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What Do You Think?

It’s More Fun To Parent One?

mother loveAs a mother of three I can say that a mother’s love does not divide, it multiples.  I love that I have three kids and would gladly have more.  Yet, I find when I am alone with just one of my children things are so different.

Yesterday I took Sawyer to Wal-Mart to look for new rain boots and I noticed something interesting.  It was something I had noticed before, but this time the thought lingered a little longer in my mind.  I seem to “love” (for lack of a better word) my children more when I am with them individually compared to when we are all together.

When it is just him and I, Sawyer acts differently, but then again, I guess I do too.  The things he says and does seem extra cute, he is always so well-behaved, and I can really feel a connection with him.  He will say something that surprises me about how smart or funny he is or he will do something new leaving me surprised and elated.

The trip was lovely as we treated ourselves to our favourite muffins at McDonald’s, and wandered the store choosing new boots, and a few extras (they had really nice Superman PJs for $10).  Even when we had to make an emergency rush across the store to the washroom it was fun.

Having fun on one of our trips together last summer.

Having fun on one of our trips together last summer.

I suppose there are a few simple reasons for it.  Most of the time I am with all three so being with him alone is going to feel more “special”.  I am more focussed because I am not dividing my attention between the three of them, and he is not dividing his attention between us.  Moreover, he probably feels more confident and at ease knowing that he has me all to himself with my full attention and patience.  I suppose I am more confident as well, because there is nothing I can’t handle from one child since I am normally navigating life with three in tow.

Everything just kind of slows down, and I enjoy every moment.Then I wonder if this is what parents with one child feel like.  Maybe.  Although, I don’t remember feeling that way with Sawyer before the twins were born, but its all kind of blurry.  I think it might have something to do with perspective though.I have also had similar experiences when it is just me with the twins.  I feel more connected with them, we have more fun.   I remember a couple of weekends ago when Sawyer and Daddy were at the movies thinking to myself how easy it would be if I “just” had twins.  Then I laughed to myself, how many people would ever say that?  Well, again, it’s all about perspective.

I know it isn’t a big deal, and I am sure there are others out there who notice the same thing (there are right?) but it still seems to bother me.  I feel like it is a sign that I should be working harder to achieve that bond and sheer joy regardless of whether I am with one, two or all three of them.  It seems nearly impossible while they are at this age since they are at such different stages, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t work towards it right?

So I am curious, what are your thoughts?  Do you notice a huge difference when you are only with one child?  Has is motivated you to try to feel that way all the time, or just to make sure you spend more one on one time with your kids?  General thoughts?

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About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Discussion

24 thoughts on “It’s More Fun To Parent One?

  1. I have three children as well and I definitely notice a difference, both in how they behave and how I react to them, when I’m one-to-one. In fact I find there’s a difference even when one child is not there, so I’m on my own with two of them. I don’t know if parents of one child feel the same, I think maybe it’s the change in dynamics that is so noticeable to us when you get a child on their own away from siblings. It is so hard to get that one-to-one time I find though, especially when they’re at school.

    Posted by A Spoonful of Style | April 28, 2014, 7:20 am
    • I agree with you. One on one time is hard for me as well because they are all so young, and probably will be a challenge with the twins. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate that you feel the same way I do. I suppose when you think about it in the scheme of things we all do it. I know I act differently around my friends vs. colleagues vs. partner, large groups vs. small groups, etc., so I guess it’s only normal they do the same. Cheers!

      Posted by Shannon | April 28, 2014, 7:36 am
  2. I feel the same when I am with one of the kids verses the three of them. I don’t really feel guilty about it, I just try to enjoy the moments we get one on one. I think that parents of one child might not appreciate the same way parents of more do. I think having more kids causes you to appreciate those one on one moments instead of taking them for granted. Not that I’m saying parents of one child take their child for granted, just that it’s easier not to when you are used to dividing your time.

    Posted by MommaNeedsCoffee | April 28, 2014, 7:28 am
    • Good point. There is nothing to feel “guilty” about at all. And it’s funny you talk about taking them for granted because I remember when I only had one and all I wanted was two and I felt like life would be so much better and that I was letting him down by not giving him a sibling LOL Perspective is a fickle thing. I think (hope) once my kids are older it will be a little easier as well because they won’t need me 24/7 (at least in the ways they do now). Have a great day 🙂

      Posted by Shannon | April 28, 2014, 7:40 am
  3. Yes, I think about this quite a bit because I have four children. I intentionally try to spend time with them one-on-one. Also, there are times that I just get to be with one child for some reason or another and it is definitely a different experience. It makes me imagine sometimes what it would be like if I only had one. I’m glad I have a lot of children but it’s a whole different world when you have just one.

    Posted by clothedwithjoy | April 28, 2014, 7:37 am
    • Congrats on your four to adore. It is very different when you have one (don’t know about two cause I skipped that) or three. I think, like other said, the main thing no matter what is to just enjoy each and every moment as much as you can. Be present instead of analyzing 😉 Cheers!

      Posted by Shannon | April 28, 2014, 7:43 am
  4. Orange was my closest little buddy before the twins. We did everything together. On my days off of work, we rarely stayed home often at the park or library or doing some girls shopping. I don’t have that flexibility any more. I feel like my sensory system is fried from overload of being needed so much at once. Every once in awhile I do a group activity with all three and I see that magic of attention all split equally and beautifully and it really is fun but I don’t hesitate to separate them for alone time either because I honestly think that’s really important for their bond with me. (And daddy for that matter too.) Kind of like dating. If hubby and I never got alone time, we’d be in sore shape!

    Posted by Heather C | April 28, 2014, 8:26 am
    • Great comment on so many fronts! I completely get that “overloaded” feeling too! We always used to be out having fun and now just going for coffee is an ordeal. It is especially tough when they are young because it’s hard to find activities they can all do. And you are right. Even if it’s not a lot I think one on one time is very important . For your kids…and your husband/wife 🙂 cheers!

      Posted by Shannon | April 28, 2014, 8:45 am
  5. We only have one, so I really have no clue what you are talking about 🙂 That said, reading your article reminded me of a moment from last weekend that’s very distinctly etched in my memory and I wanted to share it for some perspective from the other side of the fence.

    Having just one, there have been more than enough times in our lives when my daughter is playing by herself or with me, and I wonder (sometimes with some sadness, sometimes just idly), how nice it would be if she had a sibling to play with. Last week though she had a nasty fall and hurt her jaw badly (we had to get 3 teeth extracted — all baby teeth, thank goodness). While I was tending to her, and helping her deal with the pain, I had one of those rare moments of thinking “I can’t imagine how I would have dealt with this, if I had a little one tugging at my feet right now. Thank goodness, we have just one.”

    So, I think with just one, most often, our musings are on the other end of the spectrum — wondering what it would be like if we had more. That said, there are definitely times when having just one, and being able to give all your attention to that one, feels just right.

    Posted by Sumitha (@afineparent) | April 28, 2014, 10:10 am
    • I am so sorry to hear about your daughter! I am glad she is okay. You are right. I have always wanted twins and when my son was born I was so overwhelmed I remember thinking thank GOD I didn’t have twins! Then two years later I was thinking THANK God I have twins lol There is no right or wrong way, better or worse way, just our way and that is the only way we know 🙂 Big hugs to you and your daughter (and never ever feel like you may have let her down by not giving her a sibling).

      Posted by Shannon | April 28, 2014, 10:35 am
  6. absolutely Shannon!! Think about the differences in your children. Each one of them connects with you differently and you with them. Their Dad connects with them differently too. And you definitely need to form a connection with your children, a one on one type of connection. You and your child will act differently, because they aren’t competing with anyone else for attention. They know you and they are connected. We have 9 kids and we do not have one on one “dates” with our kids. We do however, make an effort to spend time with each one separately, at least to have a conversation and make a connection.
    blessings!
    vicki

    Posted by vrein11 | April 28, 2014, 3:48 pm
  7. I notice that individually they behave better, but I am sure that is because twins feed off each other (particularly in public!). Great post.

    Posted by timelessmama | April 28, 2014, 5:53 pm
    • Actually the twins are fine LOL. I see why it’s easy to treat them like one child (mind you there personalities are like night and day). I’ll shut up now cause it will probably get like that once they are older 😉 thanks for reading.

      Posted by Shannon | April 28, 2014, 6:22 pm
  8. I, too, have three children. They are a bit older than yours (13, 12, and 10), but I still notice a difference when I have just one or two as opposed to all three. I am able to focus on that one. It just brings a whole new dynamic. We work hard to have one-on-one time with ours, but while the theory is great, the practice just wasn’t that practical until they were a little older, maybe when my youngest was four or five. I love all three together – they are entertaining to watch – but I also treasure the moments when I can really focus in on one child at a time.

    Posted by rgemom | April 28, 2014, 7:22 pm
  9. This is such a fascinating perspective. We’re expecting our second child in September, and I am already worried/wondering/excited to see how the dynamic within our family will change, how it will feel to mother not just my daughter but my daughter and her sibling, too.

    Posted by Jillian Kuhlmann | April 28, 2014, 9:50 pm
  10. I loved this post. My third arrived 7 months ago and I find the hardest thing is attending to everyone’s needs when they occur all at the same time.
    The other day I spent a lot of quality time with the older two kids and the eldest told her dad that it was a great day. I asked her what she meant and she replied “I got to spend all day at the park with you”. Almost brought me to tears.

    Posted by Dr. Mom | April 29, 2014, 9:24 am
  11. There is definitely a big difference! So much so that my kids and I regularly have date night where it’s just me and one of the kids. It does feel like there is less of a rush and I’m able to really bond more with whom ever I’m with. My 12 year old son will usually hold my hand on the drive home!

    Posted by The Farmer's Daughter | April 30, 2014, 3:40 am
  12. This is a beautiful post and I can relate to it in so many ways. I think we mums shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We analyse if we do – and we analyse if we don’t – and in both scenarios we still come back feeling guilty or unsure. I guess it’s becoz we care enough to analyse though…I think (hope) 🙂

    A Nice read!

    Posted by Home Truths | May 18, 2014, 9:06 am
    • Thanks for the compliment! You are very right, once you become a parent you start to over think everything and really we should spend less time thinking and more time doing. Best wishes.

      Posted by Shannon | May 18, 2014, 9:08 am

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