Worried about spending enough individual time with kids

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When I had my first born, he was my world.  I spent every second with him for the first three months of his life, and then went back to work part-time.  For the next 4 years he was still the center of our world and everything revolved around him.  Then the twins were born, and suddenly my time had to be split by three. I worried if I would be able to spend enough time with them individually, like I did with my oldest the first 4 years of his life.  There was one of me, and three of them, so odds weren’t very good.  I also worried, that since he was so used to having all my attention, that it would be really hard on him to watch me have to share the attention with two other children.  I didn’t want him to think I loved him any less or that I didn’t want to spend as much time with him.  This was hard for me and definitely an adjustment.

What do we do when siblings are introduced into the family?  How do we make enough time for each child to feel that they have enough of you and are loved equally by you.  It isn’t easy.  In the very beginning, when the twins ate every 3 hours and were very time-consuming, I really felt the mommy-guilt of not spending enough time with him, but luckily he never seemed to notice, or mind that they were taking a lot of my time.  However, as time went on, he did start to notice and would say things that would just break my heart, like “you spend more time with the babies than me”.  Ugh what a punch in the heart.  I would try hard to explain to him that babies required a lot of time, and that I really did want to spend more time with him.  Luckily, since the twins were babies, they didn’t know how much time I was spending with them, but since my oldest did, I started to make sure to make special time just with him whenever I could.  I would leave the twins with my husband and take him to do things, just the two of us.

I’ve tried to do this over the past three years.  I take him to do things with just him, but now the twins cry and want to go too.  I try to make time to do things with them individually also.  I love to take my oldest to do “big kid” things, and he enjoys that because when I’m alone with all three kids its hard to do those big kid things with the twins. If I go to the store I may take one of the twins with me for some individual time (since 3 year olds think going to the store is super exciting!)

Another issue that has arose, is since the twins can talk now, just getting to listen to each one individually has become a challenge because they all want to talk to me at the same time!  I feel guilty when my oldest is trying to tell me something and then the twins just start talking to me and screaming at me to listen to them because they don’t understand how to wait their turn.  I’ve been trying to teach them to wait until the other one is done talking, but they still don’t quite understand.  The most special time of the day is bedtime, because we put the twins to bed individually so we can talk and read books to each of them, and then once they are in bed we spend individual time with my oldest and talk about things that we may not have gotten a chance to talk about earlier.

My husband gave me the greatest gift for Mother’s Day this year.  He made me a video of videos we have taken of the kids over the years, set to music. It made me so sad!  I LOVED it, don’t get me wrong, but watching them as babies and seeing videos that feel like we just made yesterday, but in reality its been years, put in perspective just how FAST they have grown, and how quickly the years will continue to fly by.

It is definitely a challenge to make time individually for your kids when you have more than one and have all the other duties of motherhood.  They grow up so fast, so pausing to tell them you love them and spend time individually with each of them each day, even just for a few minutes, is priceless.  In 10 years you won’t care if your house was clean 10 years ago, but will wish you would have spend more time with your kids.

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