I feel like I'm neglecting my baby because of my older son

Monica - posted on 10/14/2014 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I have two sons, a 3-yo and a 3-month-old. My 3 yo has always required a lot of energy to take care of, and although I felt a little sad going back to work, I was ok. Though our time was limited to a couple of hours a day and weekends, I was able to focus on him 100% and he was happy with that, as was I.

My 3-month-old is completely different from my older son - he's very chill, likes to sit back and take things in, and gives me adorable smiles and giggles. But because of that, his older brother gets all the attention. While I was home with the baby on leave, I loved our time together, not least because I could spend some time by myself while he napped, and then play and sing songs and just generally enjoy our time together. Going back to work is so much harder this time. I loved work today, but when I got home, my 3yo was a nightmare, just nonstop bad behavior. And because I was dealing with him, I barely got any time with my baby before he had to go to bed. I'm so miserable that I can't spend any more one-on-one time with my baby - he goes to bed so early and I feel like my older son will always be there demanding my attention. I feel so resentful of my older son tonight, and I hate feeling like this. I love him, and I usually like spending time with him, but I hate that spending time with him takes away from my time with my baby. I also hate that spending time with the baby makes him go into crazy attention-getting mode, with nonstop yelling, hitting, and tantrums if the slightest thing isn't done exactly his way.

I'm so frustrated tonight and this isn't the first time I've felt this way. I know this is only the first day of work and things will reach an equilibrium sooner or later, but I would appreciate any advice or support if you've felt this way and gotten through it.

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Monica - posted on 10/15/2014

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Hi Chet MC, thanks for responding. I admire you for having four children close in age and making it work!

I was losing my mind last night, but tonight was much better. You're exactly right, I need to switch my focus to spending time with one and then the other (which I was doing while on leave) to spending time with both of them. (Thank you for offering some concrete suggestions too!)

What was so frustrating last night was that anytime I so much as looked at the baby or said one sentence of babytalk, my older son would start yelling, hitting, or some other behavior that he knows will get him attention. I think last night was particularly bad for him for several reasons.

Mornings have, so far at least, been good. It's the tired+hungry combination that makes evenings hard, and having been at work all day makes it that much harder.

Chet - posted on 10/15/2014

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We have four kids that are close in age. I've always found that the most useful strategy is to find ways to include everyone so I don't feel split between children.

I would nurse the baby while I read to the other kids. We would eat supper while the baby sat in a baby seat in the middle of the table. We would sing to the baby together. The kids would stand on chairs to watch or help with supper being made, and the baby would be in a seat on the counter or in a carrier that I was wearing so they were right there in the middle of it all.

You're right, things will get better too. This is only the first day.

Do your kids get up at the same time? How are things in the morning?

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