As the mother of three children, I understand the special brand of “mom guilt” that comes along with having a middle child. I am consumed with fear that I’m not giving my 4-year-old son the attention and adoration that my oldest and youngest naturally demand and attract. In reality, my husband and I divvy up our time and resources equally among all our children, but still, the fear is there.
So, when I read a particularly heartfelt post on Facebook this week, about a mom’s guilt over missing her daughter’s trophy ceremony, my heart throbbed and my eyes got a bit wet. Because I totally got it.
The voice behind the post is Claire Treacy, a mother of three and blogger at Mammys Bright Side, who was particularly torn up over missing her middle child’s camogie trophy ceremony recently. (In case you’re unfamiliar, camogie is an Irish stick and ball sport, and is kind of like softball for American girls.)
Wracked with guilt, Treacy took to her Facebook page soon after the ceremony, where she penned a beautiful tribute to her second born — not only to apologize for not being there, but also to tell her daughter just what she means to her.
Yep … get out the tissues, it’s a heartfelt letter, y’all.
In the post, Treacy writes:
“This happens quite frequently, more than I care to admit. You see child 2, well, she’s pretty much perfect. You would think that’s a good thing, I mean it is, it’s just in between her sisters ever growing list of after school activities, playdates and general stroppy cow syndrome, and her brothers ability to lose his mind along with copious amounts of shit throughout the day because of such things as: His pasta not being ‘long enough’ or his socks not being ‘short enough’ (I’m not even joking), Child 2 and her happy-go-lucky, non-sh*t-giving little self sometimes gets the least of my attention throughout the day.”
But in the midst of the daily chaos, this is what she hopes her daughter knows:
“I see you. I see you in the mornings, your big smile as you go with the flow, humming and without complaint completely oblivious to the other two scalds who by 8 AM have usually been the cause of me cursing under my breath 465,000 times …
I see you never fighting over what’s on the television — always just happy if their happy,
I see you share every single thing you own without question, I see you always thinking of your brother and sister, no matter what you get you always make sure your not empty handed for them coming home, I see you sometimes get anxious before school or in crowds, I see you breathing with me and taking me in, I see you watch me wipe your tears, I see you then bravely walking in.”
Mom guilt is a powerful force, Treacy tells Babble that if she could give her kids a strong message about her love for them — the kind of thing that they would each know in their heart of hearts it would be, “I hope they always know I did my very best. I get up every single day and I give this whole motherhood malarkey my all, but mostly I hope they know how much I enjoy doing just that.”
I asked Treacy a question that has always plagued me — do you think your middle child feels left out? She say:
“I don’t think she feels left out at all. It’s definitely more to do with mammy guilt. Being a mother is a bit like being a juggling act, you’re constantly trying to keep all the balls in the air, even after the most perfect of days you’ll get into bed that night and think about what you could have done better.”
Kids will get bumps and bruises and hurt feelings as they grow — we can all expect that. And moms, well … our job is do our best to make sure our kids each feel loved, heard, respected, and revered. And when you have three kids perhaps the only person to worry the most about everyone getting their fill of those important virtues is mom. After all, it is our jobs as mothers to make sure our children are each absolutely 100% taken care of.