This post is sponsored by BUPA
Over the years I have gone through times when I am really struggling to like one of my children while feeling really loving towards my other one or two. There you go; I said it out loud. I know it is about their behaviour and not their actual person but when you are feeling annoyed and frustrated in the moment, it can be quite difficult to feel rational.
Firstly, I try to cut myself some slack because I know I am only human. I also know that at the end of the day I would give my life for any of my 3 children, no matter how I was feeling about them in one particular moment. There is a ‘hard core mum love’ that trumps all feelings of frustration and unpleasantness when we see them struggling, distressed, hurting, sick or in danger.
I have noticed, after 10 years of parenting, that there are certain ages that I struggle with more than others. How I feel about a specific child often aligns with age development. What I realise about this is it’s not personal, rather it’s developmental.
For example, I really, really struggle with toddlers. I have heard some people say how they love it once their child was out of the baby phase but for me the toddler phase was struggle street.
I have also found the period around about the age of 7 quite challenging, as my girls have appeared old enough to understand certain things and take directions, but developmentally their brains are moving from concrete to abstract, and they are going a little bit cray cray and I find myself getting frustrated at times.
But there is good news!! That 7 year old who I used to struggle with is now 10, and the last few years I have felt really connected to her despite the fact that I had felt quite disconnected from her for a while.
I am now dealing with not feeling so connected to my current 7 year old, but I live in the hope that things will change as they always do, and with time, we will feel more connected again.
It’s this strange ebb and flow of parenting, but I love that nothing stays the same and it’s constantly changing.
Through all of this, I have learnt how important it is to plan for little moments through the day where I can connect with each of my kids. I have seen it make the world of difference to all of my children over the years.
Kids aren’t naive and they can sense if we are feeling frustrated with them. I try and go out of my way in those moments to find that 5 or 10 minutes to enter their world and show up just to be with them. It’s not always easy, but I know how important it is.
For my eldest daughter it is sitting on her bed at night tickling her back for 5 minutes; for my middle daughter it’s playing a game of Uno or Guess Who or Lego; and for my youngest son it’s reading him books or jumping on the trampoline with him.
When I choose to make those things a priority, despite how I am feeling, it’s those little moments that make a big difference and if you really think about it, it’s pretty easy.
I’m really grateful to Bupa for sponsoring this post and also for the amazing work they do around helping families find those little moments of connection.
They have some amazing resources available to help inspire you with different ways and ideas to connect with your kids.
You can check out their Bupa Family Challenge here, which is a free resource designed to help you find those little moments and celebrate them with your family. We’ll be getting involved, and also looking for opportunities to get out there and connect as a family this summer.
The most important thing to remember is we don’t need to do big extravagant things that cost lots of money to connect with our kids, in fact, it really is the opposite. Those small unassuming moments where it’s a wink here, a tickle there, a silly dance, a big hug …. that’s the stuff you can’t buy that makes all the difference.