I recently saw a letter of apology to a second born child go viral on the web. It was funny and so true on many counts, but after welcoming our second child last winter, I really feel like the sibling getting the short end of the stick is my daughter, my sassy first-born. So here’s a quick letter of apology I drafted to her in my rare down time while she was at school and the baby was napping.
You have been a big sister for seven months now and overall you have done a great job, especially since I have changed as a mom to you in so many ways. I am not as physically, emotionally, and mentally available to you as much as before since I have a baby dependent on me for love and nourishment 24/7. You have been very understanding despite this. I think it is because you have always been an independent child. So here are a few things I am sorry about. Feel free to keep this draft and add to it over the years, it may help you and your therapist out someday:
*Sorry I blame you every time the baby cries or whines. I mean sure, 8 times out of 10 you are the reason your brother cries, but that does not mean I should snap at you every time I hear a peep out of him. I believe all children should be treated as “innocent until proven guilty” and you should be no exception. Just know that I do feel tinges of guilt when I yell at you and it ends up not being your fault. Thanks for forgiving me every time.
*All the hours you have spent in front of the television or the iPad while I nursed and tended to your brother’s needs. I think you have memorized every single episode of “Peppa Pig.” At least you have developed a lovely British accent. I think this is ok since your father and I grew up watching television and look how well we turned out!
*Now that you are four and can do a lot of things by yourself, I expect you to do those things all the time. Props to you for being able feed, dress, and take yourself to the potty. Now could you please do those things without my help all of the time and without protest? That would make life sooo much easier. Thanks in advance.
*I expect you to display your best behavior since you are serving as an example to your younger sibling. I don’t want to put any pressure on you, but lately when you tantrum and cry, your brother sees you and cries. And then I feel liking crying with frustration because I have zero patience. And then I look to your dad and see the fatigue and defeat in his eyes. See the chain reaction? But I know that you are only human and I don’t want nor expect you to be perfect, but leading by example is just the burden of the first-born. Sorry, honey.
*All those times I responded to your requests for attention with: “I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m nursing your brother right now!” I know it sucks. But speaking of sucking, do you know how much babies eat? A ton. Your brother might as well be permanently attached to me. It’s exhausting and I appreciate you sitting by my side and chatting with me all those thousands of hours I was feeding your brother. It will not always be this way.
*Sorry I had post-partum anxiety for the first year of your life. I know I had no control over this and perhaps you were too young to be permanently scarred by my worries while raising you. But it was really rough the first time around. However, you changed my life for the better and I have learned so much from you after all the years that I can actually relax a little and enjoy being your mom.
*I know I have a tendency to refer to your brother as the “calm one” and you, the “lively one.” In fact, I realize that I compare the two of you quite frequently, but it’s because I can’t get over how extremely different you are. You both amaze me.
*I apologize for my absence or lack of participation in putting you to bed at night. But props to your dad for doing a great job reading you stories and getting you to sleep. Again, it will not always be like this. Just know that after you are both deep in slumber, I come into your room to tuck you in, give you a kiss, and count myself so extremely lucky to have you in my life. I think that’s it for now. You are the BEST daughter ever.
Love and thanks,