It's 6:52 p.m. I'm feeding Beckett in the rocking chair in a dark nursery, the soothing sounds of ocean waves crashing from the Sleep Sheep. It should be a calm, quiet environment.
But instead, I'm stressed out.
Beyond the ocean waves are wails and whines. Brennan is done with his dinner and more than ready to get out of his chair. Kiernan is starting to get sleepy and hungry and is letting me know ... very loudly. But I can't leave Beckett yet. He's drifting, but fighting sleep because he's fighting a fever and doesn't feel well. Brian is working late, so bedtime routines fall completely on my shoulders.
Beckett needs me the most right now, so the others will have to wait. I know they'll be fine. They're safe and I'll be able to attend to them in a relatively short period of time. And while I'm quite used to hearing my children cry, it's hard to listen to it when I've been by myself all day.
Feeling ripped between my children -- it's the story of my life.
It started during my pregnancy, when I felt like a bad mom to Brennan while resting and not playing with him. But I felt like a bad mom to the twins if I was playing with Brennan too much and not resting and trying to keep them inside. Even during delivery of the twins, I felt like I couldn't enjoy Beckett's arrival because I was too worried about Kiernan's well-being inside my uterus. And since the day they were born, I've felt pulled in three directions on a daily basis. It tears at my heart some days.
Sitting in that room with Beckett, listening to my other boys cry for me, a million thoughts swirled around inside my head. Am I doing this whole motherhood thing right? Could I be doing it better? What if I had done things differently? What if I should be doing things differently? Maybe I'm not cut out for parenting multiples. Or parenting at all.
That my friends, is what is called downward spiral, all-or-nothing thinking. I'm really good at it when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I know I'm not a bad mom. In fact, I know that I'm a pretty good mom. But that doesn't stop the guilty feelings from creeping in at me from every direction. And not always guilty feelings, but feelings of self doubt as well. I love these boys more than anything in this world. Am I doing enough to keep them happy?
Once I finally got Beckett to sleep that night, I came out of the nursery to give Brennan some dessert so that I could keep him safe in his chair while I put Kiernan to bed. After Kiernan was in bed, it was shower and bed time for Brennan. With the house quiet, I picked up the aftermath of the day and sat at the computer with a cup of tea to unwind and read a few blogs.
Among the entries I read that night was an entry titled Multiplied guilt by Jenny at What the blog? Jenny has triplets that are a little over a year old. This blog entry was about feeling the same feelings that I was feeling that very night. Her last paragraph was insanely encouraging. It reads:
"First-time moms of multiples (singletons too, I suppose), learn from my self loathing. Do your best and accept it. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t dwell on things. If you do, you’ll find yourself rambling to the Internet a year after the fact, too. If you’re stubborn like me and don’t listen, come find me, and we’ll commiserate."
I'm doing my best. I'm not perfect. Some people probably feel like they could do it better. But I'm their mom -- imperfect, yet unconditionally loving. The rational side of me knows this. The irrational side of me feels like I'll never be good enough. I just need to focus on telling that irrational side to bite me.