I hope you had a wonderful weekend! They always seem to go by fast. We had a great one, with temperatures warming up again, we were able to spend the bulk of it outside which was wonderful. Yesterday, my youngest had a birthday party so my oldest and I headed out for the day.
It's always amazing to me how solo time is truly special, even when we're doing the most ordinary things. If you're a parent of siblings, you know how difficult it can be to give everyone your undivided attention. I only have two kids but I imagine having more than two would be even more challenging. There are some days when I feel completely spread thin, like I'm not doing it well, not giving each of them enough and the mommy guilt kicks in. I'm also finding that as they get older, they have more mature problems or concerns and it's not as easy to put a toy in front of them to keep them occupied while I help the other. As they get older, it's not always possible to "fix it". As a Mom, that's a struggle. They're smart and growing and feel hurt when I'm not "there". This wears on me, how do I make time for each, time for both, time for our family, time for just my husband and I? Sometimes it feels like I'm just not meeting everyone's needs and it's taxing.
How do you make it work?
We make time for each of them, individually. A few years ago, we decided it was important to divide and conquer. Some days I'll take my youngest while my husband takes our oldest and then we will switch. We go off and do something fun, it could be as simple as visiting the local animals at the farm, having a picnic or going for a bike ride. We could be just hanging out and talking, doodling, anything that makes them feel listened to and heard. On a side note, I recently read an article that talked about how important it was to actually listen to your tweet/teen. They don't want to be interrupted, and sometimes - just like us, they need to just be HEARD. LISTEN to them. They know when they're not really being listened to and there's a real difference. This special time we make with our children allows us to really give them our undivided attention.
I also have these journals for both of them. It's a place for just us, so even if we don't have a special day planned, and life seems busy, we can pass this back and forth. It's a good way to keep the line of communication open. It helps when life gets in the way, you can still connect! Just Mom and Me is also a fun book from American Girl (psst they have Just Dad and Me too!). The Care and Keeping of Us is another great one!
We make time for them. There's great strength in the bond of a sibling. We encourage them to play, to talk, to spend time with one another. They share something no one else does, and that's pretty special. It's important for them to take the time to be with one another.
We make time for our family. We know it won't always be this way but right now, our children are perfectly happy being with us. They enjoy doing family activities so we make a point to carve out time for the four of us. We play board games, we go for a hike, we make dinner together. This is important bonding time, these are the memories I hope they'll cherish and look back on when they're grown.
We make time for the two of us. We plan for that too. We make a point to have dinner after the kids go to bed some nights, we turn off the TV and talk or watch a movie we've been hoping to see. It's important to make time for yourself as a couple, these years flyby and before we know it, our kids will be grown so it's also important to foster your relationship and be communicating. That connection is at the heart of it all and deserves attention too.
I make time for me. To be honest, there's not a lot of it but sometimes I just shut the door and read or take a few minutes to regroup and be solo. For a Mom, this could be a rare occurrence but it's important and will help the rest of your day. A cup of mid afternoon coffee or tea is as effective (at this point for me) as a trip to the spa. On a sidenote, I like to get a pedicure at least once a year, just to treat myself. Take care of you, when you feel taken care of, it's easier to take care of others!
Please note, this isn't a sponsored post, I'm just sharing some things that we use! What works for you?