Monday, February 15, 2010

Picking Up the Slack

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.


  1. I was thinking the same thing as I was reading your first few paragraphs: you gave them siblings...they don't miss much when they are surrounded by siblings, cousins and friends.

    Mom guilt is a killer. But YOU are doing an amazing job with your kids. try to drop the guilt and enjoy.

  2. I think thats more of a western societal guilt than mom guilt. Its why people don't like the Duggars and other large families. They think we don't love our kids and shove them off on their siblings to have more. I don't think any child needs complete undivided attention at all times by the mom. My eldest was showered with my undivided attention too and of all my kids she is the most spoiled and materialistic. IMO A child that grows up with siblings to help them, to share with them, and to play with is a better well rounded person.

  3. Mommy-Guilt is inevitable, isn't it? I've been feeling guilty regarding my 2nd. She's the middle-child, you know. My oldest demands attention ~ she's always been that way, and my youngest is just a baby, and is very needy, and my poor Kenners, she's stuck in the middle of it. So I purpose to give her my undivided attention when she needs it. But you're right, God provides help where we need it. In the form of siblings or other family members. How wonderful!

  4. I used to feel the same way...until I realized that the younger kids are more resourceful, less demanding, more apt to play by themselves, and more likely to take the intiative to accomplish goals or projects. Now I think we actually did a disfavor to those first 2 by staring in their faces all day long! :)
    I have a friend who has 7 kids..I asked her if she feels guilty because she can never split herself 7 ways...she told me she pays more attention to all that she IS doing, than what she's not. And your kids are warm, well fed, with 2 loving parents, and loving relatives, and a mom who adores them and spends as much time with them in their home as she can right now.
    You can tell your kids are happy!
    Just look at that Maggie! :)

  5. since i have no kids yet.. i feel i can't totally say as others do...


    it seems to me that you are an awesome mommy... and it also seems to me that those kids of yours know it too!!

  6. What a great post! Your family is adorable! I have mommy guilt and I only have 1 child!

  7. You have such a beautiful family! I felt the same, though we only have three so I can imagine those feelings continue on. However, there is such fun in having siblings! I am sure yours will always look back and remember their time with you as precious and fun. :) And melt my heart that your oldest was reading to your youngest! What an amazing sight to see. Warm fuzzies!


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