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One-on-One Time is Important to My Kids...And to Me

Last night after dinner, as my kids scattered to the four winds to play with the neighbors or ride their bikes before bath time, I found myself alone with my nine-year-old. I had dishes and laundry to tend to, but this seemed like one of those times when they need to go undone in favor of more important things, so I seized the opportunity to hang out with my son, just the two of us.

We sat on the couch together and went through old Facebook pictures and status updates – the modern version of thumbing through photo albums, I guess – and I focused on the ones specific to him, like the time he looked down his pants and yelled, “Mom! I’m getting facial hair!” We laughed and laughed, and I was able to not only reminisce about what an adorable and funny little guy he’d been, but to truly enjoy the witty, whip-smart fourth-grade version too. He leaned against me, soaking in the uninterrupted attention like a sponge. He needed these moments … and so did I.

Like most mothers of multiple children, I can barely hold a conversation with one of my kids without another swooping in to angle for my attention – a question, a tattle, a “Hey mom, look at this!” exclamation. I guess when you’ve got four kids, it’s inevitable — but it’s also frustrating. If I had a nickel for every time I had to say, “Just a minute, please, I’m talking to your brother,” I’d be on a yacht somewhere, waiting for the chef to bring me dinner. They all want a piece of me. And in the interest of convenience (I use that term loosely, but you know what I mean), they’re usually treated as one group: The Kids. We’re taking The Kids to get haircuts. We’re taking The Kids to the carnival. The Kids have appointments for dental cleanings on Wednesday afternoon.

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