Quality or Quantity.

When I came home from the hospital after giving birth to my second son, I immediately felt horrible for my first born. For two years he had every minute of me. He was my universe. He still is, but my world has expanded. I felt guilty for how much his life had changed. I wondered if two children was the right thing to do. I mourned our old life of just him and I. All the play dates and trips to the park got out on hold. Our new normal became lots of television while I nurse the baby and afternoons spent hanging out in the backyard instead out and about in town at play dates or music classes. Gone was the complete one on one attention. I felt like I was failing him. All. The. Time.

It’s bizarre that at this time I didn’t even think about my second child. I was overly concerned about my eldest and his “lack of love” by way of full attention. My newborn would never ever know full one-on-one attention. His one-on-one moments with just me are fleeting and far between. My youngest may get an hour or two a day of just us when his brother is sleeping or when he is at the grocery store with Dad. After realizing this I then felt horrible for him. I felt guilty for his lack of full mom attention and all the times I had to lay him in the rock-and-sleep to tend to his brother.

I started to think about what my youngest son and oldest son get from me. My oldest son got over two years of being the center of our universe. Smothered with attention. But, he was my first child and I was a complete basket case newbie mom. I was not a natural mother. I didn’t feel like I was “rocking it” as a mom until he was nearly two years old. I hit my stride when he was about 1.5 and really felt like, “hey I’m pretty good at this thing.”  That’s when I started to relax as a mother and enjoy our days.

I was a stress mess with a newborn the first time around. I had never really been around babies, so I felt completely clueless. I googled everything, obsessed about sleeping, and read/watched lots of parenting tips just to survive.  I was a worried mom. All. The. Time. Every milestone was met with worry of if he would meet it or how to help him. It was exhausting.

My second child is lucky. I’ve done this before. I now know that sleep will come and nothing lasts forever. The baby stage is actually very short, and pretty enjoyable when you let go of worrying so much. I’m a relaxed mom now. I actually enjoy this early baby stage (he is 6 weeks old right now). I snuggle and hug him all day. I ‘wear’ him when we play outside. He falls asleep easily and is really adorable. I enjoy watching him do new things, even if it’s just lifting his head and turning it from side to side during tummy time. I am fascinated that with each new thing he learns, he can enjoy the world around him that much more. I celebrate his new discoveries more. With my first born, I was too busy being worried about his neck being strong enough or if he had enough tummy time that day to enjoy those milestones. I was just too busy being worried.

My youngest son may get less of my time and attention, but he is getting my best. I am a better mom now, thanks to my eldest. My eldest son got quantity, my youngest son gets quality. What is better? Neither. They are divinely perfect in their own ways. I’ve allowed myself to let go of any guilt when it comes to my time and abilities as a mother. I know that both of my children are getting my all, at all times. Instead of comparing and judging what’s right or best, I’m going to let it be gray.

I’m a happier mom when I don’t analyze and compare myself to others, or to myself. I truly have no idea what is best. I can’t see into the future nor comprehend the complexity of life and God’s plan for us all. So in an effort to enjoy life, I’ve relaxed into just living it. Letting each phase, stage, and moment be perfect in its own way. Maybe someday I will be able to see the sun shine on my life, and comprehend the love of the bigger picture. For now, I’m good with gray.

Happy trails! -Chelsea


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