I think this is a common issue with Moms who have more than one child. My younger boy turned 11 months yesterday. His older brother is 6 years old. Before my younger son was born, we were like two peas in a pod, well, sort of. I take the effort to bring him to places he wants to go, explain to him things he doesn’t understand, and answer his questions – no short answers as in “I’m not sure”, “I think so”, “maybe”, etc.
Now, he often asks me why we don’t go to places anymore. There were often times that I feel as though I don’t spend enough one on one time with him. Of course, there are those times which I think are “quality” times for instance on the way to school and home Monday to Friday, on weekends while his little brother is asleep (or awake), and other mini-chats in between activities. many mini-chats in between – it’s just here and there.
But still ….when I see him playing with this toys, his favorite game or watching his favorite TV shows alone. I still feel … A friend of mine said, “He’s 6 years old – he needs to learn to appreciate some time – for himself”. “Wow… really?”, I said.
I read about effects of having “quality” time with your children. Sometimes, some reads shook me a little. Just picking out from what I read recently, a comment in one of the forums by “Suabel”’. Here’s what she said which comforted me.
Just jumping in, but I have three kids and worked part time through the school year. I think “quality” time is overrated. Most of my time is spent with all three kids. We have lots of “quantity” time, and I try to make the most of it. We chat in the car to swim practice; we joke around while doing the dishes, etc.
I really think that being available to your child is key. The moments will happen. As they get older, in my experience, you do start to separate from your kids. It’s normal. I try to make the most of my time with them, realizing that we may never have the intense bond we did when they were toddlers or preschoolers, because their horizons have expanded and it’s healthy for them to develop outside interests and relationships as well.
That said, I end up scheduling time with each of my daughters, to ensure that they get private time with me. Sometimes this is just a ten-minute bedtime chat, other times it’s a lunch out with mom. We don’t spend a lot of money–the best activities are simple ones. My six-year-old loves to help me cook and sometimes I’ll let her choose the recipe and we get lots of good moments while involved in that. Having a baby as well complicates matters, but certainly doesn’t preclude it.
When I had a young one, I’d pop her in the sling and go about my business with the big kids. Generally the baby didn’t mind not getting my one-on-one, but the big girls did.
I only have two. I salute all Moms who have more.
Have a good week!