Being a mom of two takes some fine balancing at times. I am the baby of my own family and growing up my sister would often wail “you’re showing favourites to Sam cos she’s the baby”. Naturally I would always disagree with this notion most vehemently but now that I am a mom of two myself I can see where my poor sister was coming from.
As soon as that second child is placed in your arms you start trying to learn the fine art of balancing the protective mamma bear of baby vs toddler. Or at least I did. Kade was nearly 3 when Gemma was born – he is a boisterous boy child. Always on the move, always jumping, running, pouncing… I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to say “gently my boy, gently” when it comes to Gemma. Or “watch your feet, you nearly kicked your sister in the head” or “watch out you’ve nearly run over your sister with your bike”… I am a stuck record “be careful, be gentle, be careful, be careful, be careful” It’s never ending.
The fact is he is bigger than she is. He knows how to use his body, she doesn’t so I am inclined to jump in to protect her from him because of it… the thing is this. I don’t want him to feel like I am constantly on his case and “showing favourites” with her. How do I balance this very real need to temper his boisterousness around her? I don’t want to stop his natural want to show his love for her. I don’t want him to feel like her can’t play with or interact with her because of this.
As she’s gotten older and has started grabbing and pinching I am making sure that I admonish her too when she grabs a fistful of his hair or when she pinches him. But I still find myself saying things to him like “she’s just a baby my boy, she doesn’t understand why its wrong”. Protecting her and “taking her side” over his.
This morning Kade and I were messing around in our bed while Cliff gave Gemma her morning bottle. I was wrestling with him and was “holding him prisoner” with my legs and arms wrapped around his body. When Gemma came to join us (was handed over by Cliff) he wanted to put Gemma in “brother prison” (I was calling what we were doing mommy prison) and he was pulling and tugging at her and she wasn’t liking it. He was just playing with her (not too roughly but not too gently either) and I found myself jumping to her defense “cos she’s just a baby”…
Holy moly, how on earth do I find the balance in this situation? I know it’s going to be a lifetime of playing referee between them, but I also really want to be fair to them both. I do not want him thinking she’s my favourite because of this. There is no favourite child – I love them both so much, so desperately, so differently…
What do you other moms of two or more do? Do you just leave them to sort it out on their own (within reason)? Have you found the balance with this? Please share if you have!