Mom Guilt

Most nights, I lay awake for a while, and I think about the events of the day. I feel a little guilty about the number of times I may have scolded the children during the day. I try to play the scene in my head and figure out what I could have done differently. I also try to implement the strategy the next day. What I have found is if I am stressed out, the children act out, and then I react. But if I am calm and in kissing boo-boos mode, they are better behaved. So, it all stems from me. By the way, the other day, Shiloh had a little cut that I tried to kiss better, and she looked at me when I was done and said, “Mom, that did nothing. It still hurts.” Oh well, I guess she told me.

The Balancing Act With 4 Children - yelling
Weekly chores and schedule

Our weekly schedule is a combination of these activities: monitoring Eli and Anayah when they are at virtual school, preparing meals (my children eat 48 hours a day. You get the picture.), doing laundry (we are a family of 6, it adds up), spending time with the twins, potty breaks, instacarting our groceries, business planning and the long list continues. Brent and the kids help with the dishes and sweep the house. The kids also sometimes help to fold laundry, but, umm, yeah, I’d rather do it myself, but I still allow them to help me, to get them into the habit.

The Balancing Act With 4 Children - household chores
How Can I Make Better Use of my 24 hours?

Sometimes, I feel burdened by the daily tasks, and I feel I am missing out on spending more time with the twins. I feel they are getting the short end of the stick, and it takes my mom-guilt through the roof. Most times, when they do something silly, it is to get my attention, so I knew I had to change things up. I am at home to spend time with them, and I should be enjoying that time. At 3 years old, the girls need more than a TV. Some days it is a good babysitting tool, but not always. The question I posed to myself was, “How can I make effective use of my 24 hours without leaving myself undone?” You see, the mistake I was making was looking at my 24 hours as a solid chunk of time rather than breaking it up into intervals of time.

The Balancing Act With 4 Children - time with the children
The girls love to pretend to be Doc McStuffins
The Power of Change

Once again, the solution circled back to me. So, I had to start waking up earlier and getting my work started before they got up. I used to prefer to work after they went to bed. I would work from 9:30p to 2a, but I was always tired in the morning. The children wake up at 730a with the energy a good night’s rest provides, coupled with youthful exuberance. My new bedtime is between 9p and 10p, and I wake up at 5 am; going to bed earlier and waking up earlier are proving better options. I now have the energy to match theirs, and with most of my work out of the way, I have the time to spend with them.

The Balancing Act With 4 Children - finding time
My New Schedule

I had to start meal prepping; this is simply knowing what you are cooking for the week ahead of time. The little things make a big difference. I started doing more painting, crafts, sensory exercises, letter and number recognition, and phonics with the twins. I carved out time for this. So, when I am with them, I am not thinking about anything else. I am in that moment. Of course, there are still programs from Leapfrog that they enjoy, and they are educational too, so that is a win-win. Of course, there will always be time for Paw Patrol; after all, “Ryder needs us.”

The Balancing Act With 4 Children - meal prepping
Meal prep
Calmer Mommy Equals Calmer Babies

I guess the little ones recognized a change in me, and out of nowhere a few days ago, Shiloh said, “I love you, mommy. I am so happy.” Then Zarah gave me a tight hug. At that moment, it came full circle that my hypothesis was correct; the little ones do feed off me, so stress begets stress, and calm, and structure reduces tantrums and attention-getting tactics. All is well with us until the next “I had it first.” I am not sure how to get around this one yet.

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27 Replies to “The Balancing Act With 4 Children”

    1. Thank you Cheryl for reading and yes I agree that structure and calm make a whole lot of difference.

  1. Great read . After reading , my bedtime schedule will surely change. I go to bed late also and wake up feeling drained . Now I will be in bed earlier and rise earlier.

    1. Thank you. I am happy that you will implement a few changes. That feeling of being drained is by far the worst.

  2. Love love love ! This ministered to me in unbelievable ways -. You’re an amazing mom and trust me when I say , I’m committing some of your strategies to memory , especially waking up earlier ! When I’m feeling overwhelmed with this rambunctious toddler , I’ve begun to ask myself what unmet personal need have I perhaps neglected . Sometimes it’s literally just taking a shower ?Motherhood is definitely an ongoing learning process !

    1. Thank you for your feedback and your compliments. You too are an amazing mommy. We have so much to learn as we navigate this motherhood role. I agree it is an ongoing process but we’ve made the commitment and we will succeed.

  3. You are a phenomenal woman…. sometimes we believe that being phenomenal means that you have to a superstar but one’s actions and the way they impact others make one truly remarkable.! You are such a person!

    Your writings are great and you use your pen so effortlessly.! I hope one day you’ll realize your dreams and publish your book.

    Thanks for letting us into your world of mothering… you bring joy into the lives of others; you help young parents navigate their way… I always enjoy your writings!

    Big up Malika!!! Big up girl!!! A best seller is in you’!

    1. Wow thank you so much. You were one of my favourite English teachers. I have always admired you. I am so humbled by your kinds words. I will strive to continue to do you proud. Your words have given me wings.

  4. While reading this article I was snapping like we would at poetry slam. You nailed it! We learn that Kids truly feed from our energy. Today this post is especially relevant for me. It was melt down central with my toddler this evening. We were both exhausted from the day and both not having it. TGIF! In stategizing mode for tomorrow. New Day = New Energy.

    P.S. I am aiming for that 5am start also for ME (Meditation and Exercise) Time.

    1. I was snapping my fingers as a I read your reply. You always manage to transfer your great energy to me. I know those nights of not having it all too good. 5am is the best time for ME and clarity.

  5. I read your pieces and this one especially made me think of raising my five and realizing how lucky I was to have help. Mostly good help. It is not too late to be thankful.

  6. These pieces you do really bless and encourage me. There’s a peace that comes upon you when you realize you’re not the only one facing these struggles. Again thanks for being open and honest it sure helps.

    1. Thank you for your feedback Dominic. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to share my experiences so that other parents can know it’s not them alone that maybe going through certain things.

      1. Thank you Malaika, for always being so real…and for sharing a part of you with us. It helps to know that I am not the only one experiencing the highs and lows of this wonderful journey called parenting.

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