This isn’t a new tale, this tale has been told many times before like any classic fairy tale I know. The first born is the prize child. Practically a genius, the first born can create a masterpiece with a paintbrush, tie their shoes with one hand while blindfolded and solve 5th grade math equations by the age of 2. Then the 2nd child is born and they get less attention, less devotion and less one on one quality time. Before anyone knows it subsequent new babies are born that require more attention and more time and the 2nd child gets forgotten all together.
The truth is I never thought I would fall into this statistic. I thought I could do better, try harder and avoid the classic “middle forgotten child” syndrome but the truth is my middle child is forgotten and I am an overwhelmed-mom-with-too-many-kids statistic.
“Hello, my name is Desiree and I am an overwhelmed mom statistic“
I am slightly ashamed to admit that my 3 ½ year old middle child isn’t yet potty trained, she doesn’t know her letters or her numbers and I swear she is color blind. Where it was so easy to teach my oldest because he has a natural curiosity for new information, teaching my 2nd child is rough. Rough like rubbing sandpaper on soft skin and teaching her anything new requires more time, more energy and more attention. All of which I don’t have – of course. And of course I’m pregnant with baby #4 (why have a normal amount of kids when you can have too damn many?!)
So what is the solution? How do we as moms overcome the forgotten 2nd child syndrome and make sure each of our children get the exact amount of time, energy and devotion they deserve? The truth is: I don’t know. And honestly, the hard, brutally honest truth is: it’s probably not going to be fair for the subsequent children born in a family. The first born’s are probably always going to get more time, attention and devotion and each child born thereafter will get less and less and less. But that doesn’t mean we love them less and it doesn’t mean that we’re trying less. It just means we have the same amount of energy divided.
To help alleviate the mass amount of mom guilt I feel on a practically daily basis over my “forgotten” middle child, I try and soothe myself knowing that my daughter will be fine. I read articles like this one at Parents that make me feel slightly better about the benefits of being a 2nd born child. And I remind myself that she’ll probably even be better off than her older, smart, yet very high strung brother. In the meantime I have made sure to sign her up for mommy and me classes and although her baby brother comes along I make sure the focus of the class is on her. I also carve out a little time each evening to read books with her, even if we do get interrupted 5,000 times. And of course, I tell her every day that she is special, smart and unique.
Tips to avoid the “forgotten” middle child:
- Create quality time every day
- Do special activities that the middle child will especially enjoy
- Read everyday to the middle child
- Tell the middle child every day how special and loved they are
Lastly, I’ve also come to terms with the fact that she may just walk down the aisle at her own wedding wearing diapers, she’ll never learn how to read and just perhaps she is colorblind.