September 18, 2009,
M.M. asks from Sanger, CA on September 14, 2009
I Feel like a Bad Mom - Clovis,CA
I am a first time mom, I have a 17 month old daughter (biological ) and 15 and 16 year old step sons.. Who keep me on my toes to say the least.
I still learning in so many aspects on what its like to be a mom and a mom of hormonal teenagers, terrible twos and what not. Now, I always dreamt and thought of what it would be like to be a mom, and I love it. but heres the problem im having. I feel like im a bad mom. I feel like I dont have what it takes to be the "educating" "musical" "super mom" that I see so many moms being. I have a close friend who had her daughter 3 weeks before me,(their only child. so I think that energy and all effort can be put on her) and her daughter is doing Way more things than mine is. and that worries me, I mean my daughter isnt stupid, shes perfectly fine. she does to things. Shes very physicaly active. I just got off the phone with my friend and now her daughter knows like 10 Animal sounds, and all I can get from my daughter is "Kitty" every thing is kitty. I know I shouldnt compare, but I just feel like maybe im not giving my daughter all she needs. My husband is a good father, but I dont think we are on the same page with how I wanted to raise her. and communication sometimes doesnt happen because he feels that his boys turned out good, so why should he do anything different than what he did with them,, at least thats how I feel at times. So now I sit here almost in tears because I feel like because of me, she is not going to be as smart as she could be...
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So What Happened?™
Hello - and Thank You. First of all to the lady who was talking about "crack whores" and "mental ill" Mothers ... Why post unless it was just to make yourself feel better. - Grow up... Now onto the people who took out time out of their day to help a new mom with new emotions.. THANK You. It's nice to know that what I went though on that day was a normal feeling and a healthy one at that. After that day I dusted myself off and watched my daughter go and do some amazing things.I wasn't feeling sorry for myself, just I felt I wasn't teaching her non stop. But im glad I'm not. I am glad that she rather play with a bunch of her clothes and try every item on. (looking like a well dressed Rambo in so many ways lol) I am glad that my 2 step sons cant wait to play with her after school. Shes always laughing and having a good time. And that's what childhood should be like. Having love and laughter and learning on the way .... so Thank you to all the moms who sent me a "pep talk" and thank you ever so much for the time you gave me, It meant a lot to me. So Thank you Thank you Thank you - and God Bless!
A.B. answers from San Francisco on September 15, 2009
I don't know if anyone has said this, but I think 3 weeks makes a huge difference with kids that age.
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C.C. answers from Fresno on September 14, 2009
I don't care if your kid is actually the next Einstein, there will always be some mom at the park or the grocery store or play group who will brag that her little darling is only a year old and is reading War and Peace... in Russian. With the implication that whatever your child is doing, she is clearly not as brilliant. Moms like that should be taken out and shot.
Here's the thing. Your child is who she is. Celebrate that! As long as you are talking to her, playing with her, taking her for walks or reading books or playing with playdoh or whatever she's into right now... you're doing the right thing! There is no magic formula for raising the perfect child. You'll discover if you have another child that even if you do the EXACT SAME THINGS with that child, they'll turn out completely differently than the first. Our job as parents is to guide children and provide them with opportunities to be the best they can be. Now that my girls are a little older and are in school, I'm always amazed at how much they can do - and at the same time, how much their friends can do, too! My daughter is a great reader. Her best friend practically floats on air in their ballet class. They all have their talents, and they will all push each other to get better.
For now, try not to worry! You are a good mom, that much is clear from how worried you are as to whether you're doing the right thing for your child. Just allow her to be herself, and support her in that in every way you can. You are her biggest cheerleader! Don't worry about your husband. Some men have a hard time dealing with babies. He will probably become much more interested when she's old enough to play soccer, or go to baseball games with him. =)
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P.W. answers from San Francisco on September 15, 2009
OMG you are being way too hard on yourself. Remember the story of your daughter calling everything "kitty," it is adorable! and will make a great story when she's older.
My daughter, who excels in school, was behind her friends verbally when she was a toddler, and I worried a little. My youngest son could speak full sentences by the time he was 1-1/2. And they both had the same parents and we didn't do anything different with either of them. Kids are what they are, and unless you keep them isolated in a box, they are going to be who they were meant to be, and very little you do will change that.
The most important thing you can give your daughter is lots of love, verbal and physical. Next, spend time with her, PLAY with her, and listen to her. Playing pretend games and having fun with her is WAY more important than "teaching" her things.
Expose her to literature and the arts while she is growing up and she will do fine. But nothing has to be rushed. Enjoy her saying "kitty"!
p.s. - Don't know what different pages you and your husband are on - but men are typically way more "hands off", and that's okay. I have always been the more involved parent, and that was hard to accept sometimes, but my kids are fine, and don't seem to care that their dad's favorite activity is reading the newspaper. It's actually good for kids to have parents who do things differently, even though it annoys us moms.
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M.S. answers from San Francisco on September 15, 2009
My heart went out to you when I read your post. I want to send you a virtual hug because I've been in this very same place with both of my kids at one time or another (now ages 9 and 6). In fact I wrote in a Facebook survey once, "Despite the fact that I have two of the nicest children ever, I question my parenting every single day." And it's true. I do. I was extremely fortunate, I have great parents and I had an awesome childhood. My dad provided and my mom, despite working in the family business, got to be "a mom" and she was good at the whole domestic thing - and I'm so NOT. I'm told a lot by other parents/teachers how nice and pleasant and respectful my kids are to have around, so I must be doing something right, right? But still we all as moms question our abilities whether it's in comparison to our own mothers or to other mothers. And frankly, on some days I even say to myself, am I cut out to raise kids? Please know that you are not alone in your feelings.
I also have friends whose kids did all the toddler activities while I'd be at home or just simply taking my son to the park or I'd let him play in the gym daycare while I worked out or took him shopping - free stuff basically. For me to stay home with him we had to watch our spending and frankly those activities were money I could not justify. And he's fine. Less "structured" activities had no bearing on his cognitive learning. This is my child that when I'd try to read with him at bedtime would yell "no" or "later" or "play!" and run off. I was so freaked that I couldn't "read to him" like I did with my daughter. Know what - now he's like Mr. Rocket Scientist - I seriously didn't see it coming. He's in 1st grade and so far he picks up information like you would not believe - and quick too. And reading wise - I got his first reading log last night and he skipped a page and a half of books because he reads so well - the child that would not sit to read with mommy from age 1 -4. Every child is different and every child learns at their own pace.
My point is that it sounds to me like you are doing everything right - and doing what works for you. You are there for your daughter. She's active, you take her places. Once she gets to preschool, you'll likely see a very fast pick up of some of these things that the other little girl is doing now. And as she gets older, you can put her in sports and school activities that will increase her "structured" activities. And your family has an element that I'm guessing most of your friends don't have - teenage step sons. That makes for a completely different family life than a person who has one toddler. Please keep that in mind and try to give yourself a break.
I think our gauge of being a good mom should be more about the type of human beings we are raising. Is your daughter kind and considerate of others? Does she show respect to others and the earth? Is she going to grow up and be a productive member of society? It's probably hard to tell these things now because she's so young, but in time you'll know. You daughter does not need to be stimulated and educated every minute of every day - she needs to be a child and play too - she needs down time too. And it's been proven over and over that mom's need their own time too - being "supermom" 24/7 with no break for you is not productive for your family -- at all.
Just curious...are you part of a local mother's group? Many mom's groups have "play group" and other events that the group puts on that allow you to not only meet other like minded moms, but they get you out of the house generally for free (you pay a yearly due). I don't know where I'd be without the group I joined when my kids were little. And not everyone will be your best friend, but I have 2 very good friends from the group with similar parenting styles. It was very helpful for me when my kids were much younger. Just a thought....Good luck. And hang in there. :-)
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C.T. answers from Sacramento on September 15, 2009
I am not going to read the other responses until I post so forgive me if I repeat and also forgive me if I sound harsh...trust me when I say this, it is meant to elevate you as a mother. Your daughter is not a product and is not a mirror of you. She is not your self esteem and she comes before your ego.
Try to remember this. It will save you pain and truly help you help her learn and grow at HER pace. It will free you to get to KNOW her and listen to her cues and needs. If at this age in her life, you are comparing her sounds and babbles, I think you will struggle all of your parenting years.
What if? What if she is not as bright as others? She needs your love and devotion and pride all the more. What if she learns differently? Later, visually, or is interested in gross motor now..but what if she is different..this is about her, not you and it is THE HARDEST thing mothers and fathers learn...
I am guessing you will receive great advice on great stories about early bloomers and late but I am encouraging you to cut the ties to conditions..kiss her, sing to her, pray for her and enjoy her..Talk to her, listen to her and appreciate your time with her.
I also encourage you to build your own esteem up..but not base it on your mothering.
Mothering, even with the wee Einsteins, will pull your esteem inside out and wrap it over your head...
Take care of you as well..inside and out and love yourself enough that you break the comparing, to your friends, the lady in the store, online, etc..
There is a nice little book out there called Graceful Parenting..pretty enough to keep on yor desk..
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H.D. answers from San Francisco on September 14, 2009
No two children are alike, even within the same family! Your baby is unique, special and there is NO ONE like her! Don't compare her to someone else's child, please. If you play with her, hug her, love on her THAT is what is important! Not how many animal sounds she can make! If you are a stay at home mom then you are giving her the very thing she needs most....YOU. She is only one, give her, and you, a break! =)
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E.C. answers from San Francisco on September 15, 2009
More hugs to you - I've only skimmed a few of the other replies but I'll add another "You're NOT a bad mom - a "bad" mom doesn't care about the well being of her children and you clearly care about your daughter. And I'm positive that you want her to learn that trying her best and being honest, kind, and fair is more important than getting the highest grades or finishing first in every athletic endeavor . And one way to start instilling that sense in her is to start with yourself :-). That's right, mommy, YOU are valuable because of who YOU are, not for what kinds of developmental enrichment blah blah blah that you do with your child.
As moms, we're constantly bombarded with these super-achiever images that really mess with our sense of worth and our confidence in our ability to be good parents. Learning to put things in perspective now will help your daughter navigate the same paths when she starts running in to super-achiever kids in the future. We get so many messages about how we need to make sure our kids are academic, athletic, artistic, etc. but really, at the end of the day, would you rather have a kid who's got straight A's, athletic skills up the wazoo, is the envy of the entire school, but has an insufferably smug me-first attitude, or a kid who is making an honest effort and doesn't have the awards but *does* have the respect and appreciation of his/her peers and teachers?
When my girls are feeling frustrated that they're not as good as a classmate in one thing or another, sometimes I'll remind them that the Bible tells us that people judge by outward appearance but God looks at the heart, and that what's most important isn't that they're the best at a particular skill, but that they've tried their best and maintained their integrity.
So, in short, enjoy your daughter, delight in who she is, and trust that by providing her love and encouragement she'll flourish.... JMO but I think she'll also be better off than many kids with super-achiever families, because sometimes these kids wilt from the pressure of feeling they have to live up to a certain standard to be accepted by their parents (I saw this happen with one of my high school classmates)
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G.R. answers from Sacramento on September 15, 2009
I think every mom feels like this. If you are a caring mom, you want to "do it right." But that isn't possible. I am a pretty good mom, I make balanced meals, read stories, play music, do art projects, keep my little boy on a mostly consistent sleep schedule, and do laundry and clean the house. And I work freelance (more than fulltime when I've got work, parttime other times).
I love my son. Being a mom has really been an amazing experience.
Here's the catch: I would be a raving lunatic if my little boy weren't in daycare. And before coffee, I am really grouchy. Even with daycare, there are times... And I was thrilled when tv started holding his attention. There are times when I am overwhelmed. When I sleep on the couch thankful that he is watching Bolt for the second time that day.
What I'm trying to convey to you: there is no perfect mother. No one is happy all the time or satisfied that they are giving their children the best (or if that mythical creature exists, they must be deluded--I've got a dozen childrearing books that will tell them what they are doing wrong).
All that said, I think you might be depressed. It sounds like your marriage is heading toward trouble. The important thing to remember is that you are not powerless. There are steps you can take--work on communication with your husband, go to counselling for yourself, take some time for yourself. When you find yourself comparing, first realize that no matter how perfect whoever it seems, you don't know the whole situation. Then change the subject with yourself, no self blame or guilt, just think about something else. Let go of the guilt. That is energy better used to stare at the ceiling or take a bath.... Give yourself some room to accept your own parenting style. You are probably a better mother than you think.
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W.M. answers from Sacramento on September 15, 2009
Okay, so here goes. My two friends and I have three daughters all within three months of eachother. They have been growing up together for the most part. They are all now 20. The oldest of the three learned things first, walked first and so on. It made me feel bad because I thought mine should be doing those things and she wasn't. There is however a span of time when things should happen by-supposidly. The oldest of the three is very book smart, while the other two girls were struggling. They got good grades, but had to work a little harder for them. The oldest went on to a 4 year university and the other two are currently in jr. college. Whats funny about all of this is that My friend with the oldest child used to always call me and ask me commom sense questions. While she, like her child, was very book smart, she had no common sense what so ever. It made me feel good that she could come to me with questions about every day stuff, but she had to learn common sense things. Anyway, don't feel bad, just do the best that you can. Read her books, show her colors and shapes and later teach her how to write her name because they grow up quickly and won't be at home for forever.
If you have another child just remember no two are the same either. I have an under achiever, over acheiver and a special ed child. It's all in the personality.
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