Consider this crazy idea…children want to be loved independently?!
I just gave myself and my oldest son the most amazing gift: a week long holiday together; just the two of us. We chose to go to London because he was born there and was also turning 6. It was important to me to share his birth experience with him now that he’s old enough to see and understand his roots. I’m first to admit this took months of planning, saving, and communicating with my husband. But, my oh my, I can wholeheartedly say it was one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had. Bear with me over the next few months because I have a feeling I will draw on this experience quite a bit, but for the sake of this post, I want to focus on one major awareness and share it w/ you Moms who have more than one child. I’m an only child and, while I loved the attention I received, I always knew that I wanted to have several children. I wanted them to experience a life of constant of sharing toys, parents, and love.
Keeping that in mind, I remember when I had my second son, Felix, my pediatrician’s main advice was whatever you do, make sure you spend at least 10 minutes a day with each son, so they feel special and connected. While I’ve always done my best to squeeze in 10 minutes, which can feel like an impossible task certain days, spending a week with my oldest son was incredibly eye opening.
As the trip got underway, I noticed he was naturally happier because he had me to himself; my undivided attention. We had time to play Legos on the floor, we could walk at a normal speed to wherever it was we were headed that day without rushing and, when it came to the evening, he didn’t have to share me at bedtime. As the trip went on, this happiness turned to strength. Over the course of few days, I saw a more confident version of my son. He didn’t seem to mind that he had to get acquainted with an old friend he hadn’t seen in a few years, nor was he bothered by the unfamiliar house or accents be spoken around him. He still seemed assertive and yet didn’t need to be first. Throughout the week, I noticed so many changes in his behavior. This new found strength fostered a greater sense of independence, and he was alright with it. In return, I experienced a sense of a freedom. I could carry on with conversations without the regular interruptions I experience when we’re together.
This entire experience reflected back to me how important it is for my children to feel loved, independant from one another.
I offer to you a few realistic suggestions on how to create this experience. Again, I’m first to admit, it takes a bit of planning, saving and mixing of responsibilities:
Communicate with your partner and ask for what you want. Discuss your desire to create this experience and requests that it be a four night minimum. This will allow you time to settle out of the daily stresses and into the flow of a proper holiday.
Decide on the location. Pick somewhere by plane, train or car that has some sort of meaning to you and your child. This will add sentimental value to your experience, which will make it even that much more meaningful.
- Make it manageable: Be realistic. You don’t have to break the bank. If you have an option to stay with friends, then do it. You will still have plenty of time with just your child.
- Communicate in advance to your other children: Leading up to the trip, remind your other children you’re taking a trip with child X, and that everyone will get a turn to have a special trip with Mama. The purpose is to spend one on one time together.
- Plan a special activity for your other children while away: Work with your partner, to plan one activity that gives them something to look forward to. Doesn’t take much for children to get excited, so don’t over think it.
- Involve your child in the trip planning: allow them to have a say in how you spend your time. This will also bring you closer together.
Lastly, set the intention to have a safe, special trip knowing that the whole purpose is to spend one-on-one time together, so whatever happens along the way, is truly for both of your highest goods.