I ran into an old friend the other day and she was amazed at how many children I have and went on to comment how I must be superwoman and how she finds two children hard to handle. As we parted she turned to me and said “You are so lucky and those children of yours are so lucky to have you as their mom!” My stomach did a flip and I had to sit down because the weirdest thought popped into my head. “Are my children really lucky?” “Am I really a good mom?” As confident as I may appear to the outside world, I am constantly questioning my parenting skills (or lack of them).
The other day had been a tough one and something thing that my daughter said to me has been nagging away in the back of my head. First she was bugging me to take her to the store, then she wanted me to do her hair, then it was my fault that she was bored and nobody would play with her. Then she wanted me to come to her room and watch the show she was going to put on. The babies were wailing and I told her I couldn’t watch her show right now because I had to feed the babies. Well that did it – she lashed out and screamed “I wish you never had those stinking babies! You always have to deal with them and never have time for me!” Boy she didn’t hold anything back – but she did have a valid point. Lately I don’t have time for her or any of the other children and how fair is that?
Finding time to spend one on one with each of my children is probably the biggest challenge I constantly face and what makes it harder is that come dinner time there is no father coming home from his office to help out, and so because of his absence they crave even more time with me. Before the twins were born it was easier, but lately my days are filled with babies crying, needing to be fed, changing diapers, and trying to keep them happy as they demand a lot of attention and it isn’t just one baby but two. Have you ever heard two babies wailing at the same time? Holy cow it sounds like it’s in stereo! Then there are other children that are pretty high maintenance as well. Ryley is always on the go and into everything, and children with special needs such as Zachary and Joshua demand more time and so at the end of some days I am piled knee deep in guilt and totally exhausted. That said however, there are things that I do that helps spread out my time with each of them and gives them some much needed one on one with me and a little less guilt on my part.
*When making dinner I usually appoint one child as my helper and another child as the helper to assist with the babies. While we are preparing it gives me the opportunity to talk to him or her about whatever they want without any interruptions.
*My oldest daughter is a night owl and goes to sleep much later than her siblings – this is typically her time with me when she wants. Due to her age this time is very important to me.
*Often if I have to run an errand I will take just one or two other children with me so they can have some alone time with me.
*The babies get one on one when I breastfeed each one separately, or if one is sleeping and the other is awake.
*Every now and then I will take one child out of school for the morning or afternoon so they can do whatever they want such as go shopping, go to the book store or just hang out with me one on one.
*Every night I put each one of my children to bed on their own and spend a few minutes (or more if needed) with them to read or talk about something if they wish. It makes for longer bedtime routines but it is important.
I realize this isn’t the ideal, and yes I am still constantly consumed with guilt and questions such as “Should I have a nanny?” (I have never desired one but that is a whole blog in its own) “Are my children being deprived by not getting more one on one time with their parents?”
These questions will probably never be answered, but for now when I look at my children and see how well they are thriving, how happy and polite they are, how much they enjoy each other and what wonderful children they are I am pretty positive I am doing something right and that is all the counts.
What about you? Do you feel you spend enough alone time with your kiddies or not enough? What types of things do you do together when you have that time?
Until next time