My Children Are Individuals

As a mom of three children I am acutely aware that it is easy to think of my children as a collective whole rather than as individuals.

Our children are individuals and crave individual experiences. That doesn’t mean that the experiences are alone without their siblings, though there are certainly times for that. Even when we are doing family activities, it is important to remember that they are viewing the activity in an individual way.

There are times when I don’t want to go to the park with the kids because it is just a lot of work. One thing that helps give me the energy to get out the door and to the creek is remembering that my kids aren’t thinking about this as being a big process. All they will remember is that they, as an individual, experienced the creek today.

I love having my kids close together in age. One of the areas I have to be careful about, though, is that I don’t mistake their collective childishness as poor behavior. When one child acts childish, it seems easier to just overlook it, and realize he needs to mature. When three (or more!) children act childish at the same time, it is tempting to come down hard on everyone. Or simply not take the time to take the collective childishness out for an outing.

Children are individuals. Sometimes we need to stop looking at activities or behavior in terms of the whole, and take a moment to think of it from the individual eyes of each of our children.

Me: “Stefan tell Daddy where we went today.” Stefan answers excitedly, “Daddy, I went to the park!” In that moment I am reminded yet again, my child is an individual. However much work, or noise, or chaos happens because there are three little individuals running around my house, each of them still thinks of the experience as his own.

And I am reminded once again that it is worth every little bit of work to take each of these little people to the park.

Do you ever find yourself not wanting to do something because of the exponential work of having multiple children? What do you do to overcome that?

Related posts:

  1. Teaching Our Children to be Independent
  2. My Children Are Real People

Comments

  1. Steph says:

    I only have one kiddo at the moment but I can definitely see how more kids would equal more childishness and how it would easy to want to skip a trip the park because of it. I like hearing from moms who are further down the parenting path than myself so I can learn for the future. Great topic.

    • Johanna says:

      I’m always asking and reading moms who are ahead of me too! It’s nice to prepare ourselves sometimes!

  2. Becky says:

    Thank you for this post! When the kids were younger, I failed to see this when it came to taking them out…more often than not, we just stayed home b/c it was easier. I don’t know why the disconnect from watching them at home (how they played, problem solved, imagined) being individuals: I actually LOVED that about them! They are all three SO different! Things are different now, though. Just last weekend, when we took them to a museum, it was neat to see the differences of what they found ‘cool’. No two were alike. I love my individuals :)

    • Johanna says:

      I know! I am just learning my kids personalities, but I really love watching how they come at the same situation in totally different ways! I’m looking forward to learning more about their personalities as they grow. I also love hearing from moms of older children–it gives me hope and perspective as I parent my littles. Thanks, Becky :)

  3. Oh how I an relate to this…
    Our first three were 3 in 3 years and I know exactly what you mean as far as thinking of them as a “collective”. And also can relate (especially when they were younger) to now wanting to do something because it just felt like too much work to pack everybody up and get going. I love that you are focusing on each one as an individual with different interests, needs, gifts, skills, struggles, personality…

    • Johanna says:

      I feel like I am just beginning to learn their personalities, and I am loving it! It is so amazing to see them developing into unique individuals!

  4. Oh I know the feeling. I have an older set and younger set, so I must say I’ve had a mommy’s helper for a while now. But even with just my first two – when they were younger – I remember those pangs of should we or shouldn’t we in regard to certain outings. But really, my littles were all pretty good about staying in their stroller when I needed them to. And even though we have our bewitching moments out and about even now, the feeling that we got out and enjoyed interaction with others or accomplished a task – it’s worth it. I’m not near as uptight a mom that I was with my first ones. Time is too fleeting with your little ones, I’ve learned.

    • Johanna says:

      “Time is too fleeting with your little ones: –yes, I’m learning that as well! Thanks so much for your perspective. I have definitely gotten more and more relaxed with each child! It’s freeing actually.

  5. We have a toddler and one on the way. I recently had a rough time taking my daughter to the park. I can totally see myself being tempted to skip the park when there is double trouble. I’ll try not to give in to that temptation.

    • Johanna says:

      Oh, there are plenty of times when I stay home…but I try to remind myself about how much fun they have. It motivates me…most of the time anyway. ;) And congrats on the pregnancy!

  6. Kristi Lee says:

    Adorable pictures!!! Good post, thanks for sharing!

  7. Lindsay Reimer says:

    Curious question: where is that creek that you go to?

  8. åslaug says:

    I really like your blog! We just have one (but oh, what a precious one he is =) 7 months old. But we wusn’t planning on him being the only one, so this is stored away for someday… also liked your other post on raising children with different personalities. Especially your point that they were given to YOU.

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