I was chatting with a mom friend recently when I shared something I have thought a million times but never actually said out loud. Brace yourselves…
“I feel like a better mom when I am dealing with one child at a time.”
Yep, that’s what I said. Now my friend is a mom of one so while she has no personal experience with the daily in and out of mothering two little ones, her response was funny and true for me too. She said, “I’m barely keeping it together with one, I can’t even imagine two.”
Now that’s a response a frazzled mom of two can appreciate. No criticism, no suggestions, just a simple honest response from her perspective. I can dig it.
About this whole mom of two thing…
It is hard.
Not that I thought it would be easy but here I am
21 20 months. You see that crossed out 21? That’s exactly what I mean. I can’t tell you how many times I have told someone baby is 21 or even 22 months old. He is not! Saying 1 is what I prefer but then people ask so many questions “really? he looks more like 2″, ” Just one?” and so on. So yeah the whole age by month thing works out better. Anyway, the details slip by some of us juggling multi little people.
And that’s not all. On a good day, I feel a level of anxiety that I’m sure causes health issues in the long run. Is everyone ok? Does everyone feel loved? Paid attention too? Have they eaten enough? Do they really love me? And on and on. While these same questions were on my mind when it was just me and Zoe, they have doubled now that Baby E has joined my crew and the anxiety has gone up 10 fold.
So when I say I feel like a better parent when I am with one child at a time, I mean it. No, I don’t want to “give back” Baby E. I love me some him and he is just what our family needed to complete our circle. So don’t think I have regrets about him. I don’t.
What I know is that when I am with one of my children at a time, I feel more relaxed, more engaged, more focused and less stressed. I feel like even the littlest gesture goes so much further with either Z or Baby E. For example, Zoe loves to take pictures. A few days ago it was Spirit Day at her school. As a surprise I put on the school shirt too so we could match and she could see that mama is all in on Spirit Day. She loved it and asked to take a picture with me. Aren’t we cute?
I thought about that moment and realized if Baby E was awake at that time, the pic may not have happened. Or I would have been darting my eyes making sure he wasn’t running off down the driveway or he would have been in the pic (not a bad thing but it was a moment for Zoe and I).
And then with Baby E. He loves, loves, loves his cars and Brown Bear (the book). Zoe loves cars too so obviously “fights” break out when one of them wants the car the other one has. But when Baby E and I are alone and we play cars, he can pick any car he wants and proceeds to use me as his driving course. I make all the car and traffic sounds and he’s all in. Little moments of fun just the two of us.
So yes, I feel like a better parent when I am one on one with each of my kids. How often does this one on one time happen? Not very often but I cherish the moments for them and for me (and for my sanity).
I’d love to hear from you moms of two or moms of more than two especially if they are toddlers/preschoolers. Do you rock at this mom of two thing? How do you balance it all? Share some tips for those of us that constantly feel on the edge.