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I Feel like a Bad Mom - Clovis,CA

Hi,

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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What can I do next?

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!

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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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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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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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Hi M.,

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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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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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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M.:
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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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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M.,
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.
W. M

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Hi M.,
I feel the same way all the time. I have a 3 1/2 yr old son and a 18 mth daughter. I feel he got to do way more at her age and spoke faster. I feel I don't give her enough time because of having 2 to deal with. All my friends little girls take dance and are having recitals and I fell like i need to get her into things. I beat myself all the time but you know what my kids are happy and don't know any different. Beleive me they do things at their own pace and will not be behind kids their age. I stopped worrying so much about other peoples kids and just try enjoying my kids and how cute they are at this age!
You spend all the time you can with her and enjoy her because they grow up so fast. My son just started preschool and didn't even cry when i dropped him off the 1st day. She will be fine and your a wondeful Mom or you wouldn't be so worried about her!!
A. C

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If we don't feel like a "bad mom" now and then, then we are a bad mom. It is totally normal to think that you could be doing more, but is it really logical? Heck no!
Every family dynamic is different, and trust me when I say "someone else is envying you" as we speak. What we all see on the outside is not always what is really going on.... so just dont judge a book by its cover.
You sound like a great mom to me, your daughter is only a year old, don't make her a pawn for YOUR peer pressure. Just love her up and let the family dynamic do it's thing. Her daddy will come around when she gets a bit older, trust me she'll wrap him around her finger by the time she's 3. Just sit back and watch the changes and smile. It will all work out just peachy!

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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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You've already gotten great advice but I'll add mine as this is an area I struggle with too. Some people have their kids in so many activities and we don't because I want them to just be kids and learn to play on their own etc. But of course I question it when Susie next door can do cartwheels and my older daughter can't yet. But I always think to how when we were kids, there wasn't this focus and we all learned to do cartwheels. I've read these kids who are in so many activities to teach them etc actually don't do so well later. But more importantly, while I CONSTANTLY hear about everyone's "gifted" children and it bugs me, I keep reminding myself that even gifted people have their troubles later in life. Being gifted does not automatically mean they will make more money or be happier. I have seen so many instances of friends who were just good versus excellent students doing much better in their careers than the super star ones. And money doesn't buy happiness anyway. The way I look at it, anyone who thinks their child is "all set" because they can count to 100 by age 3 is jinxing themselves. Who knows that can happen over the next 18-20 years. My husband's son was a superstar, his mother was the envy of the neighborhood and then he developed a serious mental illness in college. So you just never know and it's not all about how much you do or don't do as a mother. Kids are who they are. It's like someone said, siblings can be so different so how is it the parenting? End goal is for your daughter to be happy and that is different things for different people.

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I do not think you are a bad mom, in fact, I think it is a good thing to let kids experience life instead of cramming them with useless tricks that make us feel like super-moms. If you have a moment in your busy life, I recommend reading "Blessing of a Skinned Knee" to gain bigger insight and understanding into what super-moms can do to their children. I caught myself in the act, wanting to give them every advantage can be a huge disadvantage. Good luck!

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I just want to reiterate the responses I have read. YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM! My 2 year old gets a lot less of the one on one stuff I did with my 12 year old. He is fine, and he is learning different things that she did.

And, I know that you want to do right by them. But the fact remains that you are not going to be perfect - the realities of life are that bad things will sometimes happen and sometimes you will lose your cool. You have to accept that it is another learning experience for them, because not everyone in theri life will be perfect so they need to know how to deal with imperfect people. They WILL experience heartbreak at some point, no matter what you do or don't do.

Your friend is very excited about what her child is doing. Share her joy and share the wonderful things your daughter is doing with her. Learn from each other. You are different from your friend and your girl is different from hers. Laugh and cry together when you need to. Neither one of you is better than the other.

Your husband has never had a little girl, so some things may be a shock to him. I can't think of a book title but there are books about fathers and daughters that maybe your husband should read. He is not necessarily wrong, but his experience with his sons (and a different wife) may be different from his new situation. And you have to realize that moms and dads ARE different and his interactions with his daughter may not be the same as yours and that is okay.

Now, take a deep breath, and remember that you are blessed. Hugs to you...

Hi M.,

You are a good mom. You are there for her, right? You feed her, right? You read to her. You walk with her. You teach her about the world. It isn't about what other "appear-to-be-super-moms" are doing that is important. You know your own child's needs, plus you have both ends of the spectrum here: a baby girl (toddler) plus teen boys. More power to you and may God bless you. On another note, keep in mind that it isn't always dad who does the "teaching". He may also have to adjust here to fathering a little girl as she goes through her many growing stages. Oh, and PUHLEEZE don't join the moms who do too much or go to every event just because they feel they need to BE somebody. You are someone very special to your kidS. Each time you feel the need to compare, take some time for just you and her and forget about all the "shoulds" and milestone criteria. Just relax and enjoy. She will have her own needs and you can assess them with a teacher or professional as and when you wish. Then, all of the sudden, "POW!", she'll start talking up a storm or say just the thing you want to write down in that journal you sleep with. Hugs to you.

T.

Maybe you need to branch out and meet some other moms. You may consider your friend to be close, but maybe a little distance will help your realationship. She sounds a bit competitive and not sensitive to your needs.

Your not a bad mom and I am sure your daughter will turn out just fine. Kids learn at different speeds. Your daughter needs to learn at her own speed and enjoy being a baby. Don't worry about what your friend's child is doing. It all evens out, some kids are good and sports and some at reading and some at math. We all have our strengths and weakness.

“Its been a rough road but I have gotten past it all and I am happy and blessed with the family I have now.”

“Here I sit almost in tears”

M.,

One thing that might make you a better mother to all the kids in your family is to stop differentiating between your “biological” and “step-sons”.

If you know you shouldn’t compare your child’s progress to other people’s children, why do you keep doing it? Many kids in the same family walk and talk before their siblings do.

There are plenty of things you could be doing to stimulate your child’s learning skills, books, kid’s story time at the library and book stores, videos, play time with other “babies”. Your daughter is just a baby.

I would also recommend you get on the same page as your husband. This does not mean you both agree 100%, it means you discuss things about ALL the kids, work together/stick together and make compromises.

If you’re truly as "happy and blessed" as you say, don’t create problems where none exist.

Blessings…..

You are not a bad mom! Babies learn and progress differently. There are no two that are advanced and/or not advanced the same. My son is now 3-1/2 years old and was in speech therapy for a year and I never felt that it was because of something I did or didn't do. He has progressed greatly because myself and my husband chose for him to have speech therapy. Alot of people questioned 'why' we were doing because "he's only 2" but we knew it was best for him and have no regrets. And now, our daughter is slightly delayed with her speech so she is having the same thing.
You cannot compare your children to others or yourself to others.....that will make you nuts!! Just know in your heart that you are doing your best for your child and always do that.
Best of luck to you! I think you're doing great =)

You know, I think that is a feeling that is more common than we realize. Becoming a mom is a huge step whether you have step kids or not. I am also a step mom to two kids and a first time mom myself and I can't tell you how many times I have felt that way. I am always wondering am I doing the right thing, am I doing enough, should I be doing more, etc. I am always guilting myself on what I think i'm not doing. I know I am not a "super mom" but I think there tends to be pressure for us to be. I know how frustrating it can be when you feel like you're not doing enough. But we all have to accept that we each have our own limits to what we ourselves can do. We also have to accept that our children have limits as well. They will learn at their own pace and each new step will be just as exciting to watch. I've seen this with my kids. My step daughter is currently in the advanced program. She always picked everything up so easily it seems. While my step son seemed to be delayed. At first we felt like we had to teach him everything that his sister learned at his age and make sure he knew it, but he would just get frustrated and we would get frustrated. We started to feel like maybe he was degressing instead of progressing. After awhile we let it go for a while and now he is picking it up all on his own. His test scores all say that he is right where he needs to be. This was a great lesson for me and I always try to remember it when I feel upset with myself for not being better with my own son. I still go through the letters and shapes and colors and numbers with my son. But instead of insisting that he knows them the first time, I just let him remember in his own time. It's less stressful that way for me. And although I still don't feel like a "super mom"(and I probably never will) I can take comfort that I know i'm doing the best I can. I wouldn't worry to much about you're daughter, she probably has learned more than you realize and she will continue learning as she grows. Don't get to hard on yourself over what you are and are not doing. There's so much focus on that these days it's no wonder we all feel bad for not being super. I would just focus on what you can and what you are doing instead of what you aren't. Take comfort that you are not the only mom out there who feels the way you do and remember each time your child gives you a hug or a snuggle, you are a super mom to them.

HI,
I just wanted to offer some encouragement and an online hug. we all feel like bad parents sometimes, as had as that is. As for your daughter's development, please do not worry! all kids develop different skills at different times. they have verbal, motor, and social/emotional areas of the brain that develop at different times. for example my son didn't learn how to climb out of his crib untill he was 3 1/2, where as all his friends were climing out at 2! my friends daughter didn't start speaking untill way after all her friends. my friend was worried, but her daughter just developed verbal skills later (she was one of the first crawlers, though!) perhaps if you can take a step back you'll see some things your daughter is doing that your friend's child hasn't mastered yet. babies are just little people, and we know every person is different, right? I hope this offers some comfort.
L.

It's so hard when other kids are doing things that your child is not. Whenever I see other kids, I think to myself, "What could I have done differently?" Try not to compare your child to other children, although it is very difficult! It's perfectly natural to think that we are bad parents. HOWEVER, you aren't! 1) You are concerned about your daughter's well being. 2) You were an instant mom when you got married, which is a challenge in itself.

Each child develops on his or her own time. You have a little girl who is great physically. Children who are very physical at an early age are not as developed in language. It's ok. Language will come. Continue to read and play with your child. If you have have time, try teaching her sign language (classes are availible, or a video like Baby Signing Time, although I understand the want to stay away from tv.) or take her to a music class (all of course when the boys are in school). It's a fun way to spend time with your daughter. Both will help develop language and communication skills.

Hi M.
First of all YOUR DOING A GREAT JOB keep up the good work
I am 31 too. I have 4 children ages 13 12 10 and 8
2 boys and 2 girls
first of all Stop comparing yourself to other people wrong thinking next your friend has ONE child you have 3 Big Difference trust me I use to compare myself to others to and you know what it got me nowhere I got depressed sad that I'm not as good as them then one day I realized something My kids has love they have a family someone that wants to play have fun so what if the other kid knows more I will tell you everyone is different and my kids now are awesome kids I have 2 football players and I basketball player ENJOY YOUR ALL 3 OF YOUR CHILDREN
the one parent I know very well had one child and let me tell you he was spoiled didn't know how to share or play he didn't know how to be a kid Be your Self and have fun your daughter is going to be just fine
God Bless you
Danielle Mom of 4 wonderful children

Stop beating yourself up. Its not too late to start taking a little more time with your daughter. Get some books either at the library of buy some. She only needs 15 to 30 minutes a day to start learning more. Also, if she goes to preschool she will learn all she needs to and really catch up. Start her on using scissors and glueing paper. Standing on one foot or hopping. These are the kind of things they start learning in preschool, Motor skills and letter recognition etc. Don't be upset, just start now. there is all kinds of fun learning tools out there. Google something since you have a computer. Take care!

Hi M.,
I'm sure you're going to get a ton of excellent advice about appreciating your daughter for who she is and not comparing her to others, so I wanted to mention something I noticed in your letter-- you say you husband is not 'on board with how I wanted to raise her...' really, even if you're a stay at home mom and he works full time, this should all be about you both want to raise your daughter, since she belongs to both of you. As a family therapist, I would recommend that you focus on becoming a parental unit with your husband, so that almost everything that has to do with your kids comes from 'we' even if it's 'we don't agree, but we have decided to do....'
Good luck!

You are getting a dose of the mommy bragging sessions. Try to avoid them at all costs. I am sure your daughter is fine. Moms love to gush about their kids (we are all guilty of this) and sometimes we can forget that it sounds like we are trying to raise our kids above other kids. And you will find that there are parents who specifically set out to do this...avoid these folks at all costs.

yes, those bragging friends will always make you feel so!
The most important thing your daughter needs from you is your love and support AND CONFIDENCE. So, be kind to yourself. When anyone makes you like you are not good enough - find words of wisdom to comfort yourself. What would an imaginary perfect mother of yours will tell you? She will say that life is no competition, that showing your smart at an early age does not predict being smart latter in the development, and that your daughter is lucky, because she has you, and you know best all about her. "Kitty" and 1 year of age is pretty good!
Just talk to your child. play with her, love her, get closer to your husband and may be learn something from him. Or at least get to a point that you enjoy the fact that there are 2 parents and 2 good ideas about raising a child.
You under a lot of pressure - a baby, a second marriage, being a step-mom to teenagers. That is a lot. Don't let friends who need to get her confidence up to get you down.

I have many personal story to tell you my experience with such friends, but the bottom line: connect back to your knowing you are a great Mom!

D. Orr
daliacoachesparents.com

You are not a bad mom. I do not have any children of my own (not yet) I have 2 step daughters ages 4 and 10. Here is my though: All kids are different, they all learn at different times and levels.
I too used to think that my youngest step daughter was not at the level of other kids. It seemed like she didn't even know what noise animals made, no cat meow, no dog woof, nothing. No matter how much we would say a cat says meow or a dog says woof, she didn't get it. I could hardly figure out what she was trying to say to me.
My niece just a couple of months older than my step daughter was talking, she knew so many animal noises. I was actually scared.
Then I met up with my cousin, who's daughter could count to 20, who new colors and shapes and noises. Oh I thought for sure there was something wrong with my step daughter, she was not smart.
But then a few months later....wow she knew these things. I'm sure her being in a daycare setting with other kids and the great daycare provider she had helped. But it just seemed like over night it changed...she didn't know and then she did.
Don't stress out. Every kid in different. Just keep doing what your doing. Your daughter will be fine.

ME TOO. I think we all feel like 'bad moms' sometimes because "other people's children" are doing competetive sports, reading at 2 years old, singing, dancing, and my 3.5 year old likes to play in the mud and my 7 year old draws at home on construction paper. my kids know they are loved and at this time we do not have the time schedule, or the money, to do all the extra. and i love that my little one spends more time laughing and spinning around in circles than memorizing words on paper.
It sounds like you are doing your best, and are VERY loving. be proud and have fun with all of the kids.

Relax!!!! She's only 1. Both my kids, now 6 & 7, were the last in our playgroup to learn to walk and talk. Now, they are both bright, athletic and socially well adjusted. You have to stop comparing your child to other children. Here's what you do have control over. Read to your child nightly (this has a huge impact on their verbal, comprehension, creativity and writing skills). Second, balance and coordination will happen on the playground (sports, waste of time until age 5 when they can actually follow directions). Animal sounds....not important but if you really want her to learn then...sing Old MacDonald to her when you give her a bath. By her some kids music CD's so she learns to love music. Andy Z...my personal favorite (andyz.com).

Oh M.! Please please be gentle with yourself-- you are not a bad mom!! Your daughter is getting everything she needs from you: love, affection, interaction, role modeling, etc. You do not have to be a "Supermom" in order for your children to do well (I'm living proof of that!). There's way too much pressure in our society to raise these high powered kids who are off the charts achievement wise and there are way too many products out there that supposedly help. You are doing a great job-- the fact that you care so much shows that. Your daughter will appreciate having you as her mom because that caring will come through to her. Just do what you can but don't stress about it. Just interact with her-- as long as you talk with her, sing songs even if you can't carry a tune, and play with her (even if it's just while changing her diaper or clothes) she will grow and develop. Try to relax and take care of yourself too, because she'll love having a de-stressed mom and you'll be able to enjoy her more. Believe me, I know how hard it is not to compare, but you have what it takes to be a super mom, even if you don't feel like "Supermom" all the time.

be well and take care of yourself too!

P

there are many online recourses that describe expected development for infants and toddlers, as well as what activities are appropriate. calling everything kitty is a normal aspect of language development. all kids are on their own timeline. my first daughter hardly talked at all untill she was 18 months, but could delicately hold a leaf between her thumb and forefinger. my second talked from 10 months on (nonstop-and still going at age 5) but used the fist grab until she was 2 and a half. what i am saying is, it is difficult to compare toddlers, they will all be different. if she has words, normal play, and can request stuff at 17 months, she is probably fine. google "developmental milestones" and put your heart at ease!

First off I think you should give yourself a break!! Mom's now days are way too hard on themselves!! I know it is hard to not compair you child with other children but, try hard NOT to get sucked into that trap! You will only make yourself feel bad. Each child is unique and will learn things in their own time and own way. I feel you are right that with your friend only having the one child there is more time and energy to devote to just the one. When I had my first son I had lots of energy and time to devote to him. When my second one arrived, four years later, I started to feel guilty of not having the time I had with my first to devote to my second. My first was going to preschool, then kindergarten, first and now second grade. It took a lot of work on my part knowing that I am doing the best with what I have. The "learning/teaching" I was worrying I wasn't doing enough of for my second is now being filled in by my first! Canyon loves to read to Austin and Austin would much rather listen to and play with big brother than mom.

Try to keep the lines of comunication open with your husband. Men are just different then women and they don't see things the way we do. Don't fault your husband for this it is just the way men are. When my husband anoys me I have to try to keep in perspective that is it something I am just taking the wrond way or is it something I need to think about and approach him about later so as not to hurt anymore feelings and to not put blame on my husband. Times are too tough right now to start a fight and we need to lean on eachother now more than ever. So making too big of a deal about things is not worth it.

Maybe you could try to get your step son's involved with interacting more with your daughter. It is amazing what the younger ones learn from the older ones!

Good luck!

Hello M.: As the mother of 5, the foster mother of several who came with what they had and that was little,the only thing they wanted was to be loved by someone and given a foundation to grow upon. I was a foster child myself for while as well. I am Nana to the cutest cuties 12 at last count, on the planet. My husband and I actually went to the prom together a million years ago.
Let me WELCOME YOU, into the world of MOTHER HOOD. It is the only place that we can second guess our second guesses and still beat ourselves up and loose---- or feel like we are on top of the world becasue all the pieces fit *& all at the same time.
I know that as a mother I was scared spitless-- having been the eldest of 10 one would think that I had a clue- So Wrong! I was responsible for everything noone to help or pass it off to.. My husband was a great hero and I am glad that he was wise as to what was important and what wsn't because it made my measureing myself against others easier.My mother in law helped in so many ways to teach me, and set an example and after 40 years is still teaching me. I didn't have a birth mother any place in sight.
I was famous for staying up all night until all the things on my list were done & of course I served on every commitee I could with 5 kids that wasn't hard to do, so I had many lists.
I just knew that my child that had medicl problems, the one with learning disabilities was going to fail because I hadn't done enough... Believe me no one did more than I and today
he is a success. If you are concerned that you aren't doing enough then check and see what you are doing well and pat yourself on the back!! I have a friend that has empathy for everyone - not me. I have a friend that is a scriptorian and wise and full of compasssion. I am compassinet but I have to spend hours looking up a scripture topic I JUST KNOW IT"S THERE!!. As for the things that you want your child to learn-- take every chance you have and use it as a teaching moment. I keep colors and items in my car so that when the babies are with me I can say RED, then show red items- until they get it. Change things allthe time. Use play time to teach about cylinders, circles and things. My children learned that the Nestles Quick came in a cylinder container. Teach you little one how to read and measure with a tape measure. I read a lot of Dr. James Dobson, as my cheerling squad. I am a firm parent with strong values and high standards and all of the children that have lived here and have come back to be apart of our lives know that there are no strings with our love and acceptance. So what if her daughter can call the whole jungle, your daughter can call the kitty to love and cuddle with. Get toys that teach the things you want not what the neighbors what. That is a loosers game. Keeping up with the mystical dream is not going to make your reality happier.
Learn and teach your child and your boys sign language. It is acceptable as a language for acceptance to college and a great way to communicate when you don't want others to know what you are saying!!!! Your boys can be part of it as well, make it a family event of learning!!. Little children that are deaf learn it right away and show that off.
You said thatthis is your second marriage, Are you sure that you have healed from the mess of the past?? You know that this is a 2nd marriage for your husband as well-- don't compare yourself to the xwife-- make her your friend and talk to her and even get advice if you need it. My father was married 5 times,never could figure out why they didn't all go out to lunch together and see what each saw in the man!! If it is self esteem issues you are concerned with then please work on your own and give the kids all of them an example to follow.
Do you realise that some children just want to be children not little enstines! Instead of any television keep animal planet or discovery channel on, keep music of all kinds going to increase her love of music. It is all about your child right now and the two that you took upon yourself when you married a man with children. May be he is right unless he mase a fatal flaw in the older 2 then he might not want to change-- we learned that with each child we had to adapt and to change because they didn't have the same personality sometimes not even close. But they are friends today and they have a family foundation and moto: We are part of the family and I will do nothing to screw up the family name and honor". Believe me that laundry won't run away, the ironing will wait for you, (this one took a long time to learn) paper platesreally are a life saver. Take them all by surprise and use china when a big event comes along. But you daughter a toy flute or recorder, or the one you blow in and move the stick in and out to get the sound. I put out the pots and pans and woooden spoons and let them bang for music. Give the child a happy learning experiance and you will have a happy well educated child. LASTLY------ of course your friend is thrilled about her child, avoid her for a month and see if you can reuild what esteem you need. I have sat each daughter and daughter in law down and given them the" mother lecture"-- if you can cook one cupcake at a time, if you can still identify what the toys are and they aren't broken , if your family is loving and kind THEN YOU ARE THE PERFECT WIFE AND MOTHER!!! Iwish yuo luck, The adventure into parethood is full of twists and turns but it is the greatest thing that I have ever done and my proudest moments---at the time I often wondered what I had gotten my self into. But I'd change nothing. I love all the children to much. Contact me if you ever need to, Nana G You little one will grow up and me something special someday -- maybe a mon=mmy & have these same questios that you do.Nana G

Hi M. - I totally understand where you are coming from. Sometimes I feel the same way. Here are a couple of tips that always make me feel better when I start getting down on myself: 1) Focus on you and your family. It is useless trying to keep up with the Jones's 2) It doesn't matter what your child is doing now, saying 1 word or 100. What matters is what college they will eventually be attending 3) Children learn at their own pace. My thoughts are I will teach my child to the best of my ability, but I'm not going to force anything because this is literally the only time in their life they can have fun and not be pressured. 4) My friend who is a private school teacher told me that as long as I continue to teach my son stuff like "look at this, it's a yellow banana" or "look at the brown doggy" etc. he will be just fine. Kids soak up everything and are constantly learning! I would recommend a good preschool too where she will learn so much more from people who specialize in child development. Until then, enjoy this time and work with her to the best of your ability! Good luck and keep your chin up!! : )

Dear M.,
If I had a dollar for everytime I felt like a bad mom, I'd be rich. I think we all go through feeling like that at times. As a single mom, I have felt like I never did a really great job of balancing work and home, my heart broke all the times my bosses wouldn't let me off to see concerts and awards ceremonies for my kids at school. I felt like I was letting them down. But, the truth is, I simply couldn't be in two places at once and I had to work to provide for them. I wasn't a bad mom, I was busting my butt to keep a roof over our heads and be able to buy them clothes and things they needed. It was hard to see other kids have things I couldn't give my children monetarily, but you know what? I gave my kids a whole lot of other things and I raised two of the nicest, kindest kids anyone could ever meet. I look back at all the times I felt guilty and realize that I was doing the very best I could and my kids knew it and loved me all the more for it. And, no one can ever take that away from me.

We can't compare ourselves and our kids to others. It's a waste of time and energy. It's hard not to do it, but if you think about it, we don't want our children going through life comparing themselves to others either. We just want them to be the best little people they can be on their own individual terms. I have a girl and a boy born 10 years apart and they are as different as night and day. My niece has twin boys. Not only don't they look alike, they are two complete different personalities. One is already crawling and the other one has no interest in it yet. One is moody and clingy and the other one is all smiles and happy all day long. They were born at exactly the same time but couldn't be more different if they'd come from completely different parents.

Children learn by parents reading to them, singing to them, playing with them, walking with them and discovering things like leaves and rocks and laying on the grass and watching the clouds roll by. They learn integrity and happiness and confidence by being allowed to be who they are. They learn those things from parents who are confident and happy with themselves no matter how bad things get or who has what or does what that's different.

Talk to your husband about your concerns and communicate on your goals as parents. Also please know that children who have a mom and dad with two very different parenting styles can learn the best from both. My mom was very strict and very methodical while my dad was very sensitive and a deep thinker. As a result, I can kick butt and run a very efficient business operation with no messing around and yet be very compassionate, sentimental, and tender hearted.
Your daughter is still a baby. Enjoy this time because trust me, it flies by. My precious baby daughter will be 23 next month. She's on her own, she's doing great and she loves me. She doesn't even remember all the times we struggled. She just remembers I was always the one who loved her and somehow gave her all the things she truly needed.
Give yourself a break. Love your kids and your husband and know that you have the power to give them all they need in the time that's right for each of them.

I wish you the very best.

M., you are in a club of people just like yourself! I doubt that there is any mom in the world who hasn't felt, at least a few times, like she's not capable of doing the job correctly. You said it yourself, you shouldn't be comparing your daughter to other kids. What you might want to do, however, is to observe how other mothers interact with their children and see if you can pick up clues that you can use that will help your daughter achieve some of the skills more quickly.
Having said that, I'm going to go over my list of things a parent should be doing on a daily basis: 1 - read, read, read to her... And as you read, give her time to enjoy the book, and interact with the story if she wants to. 2 - Talk with her. Have conversations. I feel there is a difference in how many adults talk with children, and have defined the differences as talking 'to' the child... giving out information, but not engaging in conversation, talking at the child... this is more in the line with giving out instructions or reprimands again without conversation, and talking with the child... having a conversation more like you would with an adult friend and giving the child time to respond while you intently listen and give meaningful feedback to what the child is saying. At your daughter's age her speech development my not seem like she's saying much, but if you are observing her well, you can pick up her meaning, even in baby babble, and respond so that she gets the idea of what conversation is all about. 3 - at least one family mealtime a day with her included fully in your conversations at the table. It's too easy for us as adults (and you have four in your family who will count in the category for this purpose) to just talk around the little ones without including them in the conversation. Talk with her about her food, what she's eating and give her help verbally when she's having trouble handling her food. Talk with her about other things too. Let her know that she's part of the family and included, not just a cute little kid to be enjoyed or tolerated. Take a daily walk with her and as you walk, talk about things you see on the way. Let her stop and enjoy things that attract her attention. Use this time to also teach her safety instructions. We let our grandson, who is just turning two, run ahead a little way and give him verbal instructions such as "stop when you get to the yellow" (the grating at a crosswalk) and when he follows those instructions he gets a "good job" from us. If he doesn't follow and instruction his discipline is having to hold our hand for the rest of the walk, because we have to protect him and keep him safe. Of course you will want to pick an area to walk where you and your daughter can safely do this sort of thing. If you can't walk out on the street, maybe just do similar activities in your own backyard. 5 - and perhaps this should have been number one, don't tolerate a lot of 'baby talk' with her. Once in a while a cute little word here and there doesn't hurt, but most of the time just talk to her as you would anyone else. She's not a puppy or a kitty so treat her like a person.
Having said all this, I feel I need to assure you I'm not assuming you aren't already doing these things.
Just don't get all caught up in the 'hype' of making your child a super child. Having good books around as well as any other kind of stimulus for the 'academic' education of your child is fine. However she is going to learn more just from day to day activities and play than she will from any kind of planned academic program.
I hope this is helpful to you.

Dear M.:

It makes me sad to think that mothers are still just as concerned about comparing how soon a developmental stage has been reached as we were when I was raising my five children in the 50s. I have since learned both from experience and from studying psychology (after raising them) that it doesn't matter how soon a child learns or accomplishes something. What really matters is that they discover what they are interested in discovering at their own pace and often they go way beyond those who did it earlier (often by being pushed or prodded by eager parents). Please enjoy your blended family at all their stages and let them know how much you enjoy them. They are as smart as they are, you cant change that. Be proud and happy and supportive and they will all thrive!! LOve and guide and also set appropriate limits, but resist the urge to make comparisons. 15 and 16 year olds haven't actually "turned out" yet, I am sorry to say, but if they are doing well at that age then they likely will continue.

Relax and Enjoy this wonderful stage of life!!! Best wishes and Blessing on your family, N.

Do NOT compare your child to any other child!! You will drive your self insane. I have twin daughters and each one is different. Children learn at different paces.

As for you husband, you have to communicate ALL the time with him. Share your feelings and ideas with him. Come to a compromise.

Good luck - you are not alone in how you feel. Just love your daughter and teach her the best that you can.

Who doesn't feel like a bad Mom at times!! Mothers guilt is the worse becasue we all want best for our children. From losing your temper to wanting to spend more quality time with them...the list can go on and on. This "super mom" you described is impossible to compete with in your head because it is just that. I have a 10 year old daughter and am 3 months pregnant. My daughter has been dancing for 7 years, acts in plays and is in a GATE program at school. Do I do any of those things. NO! Did I teach her. NO! I just encouraged her and tell her she can do anything she puts her mind and heart into and drive around alot! I am her chauffer. Your daughter is perfect and wonderfully made. Give yourself and her a break...You are a good Mom.

Your little one is only 17 mo. She is doing just fine. I wouldn't worry about it at all. Please enjoy the time with her and that's is all that matters at the end.

Hi M.,
I totally understand your worry. I think those feelings are true of all moms, but especially in our area!!!
Let me just say, focus on loving your daughter and helping her to be a good person, a person that others want to be around. I think a lot of people focus on "making" their kids smart and forget about those things.
As a teacher, I can tell you that all that parent prodding to perform doesn't make a blind bit of difference in the long run (except to stress some kids out). I always cringe when I meet kids who have been treated like performing monkeys all their lives: "Show Mrs. So-and-So all the animal sounds you can make! What does the sheep say???"

Just enjoy the time with your daughter and remember that she will only be this age once!

STOP COMPARING!!!! You are a fine mother!!!! All children develop at different speeds and in different ways. If it makes you feel any better, my almost 17-month-old daughter doesn't know ANY animal sounds, and doesn't say much that I can understand. Now, I feel a little bad for her because I think she's "burdened" with a mother who just isn't good at deciphering baby talk. But, does that mean she's not going to learn to speak or not be as smart as she can be? NO! She'll eventually figure it out because she's surrounded by speaking adults. And, her IQ certainly isn't going to DECREASE as a result, although her frustration with me might increase for a while. But, she'll be fine.

I know it's hard not to compare. In contrast to my little girl, the neighbor girl who's 2 weeks YOUNGER than mine can say about 30 words or more! Thank goodness I'm confident enough not to compare otherwise I'd be feeling pretty inadequate by now.

I reassure myself that every child develops at different speeds in different areas. For example, my child is VERY physical and very active and has been walking/running for a few months now. So, while the neighbor girl has more words, she JUST started to walk. Also, the neighbor girl started solids at 6 months. Mine didn't want them until 9 months. Now, they both eat just fine. In fact, mine is a constant grazer and the neighbor mommy sometimes worries that her daughter doesn't eat enough. (I think worrying is a mommy gene!)

So - stop beating yourself up and just remember that all kids are DIFFERENT. Not better, not worse, just different. As long as you do your best, your child will do fine.

Now, if you still feel like you could be doing something better, then use resources like babycenter.com to get ideas on "educating" things you can do with your daughter; and creative play. That's what I do. I'm not a preschool teacher, how am I supposed to know all those cute little games and songs, etc.???

I think one of the most common pieces of advice I've gotten in terms of language development is to think out loud to my daughter. Wherever we are, I'm narrating to her. "look at this", "look at that". When in the grocery store, I point things out to her on the shelves - shapes, colors, objects. But, again, don't be obsessive or think that you're a bad mother if you're not ALWAYS doing this! I certainly can't maintain narration 24/7!!! We just do the best we can. I try to point stuff out to her when I think of it. And I just try to have fun with her - that's what she'll benefit from the most!

Just remember that your daughter doesn't need "formal" training at this point....just a loving mommy to play with and spark her imagination.

Good luck! You're a good mommy!!!!!

Cassie

Hi M.!

You really tugged at my heart (you are CLEARLY a LOVING mother)

You know M., at the end of the day, every mom wants the very best of everything for their child! And at the end of the day, that's what every child needs....a mother who loves, cares and attends to them. Children thrive around family who care for them....everything else is just fluff at this stage in her development!

We have a tendency to "hurry the child" which isn't the best for the child, nor does is prove they will be more academically ready or astute. Be confident that you are doing the best you can with all the knowledge you have. Above all, know that your daughter will do her greatest development knowing she is loved, noticed, and taken care of. Your job is to create a safe environment, she'll do the rest...just watch her!! Give yourself a hug today and a break.....you are everything your daughter needs! Enjoy her now! You'll laugh when she's married reflecting back that you stressed becasue she could only reference one animal!!

Big Kiss and Hugs going out to you! Remember, love is what makes the child secure in learning and growing!

S.

M.,
I am so sorry you are feeling this way. I think all mothers go through this and it is very hard. It is hard not to compare your child or your mothering to others, but you need to try to separate yourself from it. Just the fact that you are seeking advice and care whether you are doing a good job tells me that you are a good mother. If you were a bad mother, which you are not, you wouldn't care. Now whether your friend's child knows animal sounds and names is not important. Your child probably can do something else that her child cannot. All children are different and develop differently. Don't beat yourself up. Motherhood is so hard, and you just have to do your best. That is all you can do. Why don't you write down all the good things you do for your child each day, it is probably more than you can see right now. Just love your children and believe in yourself as a mom. What sometimes helps me is watching Super Nanny and I see children who behave worse than my kids and parents who are doing a worse job than me. Try it:)

Hi M.,
I'm glad you posted this request for advice. Not only are you reaching out for support, but you are also helping many other moms who feel "not good enough." We are so very hard on ourselves (I have devoted my whole therapy practice to mothers because we seem to take care of everyone but ourselves).

It sounds to me like your daughter is fine. Don't worry about scheduling classes and teaching skills. She is learning every minute of every day - just by being with you. Talk to her throughout the day but don't worry about teaching her all the "right" things. Take classes if they are fun or if you want to connect with other moms - but not out of a sense of obligation or guilt.

M., please make sure you take care of yourself too. Spend time connecting with other moms. We can be a great source of support for each other. And spend time connecting with your husband. It's so easy to let that relationship drift because all your energy goes to parenting.

Be gentle with yourself and know that your love and happiness are the best gifts you can give your daughter - much better than any class!

Warmly,
C. Todd
www.therapy4moms.com

Do what you think is right for your daughter and try not to worry so much or compare. We're all different and we all mature differently. She sounds like she's just fine. We all need reassurance from time to time. Being a mom is NOT an easy job. Take care, C.

M.,
First of all, taking on the responsibility of two teenage boys is awesome. You have to give yourself a hug! Your daughter is fine. Each child progresses at a different rate. However, continually dialoguing with her will improve her vocabulary. So, when you are in the kitchen, identify the colors and shapes, when you walk up and down the stairs, count out loud the number of step. Every simple task presents a learning opportunity. Remember to give lots and lots of hugs, kisses and smiles. This wonderful age passes by quickly.

M.~

Oh sweetie, we've all been there, or at least, I know I have! We beat ourselves up because we aren't doing all that we think we should be doing. I'm sure that you are doing a great job. It is very difficult being biological mom and stepmom (I am also), being the wife, etc. If you show your kids love, do the best you can, and your kids are happy and well-adjusted, don't worry about what everyone else is doing. I had the same concerns not too long ago, and you just have to let it go. My kids are happy, they are loved, and they are taken care of. Those are the most important things. Your daughter will develop at her own pace. Every child is different. If you are super concerned, you could look into a play group or class that she could go to a couple of days a week, if it fits into your budget. Don't stress out though. Your kids will be just fine. I know that it is hard. I'm in the same position as you. I'm in my second marriage, have a "bonus" daughter, and a biological child, plus one on the way. If you want to talk or vent, my email is ____@____.com in there!!

We all have times where we feel like "bad Moms" throughout our children's lives - no matter what we do for them. I agree with Julie's comment about sometimes when we give kids all the advantages, it is a disadvantage. I am from the "old school" where constantly feeling that you have to teach your kids, is not a good thing. Kids learn from just hanging with you in every day life. They will catch up!! I believe it is more important to be at home with Mom and/or Dad then to be shoved off into some fancy preschool when they are still babies!!! So what if a small child can count to 100, or know all their colors by age 2. Most of the time the kids that can do this that young all blend in with the rest of the population when they enter the upper elementary school years anyway unless they are truly gifted! I have watched parents put their kids into activities like karate or even dance as young as 2. It's cute of course and these establishements will take your money BUT the fact is, these kids are too young to actually learn what can be learned just a few years later. My daughter did not start dance until age 6 and excels at it now. It is something she enjoys and is a natural at it. There are girls there that started dance at age 2 or 3, and are no further ahead then mine. If you don't have the talent or the want, it doesn't matter how early you start. My son was one of those kids that knew everything as a very small child - way ahead of most in his kinder and first grade class. By the mid elementary years, although still getting good grades, he was about average with the majority of the kids. My point is, I believe all this pushing kids to excel isn't always a good thing. I know many, many kids that are now in high school who are the product of thoses "super moms", that are stressed out kids. Many of these kids find other outlets that are not good to help solve their stress. They worry constantly about being the best. What is important is not how smart you are but what kind of human being you are - kind, compassionate, giving, friendly, polite. There are many smart people out there that have gone no where in life but usually if you have the above qualitites you will be a success.

Hi M., I think your daughter is just fine. I have 20 month old twin girls. One of them can count to 10 in english and spanish, sing the alphabet and speak really beyond her age. It is pretty wild. My other daughter does none of that. She knows some animal sounds and words like "truck", "ball", etc, but often she just points at what she wants and says "this". She will also go get items that I ask for but she won't use the word for them, however, it is clear that she knows what I am asking for. And, she is just fine and right on target. Also, physically, she can do a lot that her sister can't do such as somersaults! (... how she learned thus I have no idea)

My point is simply that every child is different, learns at different rates and has different abilities. Don't worry about "teaching" her too much. Just read to her, play with her and talk to her a lot; generally, they can understand more than we realize. I use car rides for "vocabulary" lessons: "ok girls, what are we going to see today? A bus? Look there is a bus. Do you think we'll see a bicycle? Oh, there is a bicycle!". Even if they aren't saying the words, they are learning them and eventually they will repeat them ... it also distracts them and often allows me to get them home without a temper tantrum about being stuck in a car seat! :0)

Hi M.,

If I had nickel for everytime I felt like a bad mother..... I truly believe ALL moms feel like that at one time or another. We simply LOVE our children and want the best for them. We are harder on ourselves without a doubt!

This is the part that 'I' had to work on with myself. My biggest "guilt trip" was working in the home......I felt guilty daily because I couldn't get as much work done because my kids always "needed me"......now THAT was my moment of feeling like a terrible mother. I switched gears immediately! I had to make my kids my priority.... It took me almost 4 years to find an emotional balance! It seemed like forever, but it was discovered :O)

What I learned? Is that NO MATTER WHAT or how I handle a situation, I can look back at it later and see that I should've done something different. That's why that expression "hindsight is great isn't it?" It's not a way to live......please don't get used to it!

Be more forgiving of yourself, M.. You need to do to the BEST you can do IN THE MOMENT. .... nothing after.....

Ask yourself....Does your daughter light up when she hasn't seen you until after her nap? Are you able to find "tricky ways" to get her to eat? Can you soothe her 75% of the time?......Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions than you are a good mother :O) Only GOOD mothers can get those reactions.

Take a breathe M.....you deserve a bath today :O)

~N. :O)

I have 2 daughters and my 2 1/2 year old talks like a 5 year old and I didn't do anything special for her. I just got her involved in as many experiences as possible (singing at home, reading to her, zoo trips, little gym, church etc...) I also feel that talking to your daughter (without baby talk) really helps them to learn the language and be more verbal. I think playing songs for her would help also. It is amazing what they can memorize. My daughter talked pretty early, but I wouldn't say she talked a ton until about 18-19 months. One day it will just click for her. Just make sure you have conversations with her and she will pick up stuff really quick.

Ah, M., we all have had moments like this. I remember (my son is 27 now) when all the other three year olds were dinosaurologists and my son didn't know a single dinosaur type. And he didn't start talking until he was almost three--but he started talking in complete sentences and toilet trained in three days! Or my nephew, who was just offered an internship by Reuters after they saw a photograph of his online--he didn't walk until he was 18 months old.

The point is, every child progresses at his/her own rate and your daughter is just fine and you are too. At her age, I would just read a nursery rhymes to her every day, maybe take her to a baby in the library event, and maybe do babygym at the Y. Once she turns two, if you live close by, Lawrence Hall of Science has a class for two year olds about animals in which the children get to see and hold all kinds of small animals (bunnies, etc.)

Take care, and stop worrying!

First I wanted to just give you a big hug. You are not a bad mom but a fabulous mom because you love your children. Love trumps all. Every child learns at their own pace. Enjoy the funny-ness of the fact that everything is "kitty" and enjoy all of the small things that make your daughter who she is. That will help you. Also, take the time to help her learn things as she sees them outside. Maybe she will not respond right away but she is listening and will process things in her own time. Do things "your own way." You run the show. Introduce the see & say animals, show her with books in the library. Practice coloring picturs in fun coloring books together. Each child picks up things in different ways, you will just have to find her avenue of learning. Don't worry, she will be a happy, healthy smart girl-like her mom! God bless!

You sounds like you're a wonderful mom to me...let's look at the evidence: 1) You're very concerned with your daughter's well being. 2) She knows how to say "kitty" and she's ONLY a year old. 3) You have been through adversity, come out the other side and figured out how to be in love with your current family and life.

So many people never figure out #3 at all! And let's face it, #1 is the ultimate most important thing, being unselfish enough to be concerned about someone else's welfare regardless of whether it's easy for you or not.

Every child has their strengths and less strong points. Your daughter is skilled in her physical attributes. Cool! Maybe she'll excel in that to the point of a scholarship to a prestegious university some day...would you be any less proud of her then than if her scholarship was for her English skills? Of course not.

My experience is that kids with older siblings learn MUCH faster than those without them...the boys are teaching her all the time too...maybe she makes motorcycle sounds or knows the sound of a baseball being hit by a bat...trust me, she's learning from them. (Ask them to sing the ABC song for her...she'll catch on so fast!)

I think all mom's, especially the good ones, feel like they're not doing enough. I think it's part testament to the strength of our love and our hopes for our children. It IS hard not to compare. But it's also important to learn to be happy, honestly happy, for your friend that her daughter has learned something new...and not have that event imply anything meaningful for your daughter or family--the two are NOT connected. Easier said than done, for sure.

Give her a little more time...within a month or so I bet she knows all sorts of animal sounds. By the way, do you play animals with her? Do you bark and neigh and moo? Do you point out animals when you drive, have you taken her to the zoo? If not...get going! :-) It's not too late, and it's lots of fun. She'll want to imitate YOU, not the random dog so much.

So go bark with her already...and be sure to laugh too!

You're a great mom...I think kids do just as well learning music (at this age), for instance from a class as they do with a wooden spoon and your pots and pans for drums...put on some Imagination Movers, Laurie Berkner Band, Milkshake or Audrarox and drum along...she'll learn about keeping time naturally...and you can encourage her while you wash the dishes (or whatever, better if you can sometimes play along with her).

And if your husband doesn't think he should go to the zoo because he didn't take his boys, go while he's at work. The crowds are much lower during the work day anyway. And you two will have SO much fun!!! Go out and play, you have my permission.

P.

Hi M.,

First of all do not put yourself down. You are not a bad mom. All children are different. Some learn faster then others.

Do you read to her everyday? Get puzzles of animals and ABC's and let her put them together with you and say what it is over and over and she will pick it up. Put tapes in for her to watch that are educational and read to her every night.

Just apply yourself everyday with something to help her learn more.

You are a wonderful mom and continue to be that. You will notice when you feel better about yourself she will do better also. She is a product of you.

Take a look at the Secret DVD.

It will help.

Have a great day.

N. Marie

Don't worry...your daughter will be fine AND smart. You don't need to compete with other moms. Your goal: to have your childen grow up to be happy and secure individuals. That is what matters. Children develop at different rates. They are individuals. Just like we, as adults, develop at different times/rates. As for your husband, I find most dads differ in their thinking from the moms because of that exact reason: moms (nurturers) vs. dads. As long as you share the same goals in raising your kid (values, morals, religion, how to raise them etc) I think you'll all be fine. Don't try to be a "supermom". You don't need to be. You just need to provide a loving, secure home for your child and interact with her. Show her and teach her things. Best of luck!

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