturdays during tax season. For financial reasons, I had to do it.
This is the state of life I am still at, except that the boys are in school now and only Maggie is at home everyday. But I feel so guilty about sending little Eamon to preschool, and leaving Maggie at family or friend's houses. Then, when I'm actually at home, I have so many chores to do that we barely spend time just *being* together.
Just the other day, I had been complaining to Phil about how I used to read story after story to John-Paul, but can't remember that last time I really read a story to Maggie. And then, guess what I saw....John-Paul (6) reading a book to Maggie (2)!! It melted my heart and made me realize that if I am doing the best I can as a mother, God will send someone else to pick up the slack. Whether that be in the form of a helping husband, a friend who is willing to babysit, or a son who plays with his sister.
Will I still have Mom-Guilt? Of course! But I do know that one of the reasons I am stretched so thin is because I have so many kids, and it's precisely because I have been blessed with so many kids that someone is always around to pick up the slack.