Building a Relationship with my Toddler

Building a Relationship with my ToddlerBeing a mom is tough. Add ‘full time job’ and things just got even more complicated and stressful. Quality time with my kids is usually on the weekends and it’s been a struggle over the last 4 years to juggle kids and career.

Does anyone else feel completely flustered at the start of your day? I feel rushed even before I step foot out of the house. Coffee in hand (most days), at least I’m caffeinated and ready to take on whatever comes my way. My days are demanding and often leave me with low energy and little patience. The routine repeats itself until Friday when I’m grateful (and exhausted), to have survived another week. Although who am I kidding. We usually have a packed agenda for my family of 4. But that’s what makes me happy, so it’s OK. I live for my weekends and the time with my husband & two children.

But my relationship with my oldest wasn’t always that great. In fact, it was quite challenging when he was little. He stays home with my husband and they have a super-close bond. I don’t know if it’s a boy thing, a stay-at-home parent thing. . .  probably a combination of both. But he never wanted to come by me. Daddy was the only one that could do things, fix things or simply make things right. I know he probably didn’t mean it… always wanting Daddy and never needing Mommy for anything. I just didn’t have the relationship with him that my husband did. It really started to hurt after awhile.

When our 2nd child was born, our son was 2 1/2. I was on maternity leave for the summer, so I joined a neighborhood mom’s group and started doing activities with my son. We went to local parks, play dates, the library and explored Tampa Bay activities like the Glazer Children’s Museum. I looked forward to each new adventure and I could tell he was enjoying it too. It took pretty much my entire maternity leave, but it was the perfect age for us to bond and connect. By the time I headed back to work, he was hopping on my lap and really needed me. Something I hadn’t felt since he was a baby.

Bonding at the Park!

Taking a break at All Person’s Park!

That summer of 2014 was very special, not only because our daughter was born, but because I built the foundation for a life long bond with my son that wasn’t there before. He was at an age where he was really comprehending. Spending time 1×1 together gave me undivided attention with him and vice versa. He wasn’t torn between Daddy and Mommy, but had the chance to develop his own relationship with me independent of his relationship with Daddy. I know as a working Mom I have to make the extra effort. And I do. It’s THAT important.

He probably won’t remember all of the things we did, but I have the memories etched in my mind and snapshots of the special times we had in the Tampa Bay area that summer. Some of my favorites places were All Person’s Rotary Park in Brandon. They have a great splash pad, that’s perfect for hot, summer days! We also frequented the Bloomingdale Library for free toddler classes. Check out your local library for class schedules.

Working is my choice. I am a better mother for it, but being close with my children is equally as important as my career. Working hard at my career means nothing if I have no one to share it with. While I was building an incredible relationship with my 2 1/2 year old that summer of ’14, a beautiful baby girl was born and she’s approaching 2 this May. My connection with her is already a lot stronger, but I still look forward to our ‘girl time’ and having our own special relationship.

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