Friday, November 20, 2009

All Kids Are Not Created Equal

I've been a bit obsessed and freakish about trying to make things equal between my four boys.  Recently, my emotional side came to the realization that my logical side was right.  I have spent so much time trying to make sure that each boy had my undivided attention for a little each day.  This is time that is separate from homework time and clean up time.  It is just Mommy time.  Trying to make sure that each child doesn't feel less loved than the other or doesn't feel left out, has left me pretty darned pooped and emotionally depleted.  Each one is different and special because of it.  Different people have different needs.  They have always shown me when they need more from me and in what areas.  Instead of trying to force them into my daily plan, I have decided to let them dictate their needs to me, well somewhat anyway.

My oldest was an only child until he was six.  He is sensitive and quiet and very bright.  He understood that when his two little brothers were babies they needed a lot of attention.  We were finally getting into a good comfort zone as the youngest got a bit older and wouldn't ya know it I got pregnant again.  It took me a long time to realize how torn he was between being happy and feeling like it would mean even less time with me.  Now, since the middle two go to bed an hour and a half before him, we have plenty of time to catch up or read together or whatever.  He is great with just knowing that I'm there, even if he chooses to spend his free time doing fun things instead.  So as far as time goes, he's covered.

I was more worried about my second born.  I got pregnant with number 3 when he was only six months old. He has never really had me to himself.  I have tried to squeeze in special time with him to make up for that.  The thing is, it isn't like with my first who was used to having me all to himself.  Number 2 is happy to get love and really seems to enjoy the time I spend with him helping with his homework.  It seems to be enough for him.  He has enough of my time to feel important and when he needs more he comes and spends time with me rocking the new baby and telling me about his day. It's funny, if I ask about his day he never has much to say.  He only talks when he's in the mood to.

Number three is my little mushball.  He is very sensitive.  With the older two in school this year, he has me mostly to himself all day.  He is happy to help with the baby when he can.  He sits with me for awhile after the baby's morning feeding and he just snuggles.  The days we're running all over town and he skips his daily snuggle, he tries to squeeze it in later and it is hard for him to understand that I can't just stop helping with the homework, or stop cooking dinner just to snuggle.  Those are the times my heart breaks a little.  How do you tell your kid that you don't have time for love.  Anyway, I'll usually let him stay up an extra ten or fifteen minutes just rocking him in the rocking chair.  That seems to do the job.

Having a 3mo old that is breastfed makes it very obvious that kids of different ages are not at all equal.  The baby relies on parents for everything, so they take priority(for the most part) and we work around that with the others.  Letting the bigger ones help me with baby tasks has helped them bond with the little one and though it may take a bit longer, it is awfully sweet to watch how gentle they can be.  I think that settling into this perspective will ease some of my late afternoon stress.  Unfortunately, it is all too easy to feel like an inadequate parent over things that the kids barely notice.  All I know is that if I'm less stressed, the whole house feels a bit lighter and you can't beat that.


shaz said...

wow it is very hard to handle 4 children but after reading your post i feel great about you and your new policy sounds good

PrttyBrd said...

Thank you so much! It's a good thing that the good far outweighs the bad when it comes to kids. It's great to see how different they all are.

Seema Syed said...

Definitely having kids is being blessed. You have a nice blog out there.