Family Magazine

Quality Time

By Monicasmommusings @mom2natkatcj

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One of the tricky parts of parenting when you have more than one child is finding a way to spend quality one on one time with each of your children.  I remember when my middle daughter was born I was so terrified my oldest would be so jealous.  She had 3 years of me all to herself.  So I made sure to do things just me and her.

Well, the more children I have added the harder this has become.  I had my one on one time with my middle daughter while her sister was in school though, but once she started school I had her little brother.  So then he got that time and now he’s in school and my youngest gets that time.

But what happens to the kids when they start school?  It gets harder to get one on one time with all of them.  I always try to make it clear to them that I’m always there for them, but the more kids added the more I have been stretched thin.  So while the two big girls know that if they really need time to talk to me they just have to be patient scheduling that time definitely gets complex.  I’m ashamed to say that my middle daughter has gotten the shaft lately in this area too.

Well, if you have talked to my oldest, then you probably know she thinks I’m dropping the ball with her too.  But alas, there is only so much of me to go around.  As my girls get older and get to that age where they might not want to be seen with me very much this has become more important to try to do certain things one on one.  And sometimes I try to make things easier on myself by going out with the two older girls, but that isn’t always what they need.

So I have been struggling to find one on one time.  And oddly enough this school year has provided that for us.  With my middle daughter in a school that has different days off and half days than the other two it has presented a few opportunities.  My middle daughter started school the day before the other two so I had a chance to go out to lunch and do a little shopping with my oldest daughter last month.

Then yesterday my middle daughter had a half day that no one else had.  So we enjoyed a little lunch and shopping too.  We didn’t get a whole lot of time because we are still a one car family and my husband had to go to work.  So I needed to get home so he had the car and to watch the little ones too, but it was a special afternoon none the less.

Getting to spend one on one time with them is so important to me.  Time where they’re not competing for my attention and we can just relax and talk about things uninterrupted.  It’s just perfect.

It’s not going to be long before they are off and on their own so even just for that these times are so important.  But other than that everyone needs to have a chance to just relax and talk about the important things happening in their lives without fear of being interrupted by another sibling’s drama.  And well quite frankly they all need a little time to be spoiled.

I had two hours with my middle daughter yesterday.  Two hours to hear about her classes and all of the friends she’s making.  Two hours to listen to preteen drama that right now means the absolute world to her, but a few years from now will just be silly kid stuff.  And I loved every minute of it.

And I felt bad that I hadn’t made this a larger priority.  My oldest is very vocal about needing time with me.  My middle daughter is so go with the flow that sometimes I think her needs get overlooked.  I realized just how important today was to her when she was up and ready for school in the morning as fast as if it was the first day.  She was anxious to get going with her day to get to what she was really looking forward to.  Her choice of lunch.  With no one influencing what to pick.  No pleasing someone else just to not hear them complain.  She finally was able to get her Halloween costume too.  Everyone else already has theirs; she was struggling with what to get.

But with just me and her and no one else suggesting things she got to choose what she wanted.  No one second guessing or turning their nose up to her choices.  It’s really amazing how different it is shopping with her and only her.

I’m ashamed that it took me this long to do this with her.  I’m relieved that we’ll have more of these opportunities.  And there should also be more time to do these things with my older daughter as well.

This will be important to add my son to this as he gets older.  Right now with him still in half day Kindergarten he does get me every afternoon while his little sister naps.  Next year that will change and even though he’s a boy I think it’s going to be just as important that I get one on one time with him.  Even after 2 years he still remembers and talks about the picnic lunches we used to have before his sister came along so I know it’s important to him too.

I know I’m doing the best I can and it’s not going to be perfect.  I will continue to try to schedule this time especially as they get older.  It’s easy to say oh they don’t need me as much, but the thing is they almost need me more as they get older.  Not in the same way as a caretaker so much, but sometimes they need me as a friend and a confidant.  It’s a tight rope you walk.  You always hear how kids need a mother and not another friend and to an extent that’s true.  We can’t excuse all behavior for fear of them “hating” us, but we do still need to be their friend.  Someone they can connect with and confide in especially when it really matters and that’s what makes these one on one moments that much more important.

Do you get to spend time one on one with each of your children?  Do you get to do it as often as you or they would like?

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