Herald-Whig

Is my child getting enough from me?

Posted: Jul. 25, 2018 2:05 pm Updated: Aug. 8, 2018 12:17 am

As I get ready for bed and look at the Birkenstock tan on my feet I'm well aware, we are halfway into summer. We've been busy and accomplished a lot. Not that business always equates to productiveness, but as far as the kids are concerned we've ticked a lot of the boxes of things we wanted to do this summer. It's the end of another long day, and I can't help but wonder, even though we are accomplishing goals:

º Are the kids getting enough?

º Are we having enough meaningful conversations?

º Am I hugging them enough?

º Are we spending enough time in each other's presence not consumed with a to do list or an agenda or social media?

Right then and there I want to go check in with my oldest. Should we be laying together and talking about our day? Maybe she has feelings that she'd like to share. Then again, I don't want to force anything and make her come to me on my terms. I find her reading and not really needing me. I let her be and check in with the more needy offspring. They will demand hugs and kisses with their tuck in and then one more round of hugs and kisses. Just one more.

The neediest, who isn't actually my youngest, will say things like "we never get to spend time together or get enough cuddle time." Uh, where were you all day? I spend every waking moment with you, and we talk all day. It's getting you to stop that's the trick. Just because I won't share my bed with you doesn't mean I don't give you enough. Mommy needs time too.

I think we all, within reason, give each of our kids what they need, and those needs all look different. It's the lone rangers I worry about the most. I'm okay with not being needed, but I'm not okay with them needing something and not feeling I was there. Maybe they secretly want me and can't verbalize it. Maybe they're hurting and don't know how to talk about it. I'm not sure how to handle that other than just being here and living our life together.

I guess I want my kids to know it's okay to be alone. Introverts recharge that way, but it's not okay to feel lonely. If you find yourself alone and bothered by it you need to know how to reach out. It's not okay to feel left out or unloved or loved less because you also need space. Help me help you!

I suppose that's the next meaningful conversation we need to have.