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...to be worried about neglecting DC1?

(19 Posts)
HFarnsworth20 Tue 09-Jun-15 11:15:06

I'm worried about my relationship with DC1 and how she will see and relate to me.

Both DCs are preschool. I work FT, and have to work a rather complicated flexi system to get time home with DCs so DW can work PT. When I started this with DC1 it took me time to adjust, and I was very stressed and impatient, but when DC2 came I had learned to cope better, so I think at a very young age DC2 saw better of me than DC1.

When DC1 was 2 one of my parents died very suddenly and unexpectedly. This was a few weeks before DC2 was born. This led to a period of grief and depression for me that I fear DC1 was young enough to be affected by, but DC2 will never have experienced.

I don't know if any of this makes sense, but I fear that DC2 has gotten more and better from me than DC1, and I don't want her to feel neglected or that I love her any less. I try to do things that are just the two of us (like a morning at the cinema) but I have so little time.

Any thoughts?

MrsNextDoor Tue 09-Jun-15 11:36:28

Don't worry any more. It's gone...those times have passed and I'm sure you weren't even a bit as bad as you think. The very fact that you're worried about it shows that you're a good parent.

As parents I think we all fear that one child gets more from us at certain points and we're always struggling to make it "fair". The children are two different beings and they give and receive differently from you and with you as a parent....your relationship with each child is separate and has it's own rhythm and that's as it should be.

HFarnsworth20 Tue 09-Jun-15 11:46:35

MrsNextDoor

Thank you, but I worry that she won't see me as being as 'present' for her as I am for DC2, or taking as much interest in her, because of how I was when she was DC2's age.

MrsNextDoor Tue 09-Jun-15 11:51:59

How old is she? She only sees now...she's under 5 I assume? They live VERY much in the present you know...she can't look back to when she was 1 or 2 and think "hmm...Daddy was FAR grumpier when I was a baby" she doesn't have that capacity.

You should just continue to be present with them both...and try your best to stop looking to the past...it's gone...we only have now. smile

HFarnsworth20 Tue 09-Jun-15 12:02:29

"hmm...Daddy was FAR grumpier when I was a baby"

Haha! Maybe, maybe not...

She'll be 5 very soon, and DC2 is 2. I just feel that I was so involved with myself when DC1 was smaller because of one thing and another, including my inability to cope, that it must have affected how we relate to each other.

LetThereBeCupcakes Tue 09-Jun-15 12:08:30

Is there something NOW that's making you feel like this? Or is it just an anxiety based on your feelings of the past?

As others have said, focus on what's happening now. I'm sure she's fine and adores you!

sparklewater Tue 09-Jun-15 12:11:15

It sounds like you are the one worrying about that, not her!

She won't have a clue that you were more distracted a few years ago than you are now. Just carry on like you are now and don't let past events cloud the present.

HFarnsworth20 Tue 09-Jun-15 12:15:09

Is there something NOW that's making you feel like this? Or is it just an anxiety based on your feelings of the past?

Just that she's getting older and has so much of her own opinions and interests developing, and I want to feel part of that.

My depression, and continuing stress at work, made me put up a bit of a wall, and she'll notice that in a way that DC2 won't.

bluejeanswhiteshirt Tue 09-Jun-15 12:15:27

The only person who remembers how things were when she was a young baby/toddler is yourself and although that might fill you with anxiety/regret (although I'm sure it wasn't half as bad as you remember) all you can do is spend every spare minute you have with your children NOW and make new memories. Please try and be more kind to yourself, you sound like a wonderful mum flowers

SorchaN Tue 09-Jun-15 12:17:13

I don't think you should worry too much - the important thing is that you have a good relationship with her now. It sounds like you're being quite hard on yourself, which is something to keep an eye on if you have a history of depression. I'm sure both your children think you're the best daddy in the whole world!
(Sorry for massive heterosexual assumption; apologies if you're actually one of the two best mummies in the whole world.)

bluejeanswhiteshirt Tue 09-Jun-15 12:20:14

Oops, just had another read and realised you're a dad, not a mum blush my apologies for making assumptions!

MrsNextDoor Tue 09-Jun-15 12:23:19

They do get more involved in their own little world OP...and when it;s your first, that's quite alarming really. I remember feeling upset that other people were influencing my DD1 when she began going on playdates...now she's ten and has her own opinions and things and rather than it being worrying, it's marvelous and exciting to watch.

Just keep being present...keep telling her you love her and hugging her...keep doing things with her and it will all be fine.

MrsNextDoor Tue 09-Jun-15 12:25:29

Oh I have just realised that my own DH has actually said similar OP...he said he feels like he was asleep when DD1 was born and also when DD2 was born...he feels like he missed out on a lot because he wasn't aware enough of how precious they are.

Perhaps it's a "Dad thing" when the Mothers are very hands-on in those early days and many Dads are out working...maybe it's like a delayed reaction....it will be ok OP...you sound too aware for it not to be.x

LisaD1 Tue 09-Jun-15 12:28:03

I can only give you my own experience. My DF lost his DF when I was 13, the eldest of the children. What followed was years of depression and some challenging times. The youngest sibling was only 5, he has NO memory of these times. I have very clear ones and I think my dad is awesome, he faced his darkest days but he came thru, he is an amazing dad and grandad and I have nothing but love and admiration for him.

I am sure your DC1 will not even remember.

Hoppinggreen Tue 09-Jun-15 12:38:33

I suffered with undiagnosed PND wth DD but not DS and sometimes I feel terrible that DS got a happy, bonded, engaged mother from birth whereas DD didn't until she was about 1.
However, DD seems ok and has no idea at all that I pretty much hated her ( although I went through the motions and she was well cared for) for the first year or so of her life and I will never admit it to anyone in RL.
I love her to bits now and we have a great relationship but I probably overcompensate a bit by spoiling her and if she says the normal sibling thing " you prefer (my brother) " I do feel a bit sick to be honest.
There's no point in beating yourself up about it now, just do your best - that's all any of us can do

HFarnsworth20 Tue 09-Jun-15 16:06:25

bluejeanswhiteshirt

Haha! That's absolutely no skin off my nose ;)

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I think the main thing is I feel that at that time there was a huge gulf between the dad I wanted to be and the dad I was. I always thought when I was a parent I would be so full of patience and understanding and fun, so every time I was short with DC1 or just wanted some space away from the DCs it ate away at that.

Perhaps it's a "Dad thing" when the Mothers are very hands-on in those early days and many Dads are out working

There's still a lot to that. We have a fairly 'traditional' set up where my DW is the main carer, but that came about because I was the higher earner, so it made more financial sense for me to be in full-time work. I think all parents now feel pulled in so many different directions, cos mums are expected to be out working more, whereas dads are expected to be home more.

My DM had a serious lifethreatening illness when I was around 5 and spent a fair bit of time in hospital yet I have virtually no recollection of it and it had no impact on our relationship.

Take that mental picture you have of what a perfect parent should be and rip it up now. Families and parenting are never perfect, we are all fallible human beings and we will all make mistakes. DS1 is now 11 and I say to him "I'm making this up as I go along and sometimes I will get it wrong."

MrsNextDoor Tue 09-Jun-15 16:43:43

OP I think you've hit the nail there....whilst Mums feel the pressure to work and parent....so now do Dads.

It's hard work isn't it but you do sound very together and open.I'm sure you're bloody marvelous as a Dad.

HFarnsworth20 Tue 09-Jun-15 17:10:00

"....whilst Mums feel the pressure to work and parent....so now do Dads"

I think I have a responsibility to show to my girls that the domestic/household side of things isn't just "women's work" (and I like cooking, anyway smile ) but, yeah, it is difficult to balance everything.

Thanks so much for your responses. It's been a huge help. smile

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