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Divided Attention: Parenting Multiple Children

Mom full hands full heart Des Moines Moms BlogI am three months into this parenting two children thing.

Not going to lie, this is no joke. It is not for the faint of heart.

My oldest is three and was relatively self-sufficient when our second girl was born. She is potty trained during the day, can easily communicate her needs, and can somewhat entertain herself.

I expected the transition to be difficult. I knew I would reach a new level of exhaustion.

What I didn’t expect was the mom guilt of spending significantly less time with my toddler than I used to. I’ll be honest, it has been hard for both of us.

Since I work full time, I have to be intentional about spending one on one time with her. I try to make her feel included when I am spending time nursing or changing her baby sister’s diaper. My attention is divided, but I don’t want either of my girls to feel like they are being slighted for the sake of the other.

Which is easier said than done.

“You always put me to bed,” I hear her tell my husband as I get ready to nurse and put the baby to bed.

I feel a pang in my heart and that twinge of mom guilt kick in. I want to swoop in and make everything better, but I also need to let my husband help and be a parent, too. My attention also needs to be focused on my husband as my spouse and my partner.

My attention is divided, and it is hard. I am a people pleaser by nature and find it difficult to leave someone hanging or disappointed.

But in life, it just happens sometimes. And I have to realize that it is OK.

divided attention multiple kids

Guess what? We cannot be in two places at once. We cannot give 100 percent to multiple people or tasks at the same time.

Sure, as mommas we were born to multi-task, but that doesn’t mean we give our entire selves to everything we do. Because in doing so, we will be burning the candle at both ends. And nobody wants that.

As mommas, we have to realize we cannot be everything to everyone 24/7. Our attention is divided. Our to-do list is never-ending. Our lives are chaos.

But you know what?

In the midst of the crazy, it is beautiful. Sure, my three-year-old tells me she misses me. But she also tells me “I love you” and gives me hugs and kisses multiple times a day. And she says, “I love being with you” when we spend time together.

When I am with my toddler, she has my attention. She knows she is special and she is loved.

The baby’s face lights up, and she smiles when she sees me. She buries her face in my neck when I hold her close. She babbles and tells me stories about her day. She shows me her latest tricks and everything she is learning about the world around her. When I am with my baby, she has my attention.

My husband shows me and our girls affection. He is quick to react and is always the one my three-year-old goes to in the middle of the night. He gives me chocolate just because (he knows I need it), and he gives me grace when I feel less than perfect.

My husband is tireless in his efforts to care for our family. We don’t get a lot of one-on-one time together these days, but when we talk and spend time together, my husband has my attention.

I’m not able to give 100 percent to everyone at the same time, but my family knows they are loved.

Having two kids is a new reality, but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. My attention may be divided, but my heart has never been more full.

How do you divide your attention between multiple kids?

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