Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Making Time for One-on-One Time

I love having 3 kids.  I came from a family of 3 and I knew I always wanted to have a big family.  Having 3 kids is fun.  It's loud.  It's chaotic most of the time.  It's busy.  I feel like I'm always breaking up fights, but in between the arguing are these amazing connections and relationships.  They know how to push each other's buttons and aggravate the tar out of each other, but they also are the first to be a cheerleader to each other and stick up for one another.  They play games together, they make up games together.  They work together, encourage each other, and then they fight some more.

When I first found out I was pregnant with Blondie (also know as the middle child), my first reaction was that I was guilty.  I knew that my one-on-one time with Little Mama would come to an end and I felt really sad about that.  Fast forward a year and those two girls had a sisterly bond like nothing I've ever experienced since I had two brothers.


They were thick as thieves and then little Boo-Boo came along.  He somehow found is place in the family and loved playing the role of the baby of the bunch.  The sibling dynamics between the three are so interesting for me to observe and while most of the time we all love being together, I have found the older they get that the kids need (and crave) one-on-one time. 

In fact, just last week Boo-Boo told me that he wished our family was just me, the Mr. and himself, "with no girls."  I know he doesn't really mean that, but what he was trying to say was that he loved the time spent with just me or Mr.  He's actually quite lucky because I do get the most one-on-one time with him right now.  He has time in the morning before pre-school and this is often one of my favorite parts of the day.  We get cozy on the couch and watch cartoons for a little bit. It's so sweet and he is so snuggly in the mornings.  


We also have the afternoons after pre-school while the girls are still at school. 



He also has Friday's off, so that is another whole day for us to spend together.  He loves lunch dates at Chick-fil-a, he loves playing board games, he will ask me to read to him or he is my little assistant around the house.


 I love my time with him and love that he makes me slow down and take time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life...like making wishes and discovering all sorts of treasures.  


I really want to make the girls feel like they have this special time with me, too.  They often get lumped together because I will take them with me to do something, leaving Boo-Boo with Mr. It's fun because we have a girls outing and a boys outing, but the girls are still getting the short end of the stick and I have really been trying to make an effort to find ways to spend one-on-one time with each of them.  Because my husband often travels a good bit for work or works long hours, it's hard to always sneak away with just one kiddo to have alone time, but I've been finding other ways to get in that much-needed time.  

At School
One way I have found to get some individual time with them is at school. I'm lucky enough to be able to volunteer in their classes or even just have lunch with them.  Yes, their friends are around at these times, but because it isn't their siblings they really love it.  When I go to lunch with one and not the other they always act like it is our little secret and I know that makes them feel special.  I often don't tell them when I will be there so it is even more fun and exciting when they see me.  


Just last week I went on a field trip with Blondie's class.  I loved hanging out with my girl and she loved having me all to herself.  


At Home
I try to do little things like let just one of them stay up maybe 30 minutes later than everyone else.  Even if I just go in their rooms and have a heart-to-heart chat about anything they want to talk about, they think this is really fun and again, it's our little secret.  No need to make a big deal about it to the other two and cause someone is bound to get upset if they found out.  

Little Mama and I like to sneak away in the afternoons and paint our nails together.  Blondie usually doesn't want to sit still long enough to do hers, so this is a special time with just my biggest girl and I.  


When I told Little Mama about the matching Mother-Daughter tunics we would get to wear she was over the moon.  It was something just for us that we got to do together and she loved every second of our matching afternoon.  


We also bond over our love of cute clothes.  While Blondie often prefers the sportier look, Little Mama loves dressing up and is really into what she wears.  Picking and planning outfits is a special time for us.  On this day we were both excited about our Lilly!  


Blondie loves to help me cook or bake so when the other two are busy doing something else, I will call her to come help in the kitchen.  


At Sports 
As much as I think it would be fun to have kids involved in the same sports and on the same teams, I am SO happy that they have each found their own way.  Their interests are different and so they like being involved in different sports.  We often have to divide and conquer on the weekends in order to make it to all of the games on time and I like taking this time to give each of them some one-on-one time. Even if it is just a quick drive over to the soccer fields and letting them pick out the fun music for the car ride, it's all about making them feel like the most special one at that moment.

Running Errands
It doesn't even have to be anything extra fun a special outing to make them feel special.  If I run an errand on the weekend I will ask one of them if they want to come with me.  Hudson gets lots of errand running time with me, but the girls love being the only one to help me grocery shop.  They'll take charge of the list and mark items off as we find them and sometimes we even sneak in little treats.  


In Pictures
As silly as it may sound, even just taking pictures with each of them at different times is a small moment of one-on-one time.  I love trying to get pictures of me with all three of them (although someone is almost always not cooperating) but they absolutely LOVE getting their picture made with just me.  It doesn't matter if we are all together or not...just grabbing one of them to come sit by me on the boat or on the hayride at Halloween gives us a few minutes to chat and grab a pic.


Another perfect example was at the zoo a few weeks ago.  I tried to make special moments with each of them.  I may constantly be running out of storage on my phone, but those kiddos are so happy to have a picture with just me, so I'm going to keep snapping away.




Next year I would love to try to take them out of school a little early for a special date with mom.  Unfortunately, the end of the school year business doesn't allow for that to happen before summer break, but I am going to log the idea for next year.  If anyone has other ideas I would love to hear them.  :-)  With summer coming I'm about to have all of them home all day, every day, but I hope to still find some ways to sneak in special time with each of them!  
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