I think I have an overly strong sense of fairness. Perhaps it was developed during childhood when my mom ensured my brother and I didn’t fight by instilling it in us. I suspect it was so she wouldn’t have to break up our fights. It was weird when I became old enough to notice that other families didn’t always operate this way. I was so used to our one-sibling-divvy-up-whatever-it-was-to-be-shared-and-the-other-choose dynamic.
I’m sure my husband was surprised when he first met me and encountered my sense of “fair”. I would pay for my share of everything when we were dating. When we moved in together, I listed out all the household duties and we divvied them up, much like those days when I would cut the cake/cookie and my brother would choose his piece first.
And so it continues to this day. Now I have my own children. And I also strive to be fair with them. Except it’s sometimes impossible, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling guilty.
Like when I need to decide which baby gets the supplement formula. Since Baby Boy eats more, do I do it proportionally? Or should each baby get the same? Or do I just make it easy on myself and serve up a whole bottle and alternate? In that case, who got the last supplement feeding, so I can make sure I give the next bottle to the other one? I know it shouldn’t matter, and it will probably all even out in the end, but it’s always on my mind anyway.
When I’m out buying clothes for the kids, I have to buy an equal number of outfits for them all, even if Baby Girl already has clothes from Toddler’s baby days. Sometimes I have to leave the store with nothing because I can’t find an equally matching/cute/priced item, or I simply run out of time looking. Toddler usually ends up with more clothes now, since her needs are greater (with her actually leaving the house regularly and all), but they really aren’t that far apart in age, so I can see this being a problem for me far into the future.
I never had to be “fair” with Toddler until her siblings were born. Now I am torn between the time I spend with the twins and the time I spend with her. I give her as much attention as I can, and after explaining that “her babies” are little and need help from all of us, she’s pretty good about sharing Mama, but then I feel guilty that the babies don’t get time with me to “play” as much as they just get fed/changed/put-down. Even as I’m already feeling guilty about Toddler not getting the undivided attention she used to have.
Actually I had these issues even before the twins were born. I had to purchase a brand new carseat for Baby Girl, because Baby Boy got his own new one and it didn’t feel right. I felt guilty that I was able to spend more money outfitting the twins’ room this time around, even though Toddler’s is a perfectly good room and I probably spent more time doing hers (which really isn’t fair either). If I bought something nice for the babies I always felt like I should buy Toddler something too.
The babies are just starting to develop some jealousy when they see their twin being held/fed/soothed/played with. I can only imagine it gets much worse as they get a little older, and I also know that I won’t always be able to be fair. Or be perceived as being fair. And I will be beating myself up about it.
Does anyone else have this issue?