A few weeks ago, I had a dream about my daughter. Recently, she has been an unhappy little girl, always clingy and whiny. We’re trying to find out why. We suspect that she may have allergies. But since I don’t have any definite answers, I thought this dream conversation would be a good time to ask. Her response, which was well beyond her current language skills, was “I want you to see me.” I can tell you that, even in a dream, that statement hits all my mommy-guilt buttons.
I am certain that my children (singleton or multiple) are well cared for, treated with love and respect, and valued for who they are. But, there is always a nagging voice that makes me wonder how our efforts to treat them like unique individuals are perceived in their preschool minds and hearts. Do they feel a tension between wanting to be special and wanting what their siblings have? Do they try to differentiate themselves from each other? Are my little one’s clingy and whiny behaviours really an attempt to get attention? Could she physically manifest her need for attention because she has no other way to express her needs? While continuing to figure out if our daughter has allergies that might explain her mood, I am also focusing on making sure everyone gets one-on-one time with mommy or daddy whenever possible. Fortunately, we have a new nanny, so I have some flexibility to do errands and take time out with just one child. That’s all I can do. Caring for three small children, plus working full-time, doesn’t leave much time for worrying about questions that have no answers. Which, I think, is in many ways, one of the blessings of having multiples. We are so busy doing what we need to do, that we can’t worry about we could or should do differently.
How do you deal with mommy guilt about raising multiples? How do you talk about your children about what they feel about being multiples and what they need as multiples?