I frequently find myself having chats with friends curious about large families, especially when it comes to relational investment. How do you make your kids feel valued? How do you ensure they get the attention they need? How do you afford the energy for it all? The truth is, it can get tricky; even trickier with a blended family. Regardless of how many children and what kind of dynamic your family has, it is important to develop relationships with your kids, relationships that are unique to just you and them. The easiest and most fun rhythm I’ve found for this? Dating my children.
Getting alone time with the kids is crucial for me. Sometimes, it’s as extravagant as a cooking class. Other times, it’s as simple as a grocery run. I haven’t started this tradition with the twins yet, but it’s become my favorite day of the week if I get to sneak away with one of the boys for an hour or two. The quieter time while we drive and the slower pace while we’re out create a breeding ground for juicy, life-giving conversation. I smile when a kid asks a sensitive question, grateful that he’s brought it my way instead of wondering or worse – searching the wrong places for answers. I laugh when a kid points out something that proves he’s noticed me, even when I thought he wasn’t paying attention. I hold my breath when a kid shares something he’s been thinking or dreaming about, honored to be solo audience to a thoughtful soul and a wild imagination for a few minutes.
I come away from these little dates floating a little higher, honored with the responsibility of motherhood. There is something powerful in seeing a child respond to the realization that they’re being seen, heard, and valued. These opportunities tend to overflow into the hard places, too. Patience springs up when I need it, because I know each of these kids is a treasure chest waiting to be opened and explored and celebrated.