17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Is it ok to want to go back?

On Sundays, I don’t let my kids watch television. They are only allowed to watch the made-by-the-church videos (Joy to the World, Restoration etc.), or home videos.

Since Poopy is turning two in a few months, the last two Sundays we have been watching the videos of when Pukey was 2, just to see the similarities and differences between them, and what we have to look forward to (or not).

So, last week I found a group of videos that were of Pukey (my firstborn) at about 18 months to 2 years. I watched those videos and even though I don’t look very different 3 years later, I didn’t recognize myself. I feel like a completely different person now. I feel older, more experienced, more tired, slightly more mature. I feel challenged, extended, like I have been through the ringer.

This week we found the videos of Pukey when she was two to almost three years old. There was one video in particular of the two of us just being us. We were cuddling, singing, teasing, kissing, and you could just see our relationship so clearly. It was totally beautiful. I did recognize those feelings and they are still very real and very raw.

Then I realized that time has made those moments fewer and far between. One might blame it on the fact that she will be 5 in just a few weeks. However, in watching and reflecting, I blame it completely on the birth of my second child. Disclaimer: I love my second child. It’s just, that having Poopy complicated everything. She took away my attention from Pukey. She is demanding and energetic and bright and vivacious, and a lot of work.

When I sat down to watch Pukey at 2, when it was just a family of three, I expected to have these feelings:

“Oh, our family just doesn’t seem complete without Poopy.”

Instead I felt: “Man, I wish we could go back to just the three of us.”

This was unexpected. And of course, what follows is the guilt. Does anyone relate?


  • Yes. But what I miss are the days when my youngest was the only one home with me. The older kids were in school and it was just me and my 3 year old. We'd do all kinds of things together---go on hikes/walks, run errands, etc, and it was so fun to have one-on-one time.

    One thing you might want to try as your kids get older is mommy-dates. I did that when I had to go back to work fulltime. Every weekend I'd take one kid out on their own to do anything they wanted, like a movie, but they often just wanted to go get some lunch at Burger King. The kids loved the individual attention, and I loved the one-on-one time.
    posted by Anonymous Susan M at 2/26/2007 07:04:00 AM  

  • Get ready for some psycho-analysis for ya!

    I think it's totally normal to have feelings like those. Every stage, whether it's "the college years" or the "just the two of us" years are filled with great memories and special experiences that could only happen during that time.

    Every time you bring a new member to your family the dynamic changes, it's like your family has to become something new, and the balance of attention has to be redistributed.

    Wanting to revisit those eras of our lives is completely normal- I think if you were extensively dwelling on that and not appreciating the stage you are in now- that would be unhealthy. But to have monents where you wish it could be just you three again is totally healthy and fine! Memories sometimes make us sad...I think just because we know we can never have it exactly like that again. But that's okay!

    I think a special just the two of you date is a great idea.. we like to do that too. And remembering to take the time to really give her the love and attention that is sometimes easy to forget.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 2/26/2007 08:42:00 AM  

  • No psychoanalysis here- just relating.

    It's because it's so darn hard with more than one so young.

    Don't feel guilty, but don't tell Poopy, either.

    The mommy-dates Susan mentioned do help- I enjoy my kids one-on-one so much more than when it's gangbusters.
    posted by Blogger tracy m at 2/26/2007 11:21:00 AM  

  • I absolutely think it's okay, unless you find yourself fantasizing about, or living in the past too much (as a way to not deal with the now).

    I mean, aren't there times in the past that we all think about??? I only have one baby, but sometimes I think back to when it was just me & DH - how easy it was to go on a date. Or when I was single and had just moved to NYC - that was a great time, too. But would I want to go back in time??? No. But the are good memories, and maybe the more people we add to our life the more complicated it can feel. But obviously we can also be more blessed.

    Maybe you just feel extra guilty b/c it has to do with one of your kiddos. I can see that. But don't let it get to you.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 2/26/2007 01:09:00 PM  

  • When I got pregnant the second time, on accident, I almost had a nervous breakdown. I experienced every emotion that could go with such jolting news. But mostly I was PISSED! I was so angry that my time with my first born would be cut short. She was only 10 months old. My plan was to wait to have number 2 til number 1 was about 3. I wanted to selfishly enjoy every moment of having one child and I was totally aware of those feelings. I actually have thought about going into my journal and tearing out those pages of my feelings when I found out about number 2. But I am not ready. He is 15 months, the love of my life, and I still feel some of those feelings. Bottom line, life is grand when you have one child. It is so blissful and easy. When more comes along part of the plan or not, life is forever changed! And all you have are videos of that simple time! You are not alone!
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 2/26/2007 05:08:00 PM  

  • I can't believe I am going to reference Oprah, but in a show this year they discussed the guilt of moms...Here's what was said,

    Dr. Robin says that before you let guilt bring you down, take a step back and see how your family feels.

    "Guilt and having remorse, regret, is really in our lives to teach us not to torture us," she says. "You want to learn, 'What did I need to do that I didn't do? How did I neglect my needs or neglect my child?' … You can experience deprivation as a mother and thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm ruining my child.' When your child, if you are attuned and connected to them, feels full and empowered."

    Gotta Love Oprah.
    posted by Blogger trimama at 2/26/2007 05:47:00 PM  

  • I appreciate you putting this out there. I am so fearful of getting pregnant with number 2 because I love having my entire day and attention devoted to number 1 right now. What if I dont love #2 as much (I really don't see how it's possible to love someone as much as I love #1 - but then again, I never thought it would be possible for me to love a child this much, so theres hope)? What if I am bitter towards #2 because they are taking time away from #1? What if I am bitter toward #1 because I can't devote the same time and attention to #2 as I did to him because I have both.
    I know everything will work out. I know I will love #2 just as much and that I will figure out how to be a mother of two just the way I have figured out how to be a mother of one. But it's good to know ahead of time that these feelings are 1. OK and 2. possibly not going away once #2 pops into the pic.
    I really like the idea of mommy dates.
    Also, I was flipping through the channels the other day and your episode of Runway Moms was on Kage. The end scene where you and Pukey are singing and playing with Poopy is awesome. I think it captures part of your and Pukeys relationship and how it has turned Pukey into a great big sis.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 2/27/2007 09:11:00 AM  

  • I really identify with Zinone on this one - both of our kids are 19 months apart and #2 was a little unexpected for both of us. I got pregnant with #2 when #1 was 10 months old and it took me 4 whole months of that pregnancy to feel happy and OK about it. I was angry that my time with #1 was being cut short. It was hard holding him because of my belly (and he wasn't a sturdy walker yet), I couldn't climb all over the playground equipment as he got a little older because I was prego - things like that. Always tired or sick. So I didn't really enjoy his early toddlerhood because I was growing/birthing his sister.

    But the funny thing is, I hardly remember what it was like to just have 1 because I only had one child for a very short time. #2 is 2 1/2 now and #1 can't remember life without her in it. We can't remember our family without her in it.

    If anything, once in a while I miss the days when it was just my husband and me - dates were easier, our time was our own, we could take a trip at the drop of a hat. But I just glance back over my shoulder at those memories - I wouldn't change a thing right now.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 2/27/2007 10:09:00 AM  

  • And it really is much easier with one. I didn't soak it up and appreciate it while I had it! So enjoy it, parents of one - it's a whole different ballgame with 2+!
    posted by Blogger chloe at 2/27/2007 10:11:00 AM  

  • A while back, the bedtimes of #1 and #2 became staggered. I thought about trying to get them back to the same time, but I realized I really loved the time every night alone with #2 to read and cuddle and talk without having to deal with crazy younger sister. Things are indeed simpler without multiple children.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 2/27/2007 02:30:00 PM  

  • My "difficult" child was my first. I think that those who had a harder 2nd child commonly miss the one easy child scenario. Don't worry. Its normal.
    Things may actually change in future years. Perhaps your oldest will be the difficult one for a while.
    I think you need to remember that having siblings blesses the lives of your children. One on one child raising has its benefits, but its drawbacks too. Be grateful that they have each other. Realize that the only way to give your children siblings is to parent more than one child at a time!
    Benefits of siblings:
    They learn the world doesn't revolve around them and their wants and needs.
    They have each other to play with....its not just other adults.
    They have someone else to learn from.
    They have someone else to love them.
    They have someone with them when they get babysat.
    They have someone with the same shared memories.
    They have someone to share the grief when they lose a parent, or share the burden when a parent needs help.
    If you were still in happy, easy parentland with just one child, you would miss out on the benefits.

    I happen to think 2 year olds are HARD!!!!
    I highly recommend trying to have one child at a time activities. It really helps me with my relationship with my kids.
    Also, try to relax and "enjoy" your children just a little more each day.
    posted by Anonymous JKS at 2/28/2007 02:55:00 PM  

  • This is sad, but I can't even remember when I didn't have multiple children. I do remember that I used to make quilts for my kids and loved ones and teach ESL part time.

    Kage, I don't remember feeling that regret when the second child came. I do know that the dynamic of many children keeps getting better and better. It is great to see them looking out for each other and becoming real friends. My childrens job chart includes giving Mom a hug because sometimes we forget to slow down and cuddle.

    Life for us has become about helping each other. Example: 10 year old S had to write a report in cursive. She printed it out, but didn't know cursive. But, 8 year old sis H did. H wrote S's report in cursive and then S copied it all. By the time S was done, she had learned cursive. This was a 20 hour process where they both stayed up late and got up early for several days. (the report was only 8 pages of cursive but had a learning curve).

    I am not the only one filling the needs of my children anymore...as they get older they comfort and support and play with each other. Even the twins have others (older sisters and a brother) who are often taking care of them and playing with them. I guess, this is why we sacrifice and have more than one child even though at the time we question our sanity when they are all young.

    I didn't have a video camera until the twins were 9 months old (about the time they started crawling) I regret that I don't have moving picture of the other 4 kids, but they are in every movie now with the twins..they don't know life any different.

    Note to Rachel H, your sister in law is my good friend and we danced at her studio. She is a wonderful person.
    posted by Blogger Shaleen at 3/02/2007 09:57:00 AM  

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