Speaking as a mother, sometimes I just have to even the odds. You know what I mean?
Normally, I’m juggling the needs of five kids, well six if you count Dave, and the demand of several businesses and trying to do it all while making sure each person feels they are the most important.
It can be tricky…a juggling act for sure, to say the least. Even though I’ve chosen to have a full schedule with many demands (and to be honest, I thrive on it) I feel it’s super important for those I love to feel like they are the most important to me — which can be especially difficult to manage so many expectations.
So, I’ve come up with a super hack to be sure I fill my kids’ buckets, or top off their attention reservoir, so to speak. What’s my secret? ….one-on-one trips! Or dates will do the trick too!
You see, I love to travel, and naturally so do my kids. They’ve been raised to fly on planes, sleep on trains, live out of the RV…whatever adventure I can dream up, they are generally on board (no literally, we just got off a cruise!) - ha!
But sometimes, I need just a little one-on-one time with a single child, or with Dave, to change the dynamics completely. Recently, I took Sophie on a trip to NYC with me and we had a blast together, from the plane ride to walking through times square, shopping, eating dollar pizza, catching a Broadway show and touring Ground Zero.
It’s so fun to be able to focus just on one child and see THEM completely.
I often will combine this with business trips, so I can knock out two birds with one stone. The kids understand that mixing a little business with pleasure is what makes the money tree go round and pay for the trip, so they are more than happy to comply with the terms.
She hardly minded the business training we conducted during the day, a cool tradeoff for all the fun she was having!
It’s also good for the kids to learn to be happy for the sibling getting to travel, exercise patience waiting for their turn, and understand that as a member of a family, there’s a time and place for each person to get their needs met. I simply can’t be everything to everyone all the time, and my kids have learned independence as they’ve adjusted to times when I’m not home and have learned to love and be loved by others who are caring for them in my absence.
It’s common to feel overwhelmed, or out of balance, or like you’ll never meet everyone’s expectations.
But guess what?
You can take control and do something about it. First, realize that balance doesn’t exist at all times. There’s a time and season for everything, and sometimes you can choose to put your focus on one thing and trust the rest will be ok.
Even though I’ve often—actually more honestly I ALWAYS have a measure of angst when leaving my kids….I have never returned to find them not ok, and even better for the lessons they learn in my absence. Not to mention the amazing bonding that happens when I choose to focus one-on-one with a child.
You can do this with any important relationship in your life. Give them the gift of your time, and focus, and find a way to make it work in your busy life.
They will be better, and so will you. And trust me, you’ll be glad you took the time.