Going Solo: Days with Only One Kid

Happy Friday, peeps!

I seem to have settled into a groove of getting a blog post up every Friday, so I’m sticking with it. Patterns and schedules keep me sane (Type-A represent!).

The weather here has been downright horrendous. It’s been so cold that we haven’t gone much of anywhere since last week. That wasn’t so bad when we were having family time over the weekend, but now I’m downright fed up. Don’t even get me started on the Bomb Cyclone that buried our house in three-foot snow drifts and cancelled school today and tomorrow. Once the holidays pass, Winter and I do not get along.

If you saw my Instagram post yesterday, you know that our little guy went for a solo trip to Grandma and Grandpa, since his school doesn’t start back up until next week. Well, in came the Bomb Cyclone, and instead of getting him back home today, he’s still there and will be hunkering down until it’s safe for us to pick him up. I miss my little guy and his snuggles. But he’s in good hands and is being spoiled rotten, so it’s all good in the big picture.

Before Christmas, our daughter went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for her solo visit. Having these visits so close to one another got me thinking about having one kid versus two (in terms of logistics, not philosophically – I love having two kids). In some ways, the one-kid days are easier, and in other ways, they’re harder.

Here are my thoughts (in list form…duh):

Easier

  • You have to contend with only one schedule. Lunch with a friend after school pick-up? No problem! We’re not running home for nap today. Need to stop at the store quick? I’ve got this, since we have nowhere else to be!
  • Getting in and out of the car a million times per day is way less annoying. Extra stops are not as annoying as they are with two rugrats. I have to hold only one hand in a parking lot. And if my one kid runs away, I can chase after him/her without dragging a small human behind me.
  • Less noise! Oh, I love this one. I struggle (a lot) with the loudness of my two kids. Somehow the decibel level quadruples when a second kid enters the room. When I’m alone with just one kid, they somehow know to keep their voices down. My house is…wait for quiet (ish).
  • Bed time is calm. Everyone says bath and story should be a nice calming times for children. Not with my two. Bath is basically a trip to the splash pad, and story is an open invitation to jump on the bed. With one kid, bedtime is like a peaceful meditation session.
  • I realize how well-behaved my kids actually are. I’ll be frank here: my kids bring out the best and worst in each other. Bad behavior and poor listening is 95-percent of the time because they’re feeding off of each other’s manic energy. When they are solo, they are angel children, and I have hope for the future.

Harder

  • They miss each other. My daughter has cried a few times because she misses her brother so much. My son was a mess without his sister when she was gone. We are so lucky that they are so close and share such a special bond. But it is heartbreaking to see them miss each other so much.
  • Boredom sets in hard. Our kids are only 21 months apart in age. As each month passes, I realize just how close in age that is. They are built-in playmates and spend every minute we are home playing with one another. And when you’re stuck inside because of the weather and don’t have your bestie to play with… you’re bored AF.
  • With no playmate, who do they look to? Mommy! Instead of building LEGO together, or playing hide and seek together, my solo kid looks to me to be his or her playmate. So that time I carved out to do work? That’s replaced with a small person tugging on my clothes begging me to play games. I call this the Barnacle Effect. It’s frankly easier to do work with the kids entertaining themselves, so my only job is to make sure someone doesn’t get hurt.
  • Neediness gets ramped up when my kids are solo. Somehow they seems to need more when one or the other is alone with me. “Mommyyyyy, I need a snack!” “Mommyyyyyy, will you sit with me?” “Mommyyyyyy, will you go potty with me?” It’s like they know I’m vulnerable and will give them extra attention because we’re having solo time. Kids are master manipulators.
  • Mommy guilt ramps up when you’re solo with just one kid. What excuse do I have to not take just one kid to do something fun? To do a craft? To cook something special and have him or her help? None. I’m just a lazy mom if I don’t, right? With two (or more) kids, activities are all exponentially harder, so it’s easier to justify not doing them.

Today was hard. And I had only one kid. The older kid. The easier kid (on most days, since the other one is a toddler). I barely made it through the day (granted, we were snowed in, which didn’t help). Parenting is hard. One kid. Two kids. Three kids. Or more.

In parenting, nothing is easier or harder. Some days are easy. Some days are hard. Some days, kid 1 is easier and then next day that same kid is harder. Some days, staying home all day is just what we need to recharge. Some days, staying home all day is sheer torture.

Keep on truckin’, mamas (and papas). No matter how many kids you have, you’re doing a good job. And if you get a “break” from one of your kids and get a long stretch of solo time with the other, try to enjoy it as much as you can, even if it doesn’t turn out like you’d hoped.

Happy weekend!

Mama out.

 



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