Finding Time for 1:1 when you’re juggling 2 or more

May 17th, 2011 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in individual time with kids | motherhood | parenting | Tips and Quips | triplets
Happy little “princess” after some quality time with Dad

If more than one munchkin is calling you Mom, you know how hard it can be to fit in quality one to one time. This is true as it relates to your husband, your sister, your Mom or your best friend. It is especially true when it comes to your kids and naturally, this is the area that tends to give us all the most guilt and anxiety. As a working mom of five kids six and under (including identical two-year old triplets), I really feel the squeeze but over time, have found that little things really do mean a lot. Thankfully, finding a few moments to share with each of my children individually is easier than I thought.

Quality time with your tots need not involve elaborate planning, great expense or even a huge time commitment. I’ve seen the faces of my own little tykes light up like a Christmas tree by suggestions as simple as “who wants to come walk the dog?” or “I’m going out to get milk, anyone want to join me?” or even “I need to move the car – want to go for a ride?” These minor moments offer the opportunity to share some quality time and the kids always appreciate it, even if it’s as simple as a walk to the corner — which, sadly, on some days, is all our poor dog gets (his one to one time is pretty much gone!).

One day last summer, I took one of the triplets (who was 18 months at the time) with me to get a present for an upcoming birthday party. Truth be told, it was (and still is!) rare that I get one of the triplets out on his own but, it is so gratifying whenever I do that I am committed to doing so more often. On this particular day, as I walked up Main Street with Declan, I couldn’t help but marvel at what a funny little guy he is; I found that there are few things more endearing than the stream of consciousness observations that only a one and a half year old can provide: “Flower. Plane. Bye Bye! Hello! Bug. Bee. BUS! Big bus! Hello! Sky? Moon? HELLO!” And then, when we entered the toy store and he set his eyes upon a stuffed bear the size of his Dad, “Wow! WOW, WOW, WOW!”

The reality is that I enjoy our “alone time” as much as the kids do. My husband Des and I do our best to create quality time out of routine tasks… picking up Friday night take-out has become my daughter’s date night with Dad; all it takes is fifteen minutes and a Shirley temple and my feisty four year old returns a new little lady. We also try to plan a special day out for each our kids – it might be an annual trip to Yankee Stadium for my six year old, a trip to the zoo with my daughter and time will tell what we come up with for the triplets. For now, they are content when their one to one time is a trip to the pediatrician for an ear infection; given how low their standards are, we have nowhere to go but up! Or, perhaps, we have nowhere to go at all… a recent Sunday afternoon with just one little fella in a bubble bath proved to be, well, in his mind, a real splash!

So, if you struggle like I do with finding time to squeeze it all in, just remember that the little things matter most. Your kids will be grateful for any window of time you give them… and, hopefully, your husband, sister, Mom and best friend will realize that for now, they just may have to wait!

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