it’s too cold to play outside?
When my first child came into my world she became my world. I put my career on hold and wanted nothing more than to be with her. She got all my time and attention. When Alice came, I was very worried about how her arrival would affect the oldest. I also worried about being able to give Alice everything I gave Averie. I tried very hard to make Averie feel special knowing that babies can be very demanding. I think I focused my attention more on Averie. I am trying to shift that attention and make it more equally balanced now that Alice is getting older.
When the oldest is at preschool or at a friends house, I give the baby FULL attention. Meaning, I have weekly play dates at Little Gym. Even if Averie’s schedule changes, I still keep our Little Gym time. I drop Averie off at Grandma’s and enjoy my time with Alice. When Averie isn’t around, I try to get on the floor and read stories and play with Alice. In fact, Averie had a play date last weekend, and instead of cleaning the house, I just played with Alice. It was fun! I knew my house could wait until tomorrow but when would be the next time for the baby to get some QT with Mommy!
With Averie, I try to schedule our quality time. I really have noticed that when Averie and I do something special without the baby, she really shines and enjoys that one-on-one time. Therefore, once a month I try to take Averie somewhere special and fun. We go on “Mommy dates.” So far we have enjoyed, Tea with Cinderella at the Magic House, lunch outings, tea parties with other friends, and just running errands alone. Those are the moments, I think are very special and memorable for both mommy and Averie.
So when the baby gets older, I plan on dating both my kids regularly. In fact, I am enlisting the help of my husband for this mission. We will each date and swap with children monthly. I think it is very important for Daddy’s, especially with girls to get that quality one-on-one time. I am sure my children will enjoy Home Depot and the Golf Galaxy right?
So my answer to balancing time and attention is to schedule one-on-one dates with your children!
My answer is… there is no way to do it perfectly. There’s just not, no matter how hard you try. But I believe it’s possible to do it well, and that is my daily goal. I strive to give special time and attention to each child in a way that fits their own unique needs. Whether this means a daily post-nap snuggle with three-year-old Bentley, 10 minutes to read Emily a book while the boys play, grabbing just one child for a trip to the grocery store, or taking advantage of a neighborhood babysitter occasionally to pick Emily up from school and enjoy her bear hug with both arms and really listen to her chatter on the way home.
So I suppose my answer is… it’s different with each family and each child each day, but I think sneaking in those moments of undivided attention randomly throughout the day when they are needed is the key to making each child feel loved, special and unique. I heard/read somewhere that the sign of a good mom is when each of her children is absolutely sure that he or she is her favorite. I’m really not sure who I heard this from, but I think it’s adorable and definitely one of my goals – to make each child feel uniquely special to and loved by me.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I was scared because of this very topic. I was afraid I would never be able to love a child as much as I loved the first one and that I’d never have any quality time with my children. Well I was definitely wrong on the first account – who knew one person could hold so much love in their heart??? But the second one requires constant awareness. Originally the word that came to mind was “effort” but I don’t want to use that word with relation to spending time with my kids. So awareness is a better word choice.
It is so easy to get caught up in everything going on around us, especially now with three kids. School schedules, appointments, dance lessons, playdates, and all of the other things taking up time in our lives with small children. Honestly, I am still working on the balancing act. Not only do I have three children to balance, I have my duties as CEO of the household, and my writing. And my spiritual life and my social life, which are also both very important to me.
I do have some dedicated one on one time. I take the 3 year old with me to run errands on the weekends so that we have some girl time. Every night before bed I say prayers with each child individually and I read for about 20 minutes with the two older children. Usually separately so it is their own time with me. We have dinner as a family each night and the 5 year old tells us all about his adventures and his day.
I’m sad to say at this point, that’s about where it stops. I am terrible at balancing in general! I am focusing on doing projects with the kids, but we usually do them as a group. But even though I’m not able to spend a large amount of individual one on one time with them, I do make sure to pay them each individual attention. We get into tickle fights, play hide and seek, dance, or I just snuggle with them and tell them I love them a million times a day.
How do you balance your time and attention between your children?
Leave us a comment; we love to read your tips and advice!
Need advice? Check out these previous Mom Connection topics:
Disciplining your Babies
Teaching your Children to Clean up
Getting your Preschooler Dressed
Balancing Blogging and Motherhood
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