Friday, February 14, 2014

Enough Love? I have my answer.

Before my second child was born, I worried that I didn’t/wouldn’t love him as much as I love his brother. I asked myself (and all of you with the blog post “Enough Love” that was very difficult to write), how could I possibly love another child the way I love Quinn? Could I have enough love for both of them? Now that Reid is here, I have my answer.

Yes, of course, I do. My heart is on the verge of bursting every time I look at Reid as well as Quinn. My friend was right – I did grow another heart that belongs to just him. But I admit, it does feel different.

These hilarious, adorable boys... how could I love one more than the other?

While the intensity of my love and the amount of love I have for my boys is equal, it shows in different ways. I think it’s because they each need different things from me. Quinn still needs lots of snuggles, but not as much as the baby does, so Reid is in my arms more often. Quinn needs me to talk to him about anything and everything. He needs me to validate him and help him build his confidence. Reid just likes looking at my face while I make exaggerated expressions and narrate our life as it happens. My two boys are unique individuals with unique needs. 

My cousin’s wife, Amanda, wrote a beautiful comment on my previous post that describes it perfectly:

…I know you've been told everything will be fine and the love will come and it will, but honestly it's not the exact same love and truly can't be. But that's okay because it will still be an overwhelming love to protect and nurture a new individual person. Mommy mode kicks in on you and soon you won't be able to imagine your life without little Baby Dragon.

She’s a mother to four beautiful boys, so she knows what she’s talking about. If you haven’t yet, go back and read her entire comment. Wise words from a wise woman.

Also, I think I was equating love with guilt and worry. My overly empathetic tendency made me worry about and analyze every possible emotion Quinn had as a baby. Just because I don’t hover around Reid and bite my nails down to nubs over what he might be feeling, that doesn’t mean I don’t love him as much as I love Quinn. While I’m still very empathetic of my children and see them as real people with real feelings, three years of parenting experience has made it so I don’t project emotions onto them quite as much (although I still do – a lot). I know now that I can think about something else besides my children for a few minutes and doesn’t mean I love them any less. I can have a need of my own, and that doesn’t make me a bad mom.

My children were also born into different circumstances, and that impacts how I treat them. Being the second child, poor Reid has to cry more than Quinn had to. When there’s a toddler to take care of, I can’t hold Reid as much as I held Q as a baby. For example, I have to put Reid down so I can put Q’s shoes on or change Q’s diaper or brush Q’s teeth or make Q’s breakfast, and if Reid’s in one of his “I’m-not-happy-unless-you’re-holding-me-and-sometimes-not-even-then” moods, there will be some tears. It breaks my heart to hear him cry and I scoop him up as soon as I can, but a mom of two (or more!) does what she has to do to get the toddler to preschool on time and keep the household functioning.

No matter what your profession, there will be times you’re expected to keep everyone happy, and that’s an incredibly stressful, no-win situation. We all know that’s nearly impossible when it comes to adults, so it should be even less likely to keep multiple children happy all the time. The profession of a SAHM to more than one child is the same way. When there’s only one mommy and both kids need her, one child is just going to have to be unhappy for a few minutes. That’s life. Quinn didn’t have to share me when he was a baby, so he didn’t have to go through that, but it doesn’t mean I love Reid less because I allow him to cry more than Q had to. It’s just the reality of the situation.

So while my love for Reid might look different and feel different, I love him just as much. On this Valentine’s Day, now with a third heart bursting out of my chest, I have more than enough love for my amazing Hubs and two adorable sons. And my love grows more and more every day.