I am not a girl who does things by halves. If I am going to do something, I am going to do it massive stylee. So when I wanted children I decided I was going to have lots of children. Initially I had imagined a small herd of children, possibly dressed in Von Trap style outfits, singing harmonies to my Julie Andrews.
One child later and I downgraded that plan to four. Four children, all well behaved, playing boardgames around a table while I bake bread and knit jumpers. Another child in and my husband and I had a rethink and decided that three would be our number. I was a little concerned that I would forever regret stopping at three, this was before number three was born mind.
Now three children in and I cannot possibly imagine how people accommodate more than three. I am seriously stretched. Children are hard work, and I am not the most patient girl at the best of times.
The other thing that challenges me, with three children, is making sure they all get enough time and attention to flourish. I try to make sure that I spend individual quality time with each one of them. In theory I would make an hour or two every couple of weeks, for each child, to give them my undivided attention. In practise life is hectic and I barely find time to do this for one child, let alone all three.
Recently I have taken my eldest to dinner and movie. It was wonderful, he blossomed with the attention and we had a wonderful bonding time together. Back home and my middle was jealose and vying for my attention the only way he knows how, by being incredibly irritating!
Pulling out all his best tricks like throwing himself, the other children and the furniture around. Then my absolute favourite, talking constantly about absolutely nothing!
I know why he was acting this way, he felt left out, he needed his special time. However life got in the way and it hasn’t been possible to take him out, a fact that I will rectify as soon as possible. It’s got to be said though that his attention seeking behaviour takes some patience to deal with. I’m equally sure that were this the other way around it would be my eldest driving me nuts.
It feels like each child wants all of me, more of me than it is possible to give. With three this is a challenge to say the least. Don’t misunderstand, I love my children they are the best thing I have ever done and fill me with a massive sense of fulfilment. I just want to make sure they never feel like there were too many of them, that they didn’t get what they needed from me.
So I ask you this, how do you manage? Whether you have one or twenty, how do you give them all everything they need?
I was given the advice – “Basic military strategy; never let them outnumber you” and I took that advice! No idea how you manage more than 2 – after all I only have 2 arms to cuddle* them (*restrain)
hmmm, no-one gave me that advice.
I comfort myself with the fact that we all survived on an awful lot of benign neglect – unless it was raining even when v small we were out of the house as soon as breakfast done and then out of the house all day apart from darting visits for meals before we were all dragged in screaming blue murder at bedtime!
Yes so was I, I actually think it’s a shame that’s not possible these days tbh.
Even with one I don’t feel I give enough. I can’t fathom my granny’s eleven.
Eleven!! That way madness lies, surely.
great post! We have recently become a family with three and I have to admit i was mega worried about being over stretched. particularly with my eldest being autistic (and he could quite easily take up 99.9% of my time and energy leaving 0.01% of my time to split between the other two!). I also home school the two older ones so I was worried about a new baby affecting that too. However, as long as I remain calm and relaxed (*takes deep breath*) and let lots of things go (I have three piles of washing, overflowing sink of washing up and can’t remember the last time i did the dusting), then actually we are managing. They still get there school work done and still get time to play games with mum and dad. We don’t get much 1:1 time with any of them but we never really did before we had three. I am glad i left the bigger age gap between middle child and baby though as I don’t think i could have coped well at all if they had all been very close in age. anyway great post and as you can tell by my rambling on it has given me stuff to think about! thank you x
Wow you really have your hands full! In some ways I would love to home school mine but if I’m honest if I did I would run out of energy for them very quickly.
Well I stopped at 2 with a large age gap as I know I am just not a good enough ersn to cope with more and still feel human.
I think the best way is to look after yourself. have boundries and don’t start everyday feeling you are behind or owing them a treat. its a valuable lesson of life that there are limited hours in the day and something has to give,
Could your hubby take part in the one to one time too. so its not only you trying to do it?
I was one of three, the middle child and I did feel left out. my mum wasn’t a wonderful mum like you though. not by a million miles.
At some point quite early on I discovered that, left to their own devices, my 2 older boys played very well together. They really are like best friends. As the youngest is catching up the dynamics are changing and he is joining in more and more, but he’s an independent boy and when the older boys are occupied he’s happy to play alone or make the most of my attention. I often think of myself as a facilitator for the three of them. They love eachother and get so much pleasure from one another’s company, they don’t constantly need my attention. I do make sure I get some one to one as they each attend different activities each week and of course I insist on lots of hugs. It seems to me that it just works.