Good mothering with a house full of little ones

February 16, 2007 | Motherhood | 38 comments

I went to my OB/GYN for the first time about this pregnancy yesterday. I was actually going to wait a bit longer, but I became convinced last week that I was headed for a miscarriage and mainly made the appointment to confirm this fact and find out what to do next.

To my great surprise and relief, they found the heartbeat. And since I’m at 11 weeks, it looks like we’re on schedule for baby #3 to get here in seven months.

Because I felt so certain that I was going to miscarry, I hadn’t thought much in the past week about all the challenges that we’re going to be facing over the next year. (In addition to the concerns I listed here, I also realized that we don’t have a car that fits three car seats.) So as I drove home from the doctor’s appointment it was almost like finding out I was pregnant all over again.

In general I feel surprisingly calm and confident about the prospect of having a three-year-old, a fourteen-month-old and a newborn. But there are times (particularly when I’m tired) when self-doubt creeps in and I worry that I’m won’t handle it well.

One of the reasons is undoubtedly because I’ve had no exposure to big families. I, my husband, and my father are all only children. None of my friends are from big families. Growing up I didn’t know big families or families with more than two closely-spaced children. We subscribed to the “Disneyland” method of child-raising, where it’s your duty as a parent to limit your family size and spacing so that you can devote your full attention to each child much of the time, have each kid in five different activities, pay for their college educations outright, afford all the best Mozart-playing educational toys, premium pre-schools, etc.

Given this background, I worry sometimes that maybe I’ll cut corners, that my children will feel that they don’t get enough attention from me. I read this post on Bearing Blog recently, where she wonders if having more closely-spaced children might cause her to be “a mother I don’t admire”. I had to laugh when I read that, because I worry about the same thing but I already do half the things on her list of bad mothering qualities. I too worry about becoming a “mother I don’t admire” — and my bar is loooooow, since I admire pretty much everyone else’s mothering skills.

All that said, my gut tells me that this will be fine, that my kids will be fine, and that once I get over the financial challenges and the difficult newborn period it’ll be wonderful to have three children close age. Yes, I will probably cut more corners than my friends who only have one child under the age of three at any given time. But I am a caring, conscientious mother and I will do my best. I don’t think it’ll be that bad.

So, as usual, I ask you readers: what do you think? Truth be told, I’m looking for some positive reinforcement. (If you think I’ll crash and burn and that I shou