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.
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?