Family life as we know it Mommy guilt

The return of Mommy guilt

September 27, 2012

I never thought much about the middle child syndrome until I had a middle child. Yes, the one that’s born after the firstborn and before the baby. The one who would sometimes feel unloved and uncared for, being sandwiched in between. The one who feels dethroned as the baby of the family.

It’s not been easy handling my middle child. She’s one interesting babe. She plays with abandonment, laughs and cries at the same time and can go insanely wild and happy for no particular reason. But she’s also prone to tantrums, tempers and outbursts, and she bites, hits and throws things whenever she gets upset.

It’s been even tougher to deal with the realisation that what I see in my little girl is the exact replica of what I am, deep down truly. That same stubborn streak. That irrationality that doesn’t listen to logic. That strongheadedness. She’s angsty and feisty — just like me. It’s ironic that faced with a person like myself, I am at a loss as to how to handle her, train her and demonstrate love towards her. Maybe it’s because I don’t even know how to handle myself sometimes.

So last night, after an eventful evening of six tantrums from the little girl and a few whackings, some unkind words and table-banging from me, Becks announced she wanted to find her teacher at daycare and proceeded to bawl for her. She said she didn’t want any of us anymore (no, not even her father, brother and baby brother) and even put on her shoes and stood at the door. I opened the gate and she actually stepped out! I kept asking why she wanted the teacher and not us, but all she could do was cry. It was when I told her that I will not follow her because I belonged to this house, and she shouldn’t go because she belonged here as well, that she came back home and allowed me to hold her and hug her. I told her I loved her very much, but all she did was shook her head profusely.

Then, I asked her, “Becks, who does Mama love?”

Her answer to me last night was enough to send my heart into a wrenching spasm of sorts. She answered, “Kor Kor and Di Di“.

All I could think of in bed last night was what a bad, bad mother I’ve been.

My dear Becks, I really love you. You’re my little princess and you’re treasured more than you think you are. I know Mama hasn’t been all that kind and tender towards you and you have been feeling like you are always left out and unloved. It’s not true. Mama is also learning to deal with the host of intense emotions that comes with being your Mama!

Mama doesn’t only love Kor Kor and Di Di. You’re loved too and I hope you will believe that.

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  • Reply ELisa October 17, 2012 at 4:15 AM

    Nice one. She just needed to hear that she belonged, isnt it? You are doing great. Our children may expect us to do it right all the time, but we can’t. We can only do our best. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply Eveeleva October 7, 2012 at 1:35 AM


    Focus on the blessing it is that you know how ur girl feels, and that she shared her feelings with you.

    That’s definitely a win. How many of our own mommies were oblivious to our pain as we were growing up?

    You’re a great mommy for just acknowledging your daughters feelings!

    Press on fellow momma!!!!

    • Reply MotherKao October 7, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      Thanks for your encouragement! 🙂

  • Reply Abby October 1, 2012 at 5:24 AM

    Oh…I can’t believe I can leave comments on your blog again! I was so happy when the comment finally appeared. Hope it will stay 🙂

    • Reply MotherKao October 1, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      U mean u couldn’t leave a comment? Hmm that’s strange. It’s so ever encouraging to read your comments. Thanks,Abby! 🙂

  • Reply Abby October 1, 2012 at 5:23 AM

    Sorry to hear what happened. It is really not easy on your part to give attention to all three children, at different age and having different needs. Just want to encourage you to take heart and know that she is only a 2-year old toddler after all, she will forget abt it the next day and run to you again, coz she knows who loves her the most.

  • Reply Ricky September 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    We are all learning each day. You are and you will be doing fine each day. Keep up your good work. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply June September 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Thanks for such a heartfelt post…it may be tougher for a middle child to know her place in mummy and daddy’s heart, but I’m sure she’ll come to realise this as she grows older, and as you continue to give her the attention and love she craves for. Perhaps it’s also got to do with her age/stage of life, so chin up! Things will get better!

  • Reply Kless September 28, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Parenting is an art in itself… So many new challenges we have to deal with on a daily basis. Feel for you.. Jia you. 🙂

  • Reply Dominique@Dominique's Desk September 28, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I too have 3 kids and do feel that the 2nd one is the most sensitive. To get around this jealousy I give him extra special attention and more 1-to 1 time as compared to his elder brother and younger sister. They need to have their own space with you and not be compared with any of their siblings. I also reserve some special activities which I only do with him and not his siblings.

  • Reply Adeline September 28, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    awww *hugs*. It’s tough being a mommy. But you know, its actually quite good that she shared with you her feelings. Rather than keeping quiet and not understanding why she does what she does. The tantrums and all. More hugs and kisses are probably all she needs.

  • Reply Rachel September 28, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    The middle child – one often left with the least attention and felt loved the least. I know it’s tough to handle 3 young children… how about allocate a time solely to be with her on a daily basis? Be it just a 15 mins alone time with her, I’m sure this will help in building the trust and bonding between mama and lil girl. A 15 mins with mam and a 15 mins with papa for a start how about that? A walk with her perhaps? Her out-bust, her tantrum, her nonsenses are probably her way of telling you “Hey, I’m here. Look at me!”

    Hope things will slowly improve for the better. *hug*

  • Reply NerdyMum September 28, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Poor gal! (both mummy and child)
    That sounded dramatic. Good that you hugged and held the poor girl tight after.

    I’m sure a lot of other middle child growing up in the 80s didn’t get that attention after feeling unloved.

  • Reply Mamamie's Thots September 28, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I can sort of relate to how you feel, coz sometimes I’m having the same problem with my daughter too (she is the middle child too). I know that sometimes I neglected her & trying my best to give her the same attention as her siblings. Although I know deep down she is a sensible & independent girl, she just want a bit more of my care & concern which I totally understand why recently her behaviour has changed. Well…that’s part of parenting we need to learn along the way & jia you!

  • Reply Eric's September 27, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Oh gosh… it’s v heartbreaking to read about our children wanting to leave home, even if it is a childish response on their part. *Big hugz* You’re doing a great job with your children and I also empathise we can never be perfect (yet our children or we think our children expects us to be 🙁 )

    I believe we can trust in Him who had also challenged us in our life circumstances so that we can grow into His Son’s glory, that He will not test us beyond what we can bear. Am sure He will provide you with a way even though it really sounds v v difficult. He loves Becks v v much and wants to bless her abundantly through you too. May He be your comfort and your help through this difficult time….

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