The Happiest Mom had a great post last week on the subject of parenting Achilles' heels. We all know Achilles, the mythological Greek warrior taken down by his one weakness...his heel. Meagan has a theory that we all have a parenting weakness.
I think moms often have our own versions of the Achilles’ heel. Those little issues that get under your skin, even if they don’t seem to bother anyone else. The things we’re most sensitive about, worry the most about, spend the most time defending to ourselves or justifying to others.
If you would like to see Sarah the Sensitive Mother on full display, you need utter one simple sentence.
"You know you would NEVER have done that with Griffin."
Just ask my mother (frequent utterer of said statement) how quickly I start defending myself. The excuses, the defenses, the arguments flow freely at the mere mention of inequal treatment between my children.
We all want to give our children what we had or better. As an only child, I had all my parents' attention all the time. It was awesome...as a child. There is a lot of anecdotal (not to mention scientific) evidence that suggests being an only child is great for kids. You don't fight for attention or time or resources. However, as an adult, it is less fun. It's a lonely place to be sometimes and I worry about shouldering the entire burden as my parents age.
Ultimately, it was something I didn't want for Griffin. I wanted him to have siblings. People who knew what it was like to be my child, grow up in our family. People who shared his history, but also could be a part of his future.
However, I still feel guilty that he doesn't always have my undivided attention anymore. I feel guilty that poor baby Amos NEVER had it. When Amos was born I pushed myself so hard to still be everything for Griffin and everything for Amos, I almost pushed myself into a depression. I had to adjust my expectations and for the most part I have.
If I'm being brutally honest, there are things I do differently with Amos. Amos drank formula way before Griffin. Amos didn't eat months of freshly prepared Super Baby Food—mainly because Amos refuses to eat ANY baby food but still. Amos has gone to Mother's Day Out two days a week from the beginning where Griffin only went for one. Amos doesn't get three or four books read to him before bed every night.
I don't think there is a major shift. The parenting issues I felt strongly about with Griffin I still feel strongly about with Amos, but at the end of the day there is less room in my life for philosophy. Rhetoric has folded to reality.
I think the reason I react so strongly isn't because I secretly feel I should do things differently. It's because what I hear when someone says that is "You don't love Amos as much as you love Griffin." I know it's crazy but it's true. I also know the effort I put (or don't put) into Amos's diet isn't reflective of how much I love him. I know that Griffin is thriving without my constant, undivided attention.
I know sometimes it's not how many books are being read but who is doing the reading.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland