As a mommy of 7, notably all daughters, there are times when I can sense that one of my girls is craving a bit of “mommy and me time”. With two teenagers ages 14 and 13, a 10 year old and the 6, 4 and 2 year olds, (plus my 2 month old latest addition), it is easy for one of the girls to feel a bit distanced from me when they are in a large household like my girls are – with a very busy mommy?
I also know full well from my own experiences that it is also easy for a child to crave that special individual bonding time if #mommy works at a demanding corporate job as well; I have certainly had those years. And though my time is more flexible now working from home a majority of each year; for some reason my schedule is still very often overwhelming because I have taken on the household chores as well. When I am out in the working world we have a nanny; when I work from home we try to use that as an opportunity to save some money and so I take up the chores.
Being a mommy is definitely a balancing act and we can be quite hard on ourselves if something gets missed no matter how much we try to play cool about it. What can we possibly do when our mommy schedule gets so busy that the ones we do it all for miss us while we are right there?
I had to become very creative to work this one out; I operate a small ecommerce services firm from home, provide virtual paralegal services, trying a ting with this blog, my 7 children, and I also do temporary at-the-office assignments for firms around the Cayman Islands and provide board support to numerous stratas, funds and companies; how could I possibly spend any time with each child individually?
Is family night not enough for us all?
Spending time as a family is what we all should be doing, right?
Of course it is, it is extremely important to do this and equally important for mommy to spend some time with each of her children on an individual bases.
Finding ways to spend special one-on-one time with your child/ren provides valuable opportunities for each child to share thoughts and concerns directly with you which they may not want to discuss around other siblings or family members.
Just as mommy and daddy want alone time together to reconnect sometimes; the children also want alone time with their parents to do the same. I simply knew I had to figure out how to squeeze mommy and me time for each of my 7 daughters – especially for my teenagers who will often have things to talk about that they do not want to discuss or we know would be inappropriate to discuss around the younger girls.
After analyzing my schedule, I realized that the whole thing would obviously have to be adjusted and I would have to learn to become more flexible. You see, as a skilled paralegal I am trained to be super detailed and time conscious and trying to do this in my #momlife with seven kids really was not a good idea for many reasons.
I had to figure out how to do my daily exercises to maintain my health and fitness for my family, to manage our home businesses, cook, clean and take care of the babies, stay pretty and be a mommy at the same time. I had to incorporate each child’s mommy and me time in to the schedule with things that I was already doing and be realistic about everything. Over the years I have managed to find crafty ways to do this, and here is how I try each day to make it work.
Jogging together –
Whenever I get the opportunity to go on my daily jog I bring along one of my 4 eldest daughters and we jog together and talk about the day, life, school, friends; all the things that these little women experience each day. Jogging together means we stay fit and health together, it teaches them to v, it helps to prepare them for sports day and the teens keep fit for their pageants and cheerleading – even if the jog is only 20 minutes we both come back visibly happy we had the moment together, alone.
Mommy and me night –
At least 3 or 4 nights a week we schedule a mommy and me night where one of the 5 eldest girls has a turn staying up half hour past bedtime to spend time with me. Depending on whose night it is there are different activities we do, for example arts and crafts, researching fun facts on a chosen topic, just chatting away, or I give her a mani/pedi, reading a book (usually for the 4 and 6 year olds) or any great bonding activity we can come up with. We do this on a schedule from oldest to youngest so that we know whose turn has come up even if we perhaps skip a week; the girls usually plan the activity we will do together on their mommy and me night too. This is one of my fave ways to spend that individual bonding time with my girls.
Shopping (of course!) –
Taking one of the girlies #shopping with me; we often head shopping as a family, but there are times that I will choose one of the girls to tag along with me to the grocery store and we can enjoy the drive there and back, as well as the whole shopping time together without the distraction of her sisters.
I guess this may not work for mommies with all boys; but each year one (sometimes two) of my girls enters a local pageant. This gives us hours of mommy and me time practicing, attending functions and picking out clothing etc. My 2 eldest daughters absolutely love these experiences and have won the highest titles in the pageants they have entered. It is such a pleasure to see our unity reap such rewards and successes for my girlies. I absolutely love being a pageant mom because the #pageants do so much for my girls’ poise and confidence.
There are so many other little stolen moments that I use to spend time with each of the girls so that they do not feel overlooked or get left “backstage” as our large, busy family goes through each day. I try to turn chores and boring activities in to fun moments of bonding, for example cooking together, or I wash and one rinses the dishes so we can chat side-by-side at the sink and make an otherwise mundane task feel much more important. Or I wake an older daughter up earlier than the others and we go to the living room and hang out in the couch, still drowsy, but happy to be alone for some warm tea together until it is time to wake the others. Some days my teen daughter will even help me as a little office assistant; this way she gets valuable work experience and special learning time with her paralegal momma.
It is especially important to spend individual time with your teenager if you already have kid/s in their teens. My experience so far with having teen daughters has been no easy task, the girls can be super moody and downright disrespectful at times; but they are still mommy’s little girls in a great big world and I want to make sure they know I am there for them no matter what.
Spending individual time with each child is so important in households with more than one; and spending united time as a #family is just as important – finding the right balance for your life is key to maintaining a close relationship with your children. As you go about each day doing your usual activities just keep asking yourself, “is this something I can get my child involved in? ”
What are your favourite ways to spend special time with your little one? Share your thoughts, tips and ideas; believe me, I need as many as I can get while raising all these young ladies! 🙂
Peace and love,