Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mommy Guilt

Mommy Guilt: it's a real thing. Any mom who doesn't feel bad about something in relation to her children is either lying or hasn't been a mom long enough. I feel mommy guilt for different things in regards to all my kids.

For all three of them, I feel bad that I don't have more patience and creativity. I really don't enjoy doing craft projects that are geared towards littles, I don't want to deal with the mess, I don't have the supplies, so we don't do anything crafty around the house beyond coloring. Luckily, FKO is great about doing craft projects and sending them home so I still get the hand print turkeys and thumbprint hearts and whatever else they do so I can remember how small their hands were. I get tired and lose my patience quickly at times and then there's yelling and tears and slamming of doors. It can get ugly.

With Asher, I sometimes feel guilty he didn't have a longer time of being an only child. I was so tired and big during the last half of my pregnancy with Elijah, the few things I HAD been doing with him I wasn't anymore. He doesn't remember before Elijah was born, and that was part of our reason for having them closer together, but we seriously thought it would take a couple of months to get pregnant instead of the two weeks it took.

I definitely feel guilty that we're not able to help him with school stuff yet. He's so smart and reads so well, I think he's definitely ready for some kind of school situation beyond FKO but the headstart programs and public school pre-schools are all for at-risk children and he doesn't fit any of the criteria. He's eligible for a private school pre-school, but we can't afford that. So, I tell myself he'll have so many years of school ahead of him, it's ok for him to just go to FKO and be a kid for another year and a half until he's old enough for AISD's kindergarten.

With Elijah, I occasionally feel guilty for making him a middle child. I don't regret Eden at all, but Elijah has recently been acting out more and that's because he's old enough to understand he's getting less attention but not to really fully get why. He loves his sister, he just resents her presence. It's confusing for him so he acts out. Daily temper tantrums are exhausting for me and not great for him. I regret that I don't have more time to spend with him. I would do mommy-son dates with him, but he's so young, there's not much we could do. He likes to go to the park, but wants his brother there and I can't get up on the equipment to play with him. I plan to try to do something one-on-one with both boys as they get old enough to appreciate it and I hope that in the meantime, Elijah's personality and behavior don't get irrevocably worse. If they do, add that to the pile of mommy guilt.

For both boys, I feel guilty that I wasn't able to breast feed them properly. Asher was the worst of the two, but neither made it past 8 weeks of breastfeeding. I hated it, my supply was terrible, and it was frustrating for everyone involved. Switching to formula was great, but I still feel bad that I wasn't able to provide adequately for my babies. I'm so paranoid that history will repeat itself with Eden I welcome the frequent check ups for her heart because that means her weight is checked on a regular basis by medical professionals. We'll know almost immediately if something changes and can take appropriate actions. And if that happens, I'll do it...and feel guilty about it.

With Eden...well. In the hospital, I said I didn't feel bad or take personal responsibility for her heart because it's a fluke thing. Recently, though, we've learned something that's changed that for me.

My morning sickness is awful. Like, can't hardly function horrible. And my mom was getting married right at the end of my first trimester. I took to the MOPS facebook group and asked for help to get through the wedding weekend. A couple of moms recommended Zofran, an anti-nausea medication they'd taken during their pregnancies that their doctors had prescribed. I asked Mom about it, she looked into it and agreed it sounded like a good idea. I got some and took a few pills over the wedding weekend. It was amazing. It started to work almost immediately and gave me eight nausea free hours at a time. I didn't take it for too long, wanting to just use it to get through the wedding.

We found out last weekend that Zofran is the subject of a class action lawsuit over the fact that taking it during pregnancy can cause heart defects. Namely, four of the five that Eden has.

Now, we have no idea if those few days of Zofran are why she has holes in her heart or not. The swapped ventricles is not one of the things Zofran causes, so it's possible several of the other things were occurring anyway and the Zofran did nothing. It's also possible that the Zofran caused them and in a round about way saved her life (how messed up is THAT?) I haven't talked to her doctors about it yet but plan to at her next appointment.

But do you see what that all means? Because I was so sick, I took medicine that may or may not have seriously harmed my child and changed her life from something normal and routine to something scary and special. Without having the ability to know for sure, how could I NOT feel guilty and partially (or totally) responsible for her heart problems? Working in favor of it not all being my fault is the fact that several of her defects typically happen together, but still.

At the end of the day, all moms have some element of guilt. We feel bad that we're tired, we don't have the time we'd like, the patience we need, we don't take as much joy in our children as we feel like we should as often as we're told to. We have long days or hours with our children and sometimes want to run away or lock them in a closet but then later realize that they're just being kids and they have bad days, too. We moms just need to accept that some days are worse than other and try to do the best we can. Hopefully our kids will remember our love and that we at least tried to be the best moms we could more than they'll remember the yelling and screaming and door slamming.

We moms need to support each other, in spite of our different choices in child rearing. We need to cheer each other on, encourage and comfort one another through these messy, trying times. Its great to have someone to celebrate the little victories with, like FINALLY potty training a kid, or getting the picky eater to try something green.

Amy Poehler wrote in her book that she has a philosophy about life that I have adopted for myself in the Mommy Wars: Good for her, not for me. You want to make your own baby food? Good for you, not for me. You want to do cloth diapers? You want to eat only organic foods? You want to use pain medications and have your baby in the hospital? Good for you, not for me.

So end the Mommy Wars, which lead to the Mommy Guilt. Support and love each other and this parenting thing won't be so hard.

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