It's not about the baby

Y’all, I am freaked out.

For about a month, I’ve known that I’m pregnant and due in December, and I just cannot freaking believe it. I am still in shock, and I’m still not at the point of happiness.

It’s not about the baby, himself or herself. I’m sure he or she is lovely — I’ll find out in six months or so.

I’m just freaked out about having FIVE kids. Five.

The truth is, I’m overwhelmed by four. I don’t think I’m very good at this; I yell more than I should, I don’t give any of them enough individual attention, I’m short with them, I spend too much time online, they’re growing up in SQUALLOR. This parenting gig is hard — I totally GET why people only have one or two.  (Well, as an only child, I would have preferred a sibling, but I get it from the parent’s point of view.)

Basically, I feel like with each kid I have, I have become less effective as a parent. I certainly become less “gentle” as a mother, which is what I strive for in my parenting. (Although I give myself some credit for breastfeeding my fourth child for a year; for cloth diapering #3 and #4 and this one will be in cloth; for switching to organic; for being a better nighttime parent as I’ve gone along. I’ve gotten better at some things. But I’m still not even close to hitting the target on many many things that pain me as a mother.)

Yes, this is mommy guilt talking, as well as tiredness and of course the old standby: pregnancy hormones. And I think that in real life, it sounds like its about the baby — but it’s really not. It’s about me, of course (isn’t everything?)

I visited my friend Heather this week for a few days. She blogs at It’s Twinsanity. She has two older boys, and then two sets of identical twins. Her husband is deployed. For those counting, we had, between us, a total of ten kids ages seven and under — seven kids ages five and under! Anyway, she totally LOVES her life with her crazy amount of children — and actually wants more! I felt bad because I found it very overwhelming — and I find my own life overwhelming — and I can’t bring myself to enjoy something when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Is that normal? Maybe I need to just act and not think — which is what I saw Heather doing. She just did the 3252532532 things that needed doing every single day without taking the time to think, “wow, I am really feeling overwhelmed at this moment.”

I need to do SOMETHING about these feelings I’m having — they’re causing a kind of psychological inertia about both my current life and my future life with five kids. I’m distracted. I’m filled with a lot of thoughts and feelings.

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6 Responses

  1. Totally get it and understand… But I got no advice.
    If you get any good tips, throw them my way!

    [[HUG]]

  2. First of all, relax. You are a better mother than you give yourself credit for. The fact that you even CARE whether you’re a good mother is evidence enough for me that you ARE.

    Second of all, you don’t need to worry about a fifth child adding chaos to your life. You have chaos already, and you are handling it. Maybe it’s not perfect, maybe it’s not serene, but it’s what you have, and it’s OKAY. The kids will be fine, and you will do what really and truly NEEDS to be done, and the rest? So what if the house isn’t clean? I always say (since giving up myself, lol) that a clean house is a sign of a boring life.

  3. I am the 3rd child of five kids all within 7 years – which is similar to what your family will be at the end of the year. My mom didn’t have the “luxury” of staying home with her brood.

    Don’t you feel luxurious?

    I feel like my mom did the best she could but would have loved to have her home with us everyday. Your kids are LUCKY. (All five of them) Imagine what your life would be if you worked outside the home!!! So much for grocery shopping – and forget all the home cooked meals you make. Every weekend we were running all over town getting the pantry filled. (I don’t even think that box clubs existed) And we ate many frozen pre-cooked meals that I would never feed my family now that I have read the ingredients. It’s true that we didn’t eat out very often but in retrospect I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

    You are gonna be Okay! I’ve seen you in action and your brain will catch up with your body soon enough. Just keep on keepin’ on because that’s what you always do for your kids!!

  4. First, congrats on baby #5!

    Second, if you’re worried about not being a “good enough” mother, it generally means that you are doing a pretty good job! It’s those moms that don’t care how their kids look or what their kids eat or any of that stuff that you have to worry about.

  5. Did you really just use the word “y’all”? OMG, you’re becoming a southerner like the rest of ust!

    Hon, (I’m southern, you know!), it’ll be okay. You are a great mom, and yes, being a mom is hard, but the fact that it’s hard for you doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. Quite the contrary, it means that you work hard to be better at it, and thus ARE better at it. (((HUGS)))

  6. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I feel overwhelmed by mothering a lot of the time too–I think it is because I am a “highly sensitive person” and need downtime/alone time to regroup and recharge and kids don’t allow as much time for that as my personality really needs for me to be my “best.” I also think there is a difference between feelings about *mothering* and feelings about your *children.* One is a relationship and one is an institution/cultural construct (read Of Woman Born by Adrienne Rich). I like the actual children much better than the institution!

    Re: your friend who does millions of things without thinking. I think that is a personality thing too, not necessarily a superior “skill.” I have a friend with 8 kids who said to me once when I said something about being “busy”–“well, it’s good to be busy. Then you don’t have time to think.” Um. Excuse me? I LIKE to think. I think thinking is of value. I like my own company in my own head. I am introspective and always have been. It has served me well. Thinking is a good thing–an unexamined life is not worth living! (though, an overexamined life is also not worth living!) So, I think people have different strengths and I predict that this friend of mine may also be a woman who goes on to say after her kids are grown, “I don’t know who I am anymore” (because she’s always been “too busy” to think about it).

    I have other friends who say they “love chaos.” Well, I hate it. So, does my dad. I think it is genetic. It doesn’t make either of us bad parents, it means we need a peaceful environment and don’t thrive as well in a hectic one!

    Okay, this is more than I meant to type, you just prompted some thoughts!

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