live parent

Life Plus Three

All moms are unique and all moms fall into motherhood in their own way. For me it was a very thought out and planned decision; one that I took (and take) very seriously. I try and parent with as much thought and heart as I can dole out.  But because I am a parent to more than one child, it often means that I have to spread my love among my three littles. While my love is evenly strong and I love them equally, it is sometimes challenging to offer my kids my undivided attention.  I find that there is, more often than not, one kiddo who is needing more “me” one-on-one time than the others. My children are all crazy, kooky balls of independent energies. And because they are all different, their needs are all different and unique to them. As their mom, I am constantly looking for interesting ways to connect and find more individual one-on-one time with them. What works best for me is carving out time to schedule “dates.”   In all honesty, it can be HARD to schedule dates with the kids, so don’t be hard on yourself while you try to make this happen. It is truly difficult to nurture your kids, yourself, your marriage/relationships, career (and the list goes on) simultaneously. It’s O.K. to acknowledge that the juggle is not always easy!  Especially if you’re a mom of more than one like me, you know that when it comes to giving each child your undivided attention, the struggle is real. However, scheduling a special “date” is a great way to spend one-on-one time with your kids and connect with each child individually.   Why? Because every human is different, including your kids, and you have to make sure to nurture their differences and respect their natures. I love spending one-on-one time with my kids; I truly get to know the inner nuances of my sons and daughter, and love to find ways to honor each of their personalities.  Tom requests sushi nights, and often chats about his new friends and, if I’m lucky enough, I get a readers digest of the week he’s had and what he is looking forward to. He’s my sensitive and thoughtful kid, always worried about other’s feelings. Shep, on the other hand, has a penchant for hot dogs and playgrounds. He is a shy, but hilarious kiddo. Every time I chat with him I learn how creative and interesting his view of the world is. He is so quirky and so in love with his older brother it melts my heart. And, yes I get one-on-one time with Odette, mostly in the wee hours of the night when she is waking to nurse, but also on short walks during the day. I know she craves the-one on-one, too. I can tell she wants the connection (she’s number three what can I say?) because she flings her arms around me with such enthusiasm when receiving it. These moments with my kids make my heart sing. And even though it took a conscious decision most of the time, I realize how effortless the connection is and how important it is to connect not only for them, but for me as well.   How can we make date nights possible? Here are some tips on how to make your time with your children as wonderful as it can be.

  • Put these special times on a calendar (in pen! I love using a planner!!). These date nights should be as important (ideally, more) than meetings and appointments you schedule during the week.
  • Carving out time in advance allows you to prepare and ready yourself for the occasion and helps make sure you can give your undivided attention to each date night you create. The frequency can be up to you.
  • Don’t have time for dinner and a movie? All one-on-one time with your children is special. Even ten minutes alone will be beneficial to both you and your child. Spend time with each individual as often as you can– even the littlest moments can be memorable. (Collecting eggs with my son Shep, walking to get the mail with my oldest Tom, or singing with my daughter during a diaper change).  But, if you can squeeze in a special one-on-one lunch date and leave the other kids with your parents, or a sitter, go the distance. Just remind the others that it will soon be their turn, too.

  • I like to try and let my kiddos pick the activity (although I sometimes do a little persuading). Ask what your son or daughter what they would like to do. You may have a night planned with a trip to the ice cream parlor, and, though I can’t imagine this happening, sometimes he or she will just not want to do that. I like to ask the kids at the beginning of the week where they want to go on their date.  Tom without fail picks sushi and Shep usually asks for hot dogs. No matter if we have gone a hundred times or it’s the first time, I try and make sure that they feel special and heard.
  • Date nights don’t always have to be in the evening! If your child is in school, surprise him with a quick after school trip to the park or a drive by his or her favorite “treat place”.  Surprises are always fun and exhilarating, no matter what they are.
  • What I’ve also learned is to leave the iPhone in my purse and give them my full attention.  It’s difficult for me to be present while checking my phone for social media, texts and emails.  I find that if I am fully invested and engaged my kids feel appreciated and we bond and connect better.
  • Oh, and please don’t forget Dad. Dads should have date nights with the kids, too. Moms often get to have more time with their kids, especially if they stay or work at home, so it’s extra important that fathers get involved. Since Jared is away a lot, “Daddy-time” is incredibly precious. I know for Jared, he likes to take the kids up into his office where they wrestle, have some candy and do lord knows what.  What is important is that they get alone time with their dad.  There is no better way to make your child feel valued than quality time.I’d love to hear how you connect with your kiddos!  I know I’m certainly a work in progress and I’m always looking for suggestions.  When you and your kiddo have a special date night, what do you like to do? Leave a comment below, or share this article with someone who might enjoy it!   

 

All photos by Angela Doran Photography

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77 Comments

  • Natalie Anne

    Lovely photos as always! Angela is fantastic! My mother has EIGHT children!!! Can you imagine having to spread that time equally! I can’t but somehow she does! She spreads herself out so thin I think it’s important she gets some time to herself! So it’s quite the opposite situation in my household but I can always use these tips to connect with my siblings more since I’m one of the older ones 🙂 Always great to here from you!! –P.S. I’d love to see some throwbacks of outfits and such of events you’ve had but didn’t have instagram yet. Also, who are your favourite bloggers? Do you have anyone of inspiration?

    Create and Culttivate looked amazing and you DID SO WELL!! Managed to catch a livestream of the whole event. 🙂 Will you be doing the Pop Austin event with the ackles this year?

    • Elena

      I try to do this as often as possible. Being a single parent to my little ones has been a challenge. I don’t get to spend the one on one time I used to with them. But it’s ok. We do everything as a family. Park, zoo, Library, garden or just going for a walk or radding books to them in the evenings(my favorite) They tend to open up and tell me about their day at school etc. I cherish it. I want to help raise strong women. Good people. I want them to remember our moments during tough times and good times. I wear my heart on my sleeve when I’m with them. And do my best to juggle work, activities, school events and our time together. lack of sleep and tougher days is worth it. Just to see them smile.

    • Allie

      Genevive this is amazing! Odette has grown so much!!!

    • Debbie Lentz

      HI Gen , I have done this since my first kiddo was born in 1994m it is truly a special treat for both of us. Keep up the great parenting.

    • Chrissy

      Nothing makes my boys’ faces light up more than hearing that they are going out with Mom and brother is staying home with Dad. You’re right – I learn more about my kids’ interests in those 90 minutes of one-on-one time than I do the rest of the week!

    • Jennifer Millican

      Thank you for the reminder to take this time with our kids. It IS so very important.
      I have some unique challenges as I am in a powerchair and can’t drive so if I want 1 on 1 time we’re on foot and limited (Dad has to watch other kiddos). Still, we often walk to appointments and use the 30 min there and vavk to discuss things and will, if budget allows, stop for a quick treat.
      I also enjoy doing makeup or crafts with my 11 yr old daughter of building legos with my 5 yr old. My 13 yr old is challenging as his interests are more solitary but We do take walks or just chat while doing other things.

  • Jamile

    OMG!!!!! You so precious!!! This kids will be great persons in the future! I love your family ! Love from Brazil!

  • Amanda Gregorutti

    Gen , I’m from Brazil and I love read your blog ! I am not yet a mother , but in the future , I intend to be . I loved the tips of how to split the time with the children, and I realize that my mother does this to me and my sisters ! We are three also !
    Continue with the posts , I love .
    Kisses
    P.S . I’m sorry if there is any spelling error, i’m dont speak english very well …

  • Mikayla Oelschlegel

    I loved these photos and this post was amazing! I am one of six kids and unfortuantely for me, my dad didn’t spend a lot of time with me when the four youngest were born. I do love the fact that you plan out little dates with the kids. I do that with my sister since we are the only girls and I love the connection you get with those special moments.

    You are doing a fantastic job as a mom and a blogger! Seriously one of my inspirations! <3

  • Cathy Dove

    So lovely!Beautiful!

  • Alesia Blake

    I am a mother of three daughters they are all grown now. I lost my oldest daughter Vicky, in 2011. She was very sick for a long time. I was a young mother and I tried very hard to spend as much time with my children as possible. They grew up to be wonderful women. And my youngest is a great mother, to her daughter. I think you do wonderful job, I always see your son’s smiling and odette’s I show how happy she is. Very happy for you, and Jared, and your wonderful children, it’s nice in this day and age to see a couple who’s really in love and trying to make things work even through difficult times. Your sons
    and daughter, will grow up to know that their parents loved,and nurtured them. That is the most precious gift you can give your children. ♡

  • Cathy Dove

    You are a great mom Gen,everytime I see those photos you post about you having fun with little Padaleckis,it makes me so envy,I was like,wow,those little kids are so happy!They are lucky to have their mom around all the time.

  • Sabrina Travers

    I love early mornings with my 9 month old to just bond while my 2 1/2 yr old is still asleep. We play, cuddle and I can usually get a bottle in before my oldest wakes. When my toddler is at school me and the baby run errands but just having the alone time with her I value since I had so much time with my oldest alone before her. When my infant naps I love playing with my toddler. We do puzzles, sing and dance, and if the weather is nice we go outside and play with her bubble machine. We live right outside of Boston so the cold weather is coming though. In the winter months we go to the library, in door play areas and stay at home and cook/bake together. She loves spending the time making food with me, and when Daddy gets home from work she’s so excited to tell him she made it. Cracking the eggs is her favorite part. I love going for walks with them both, separate and together. My husband and I split them on the weekends sometimes so he gets one on one time too. You can tell they both love their time with Daddy since he works so much and gone for a few days at a time (he’s a fire fighter and works construction as well) . I love your posts Gen keep them up! You have a gorgeous family.

  • Katie

    GREAT advice! As a full time nanny I couldn’t agree more. Kid “dates” are tremendously important. They really allow you to forge a deep bond, which can be hard to create in day-to-day life when your attention is being pulled in so many directions.

  • Panka F.

    Hey Gen!
    This article is truly amazing. I don’t have kids yet, but these are some really cool tips, I’ll keep them in mind for the future.
    Although I have a question for you and maybe I won’t get answer but there is one thing I’m really curious about.
    You’re an actress (a really talented one in my opinion), but since you have kids, you haven’t really worked as an actress. But I totally get it because your kids seem to be really amazing and lovely but you had to give up on your acting career. I think it wasn’t an easy decision for you to make but I can see that you enjoy your life as it is now with all that hard work you do for example with charity work or with the end-bullying campaign, etc.
    But don’t you miss acting sometimes? Or have you ever thought about going back when your kids are older?
    I truly think that Jared is a really amazing dad but him being away a lot doesn’t really give you much time to focus on your acting career, because you can’t leave your kids and I don’t think you would ever leave them behind.
    I’m really curious about this and if it’s not really person, I think it would worth to write an article about it.
    Thank you again for sharing this article with us, I love your writings so keep them up! 🙂

  • Suzanne

    Great suggestions Gen, as a mother of 2 boys who are young adults I have definitely developed separate interests with both of them. They respect each other’s differences. and are genuinely interested in them. It makes me so happy. You will see the results of these “dates” forever.

  • Colleen

    So, if you put the phone away and give them your “full attention” how is it that we get dozens of pics of your kids all the time? Enquiring minds want to know.

    • Catt

      Seriously you need to quit. She posts at least ONCE a day. There’s literally 24 hours in a day in case you didn’t know. So she has PLENTY of time to spend with her kids, AND take pictures of them. It’s not rocket science. You haters find the DUMBEST reasons to give Gen crap and it’s not cool. Let her live her life, and get your own.

    • Kate

      #GoAwayColleen

    • Jordy Sirkin

      As a blogger, I can assure you, a lot of these posts are pre-written and scheduled. As are Instagram posts. You literally have to do this as a content creator. If you pay close enough attention, you will realize a lot of the photos she posts are from the same shoots. So she takes a few hours, less than typical working moms, to shoot some photos. You cannot be so naive to think most of her photos are from her phone. The quality is obvious. And unless she livestreams every moment of herself with her kids, your snap judgement isn’t plausible. I seriously don’t understand why this fandom has so many cruel people that criticize every aspect of her.

    • Courtney

      Lol @Colleen do you have kids? I have a 3 and 1 year old and can snap 25 pictures of them in 5 minutes, easy…I can’t help it I’m in love with them 🙂 I also put my phone in another room for meals and various non phone friendly activities. That’s hours of undivided attention that still leaves me with tons of pics at the end of the day. Cmon now.

  • Lenae Falcone

    I am an army wife and mother to 12 amazingly diffrent children! When I say they are all diffrent I mean they all love something completely diffrent but what is more ironic is that the thing they love they get from me! I love yo sew and my oldest daughter has started a business with the skills she learned from me, a son that loves to draw and has mastered the illistrator creating some of the funniest tshirts ever! I have a son that is a teacher, one that loves to dance another who can’t live without sports but the amazing thing with that is I can enjoy that piece of them and only them. We were also given the love and challenge of 3 children with cerebral palsy and though the years raising them has been a challenge they have brought out more love, and patience in me than any person should have. Children are a blessing, but they are also a full time job!

  • Linda Johnson

    I am a mother of 2 , they are both girls bit one is 28 with 2 children of her own an she lives in Florida , I also have a 15 yr old jist starting high school, while they are 12 yrs apart I see how different an a like they are (my 2 girls) i was just in Florida w my 15 yr old to visit them, being a mom has its challenges an can be tough at times cause im dealing with a teenager with her own personality an style , as for my oldest daughter, she is very independent an on her own, i give them love an support as I can an I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything in this world its the best job I have an I love seeing pics of your beautiful family , u r truly blessed as I know I am. ❤❤❤❤❤❤

  • Star

    What a lovely blog entry! Thank you Gen for giving us a glimpse into your family’s life and inspiring others. My parents were good at giving us one-on-one time, but there were only two of us, so not quite as challenging as with three or more! If I ever have children someday, I will try and follow their example and yours.

  • Suzanne

    Gen these dates are wonderful with each child. I did this when my kids were young and it blossomed into mutual respect for all our differences. It also spurred amazing conversations later on. You will cherish these “dates”forever!

  • Kate

    Gen, you are a total inspiration. Thank you for sharing and keeping things real!

  • Mary-Helen McDonald

    As a teen with two younger siblings under 2 I wish my mom did this with me. I would so love the one on one with her to tell her the latest gossip of school and my job, to remind her how it feels to be a junior in high school again I’m definitely going to bring this up the next time I get more than 30 seconds of talking to her before we get interrupted!

  • Leigh

    I don’t have kids yet, but you’re so inspirational and make me so excited to become a mom!! I have a couple more years left, but I’m taking in every bit of advice you’re giving! Love your blog and your instagram posts.

  • Marye

    Thank you for sharing your stories… it inspires me to be the best mom I can be ❤️

  • Missy Draper

    I have three kids the same ages a day genders as yours. It’s definitely rough to get those one on one times with each kid. I just wanted to say I agree with what you’re saying and it’s been really sweet to follow someone else in the same boat. You have such an adorable family! Some. Ideas that have worked for us:
    Interactive books like “I spy” create fun memories
    Nature ideas like creeking
    Board games
    Making home movies
    Cooking together while teaching them to cook
    Putting together scrapbooks
    Building forts
    Hope these help too!

  • Lyndsey Maclean

    Lovely Gen and some great ideas ❤️

  • Deborah

    Hi Gen, I have 3 children too, though mine are older. I struggle with time for each of them when the youngest has special needs, he has autism. I can feel that my daughter especially wants that time together but my youngest son is so demanding and I’m so tired after dealing with him all day. Thanks xx

  • Johna

    I also carve out date nights with all 5 (yes 5) of my kiddos. My oldest 16, youngest 9. It was fairly easy to figure out what to do when they were younger and gets more difficult as they get older… teens and tweens… When my husband passed away in 2009 my oldest then 9 withdrew from the family in some ways. I tried and failed in many ways to get him to open up and connect with me again. Fast forward to Feb 2017 when I caught him watching SPN and asked him about the show. He gave me this look of “mom please don’t ruin this too” and told me to watch it for myself. Of course I got hooked and talking about the show with him and soon watching with him has brought him back to me. I’m getting hugs and laughs again from him. The show, cast, and family hold a very special place in my heart and forever will. ♡

    • Alyson

      Johna, single mom of 5 kids, you ARE Wonder Woman. And so very happy to hear that you and your son re-connected over Supernatural. Connecting with teenagers can be so hard, regardless of your situation. Perhaps you and your son could make it to a convention someday ♥️♥️♥️♥️HUGZ♥️♥️♥️♥️

  • Ruby

    I may not be a mom, but I am a daughter with two older brothers. My mom stopped her acting career to raise my brothers and I (she’s starting up again now that we’re older) after she met my dad during one of her bigger gigs. I know how much she loves me based on how much she tells me it. No matter how many times I’ve screamed at her, I always came back to the moment she told me she loved me and I think that’s the most important part because I will never forget that. Nothing tells love like telling your love.

  • Michelle Flores

    I have a total of 5 children. My oldest and only son Austin is 20yrs, Alexis, 18yrs, Isabella, 5yrs and I have 6mos old identical twin girls, Allison and Avery. My oldest 2 are away at college. I will drive or fly up to visit them at times for our one on one time. Usually after school on some days I will take Isabella to her favorite “treat” place TCBY. When we get home she wants to play school and she will include the twins and me as her students. That is what she calls our Mommy daughter time. The twins get there one on one when I am nursing them or putting them to sleep. It’s hard at times but wouldn’t change it for the world.

  • Veronica McGee

    I very much enjoyed this blog post. I understand parenthood being a very long and thoughtful decision. My husband and I tried for a year to have children of our own (I had tried as well in a previous marraige) and we were not successful. We are now on the road to adoption which gives us even more time to think and plan. I personally want 2 or 3 but the hubs is getting used to the idea of just one (I’m the oldest, he’s the baby). We both come from families of three sibilings. Your points on letting the children pick out their own activities and spreading your time and love among three of them I certainly understand from a childs point of view. I am so fortunate that my parents did that for my siblings and me. My relationship with my sibilngs is so strong I think because of how my parents encouraged the three of us to be together with them, but to also have that one on one time with them (I’m a TOTAL daddy’s girl and still crave that one on one time). It’s those types of things I hope to pass down to my child(ren). If I’m not blessed with multiple children I hope our child can have sibling-like relationships with their cousins. I look forward to the future of planning time with my kid(s), having togetherness, and having alone time with them too.

  • Shona

    Hi Gen , love your post 😊 My 3 are now 29, 26,& 24!
    I feel their early years are a bit of a blur now as I definitely
    Muddled through . They’ve all left home and have graduated university and are happy in their chosen careers. I love being a Mum , I feel it’s my biggest achievement in life! I still have dates with my kids , they still appreciate individual attention which they deserve .
    You are doing an amazing job ! Even if you feel like you are still learning . Each childhood development stage brings a new challenge .
    I would love to do it all again !!
    Just enjoy it 😘

  • Adrienne Rogerson

    We all know how hectic life can be. Scheduling dates with my husband and kids happens but not often. To stay connected, I try to take advantage of time to talk while we are in the car. I have three kids but only two are still at home. I tease that that they are “trapped” in the car with me (and sometimes dad too) and I control the radio which gets turned off. Instead of asking about their day and getting a single word reply, I ask for one good thing and one not so good thing that happened during their day. We all participate. We chat about upcoming events, meals, dreams, current events….just anything and everything. My goal is to keep them talking until we reach our destination.

  • Emma

    You’re great, you have three wonderful kids.
    I like the idea of date nights with my daugthers. Tomorrow is my oldest daughters birthday (13) and we go out for dinner. She loves it. I’m very sad that often the time is rare, I’m a single mom and I work most of the time, but at least twice a week I drive my girls to their ballett lessons and that is family time where we can talk. I try to have some time with each girl when I do homework with them and often I do the cooking with one of the girls.

  • Jen Harlan

    I can’t have kids, but reading these posts always warms my heart and gives me a glimpse of an experience I’m otherwise missing out on. Thank you for sharing these intimate moments and thoughts. It always makes my d’s better. 😊

  • Kathleen

    I’m also a mom of 3, 2 boys (4&3) and my daughter (8 months). I was just telling my husband that I think just once a month, I’m going to pull each son out of school and have a little date. Maybe I’ll work in some special date nights too. Maggie has me every Friday 9-1 while the boys are in preschool. I’m fortunate to work from home and 4×10 to have that time. It was special with Patrick (middle) when he was little too. Christopher (oldest) has me for 17 months but I feel he gets a bit robbed of 1 on 1 time.
    I also try to hold each of them in a day, even if it is just an extra hug on the run. Both of us stopping for a minute to connect on that level, looking them in the eyes and saying “i love you”. You can feel it and see it, it lightens all of us.
    Thanks for sharing, good luck!

  • AfA

    Hi Gen,
    My two daughters, 24 & 22, do enjoy times still just 1:1. I like to take them to their favorite restaurant and we will either have our nails done or go to their favorite stores to browse. Good opportunity to just talk about what’s going on in their minds. I’ve noted that they also like to go to craft stores like Hobby Lobby and browse. As they have gotten older, it does get more difficult finding times that correlate. That time is so valuable To not bore with the old cliche’, “time goes fast”. Enjoy and hugs. Anita A.

  • Larissa

    Amazing post Gen! You are awesome!

  • Rachel

    Love this! You’re such an inspiration, truly. The way you word emotions, events, memories… It’s magical.

  • Robin

    I was a single mom of four boys (they are grown men now) so we had a lot of time together I worked at their school in the morning and afternoon plus worked 2 other jobs. But the thing was I was always with them we did not have a lot but they had what they needed and today those boys take good care of their mom. They know without a doubt that I did the best I could and that I love them very much.

    • Alyson

      Wonder Woman!!!!

  • Jill

    Great post 😊 I have two boys (10 & 4) and a girl (7 months) as well. It can definitely be a struggle to balance everything, especially with the constant needs of a new baby, in the mix!
    We do dates as well, but usually that “free” time goes to dad, so I try to be stealthy about getting mine in. Most days, I grab a couple hours with my youngest son Noah, while his big brother is at school and the baby naps. He thrives on it and if something interferes, you can tell he’s off.
    The baby, Noelle and I are on our own for the two hours Noah’s in school, and I love being able to bask in all her baby preciousness.
    When my oldest, Daniel, finally gets home we get some time while his little brother plays a video game, and the baby naps again, but it’s not nearly as much as I’d like.
    **So I gave him a 7×9″ sketchbook. We pass it back and forth with questions or drawings or song lyrics, then the other responds and passes it back. Sometimes it’s pure silliness, sometimes it’s much deeper, but it keeps us connected in a very special way, unique to the two of us.**

    Congratulations on your beautiful family. 💜

  • Alyson

    My boys are all grown now, but I always enjoyed taking time for each of them; a lunch or dinner. And now that they’re grown, I love it when they return the favor.

    And indulge their passions as much as possible. For one, it was skipping school to take him to the museum for a John Audubon exhibit, for the other it was Tae Kwon Do and baseball. The third one, it was youth Symphony and motorcycles. Treat the kids equally, but not necessarily the same.

    BTW, Gen, you and Jared are doing Brilliantly with your kids! The joy is evident on all of your faces ♥️♥️

  • Nada

    I love reading your articles Gen, they’re so well written and they really make me look foward to having kids of my own some day 😊
    God Bless you and your beautiful family 💘💘💘

  • Sue Smith

    Hey Gen,

    I’m an older mum, my babies are 20 and twins of 18 but I would say you dong all the right things from what you talk about. My hubby worked at home the first few years when we got our eldest, (we are a family through the gift of adoption from Kazakhstan!). It was smaahing to call Steve when P took his first step, said his first word. Even when they’re very little, you’re right in that, having 1:1 time with both parents is so good for relationships and trust/bonds. Even now, my hubby has 1:1 time with our three. Our daughter loves date night with dad, they too often choose sushi. 😊. Your blog is great, well done you for fitting it all in. Being a person of influence, its good to see you promoting such positive family values, I love reading here.

    Keep up the great work mum,

    Sue :0)

  • Everyday Joey

    I love this! My little is only 10 months, but I have noticed how much she loves our little walks, and the just “her” time we share. I love all of your ideas! Thank you 🙂

  • Patty

    My toddler is very sweet but a constant attention craver… especially now that she has a baby sister. I try to keep my toddler engaged but it’s hard to do day in and day out. Sometimes I just really want to put my feet up. That’s when I’ll suggest popcorn and a movie! I now work part time so I’m able to spend more time with them both. I guess boring mommy time is better than no mommy time!

  • Anna

    I myself am 15, and not a mother, though when I do become a mother (or at least hope I will) I want to be just like how you are with Tom, Shep and Odette. Every time you post something on your Instagram story or Instagram account with them, my face just lights up because of how amazing you are with them and because of how happy they are with you. And after reading this, no wonder why! When I was little, it actually was the other way around. My mother was the one at work most of the time, so I would always be with my father. He would pick out my clothes, do my hair, cook with me, wait for me at the bus stop. But I always loved the time with my mother when she was finally able to be with me after a long day at work, or on the weekends. Having time with your mother is an amazing and beautiful thing. Tom, Shep and Odette are SO lucky to have a wonderful woman like you as their mother.

  • Jackie

    I love this post I’m a mother of 2 boys a 2 year old and a 1 year old I spend every moment with them they are both energetic. It’s great seeing them grow up and spending time with them. Also seeing what they are interested in.

  • Elena

    I find that my kids love the little things. Like my son loves when I play Xbox with him or my daughter gets to talk my ear off about school her day or just talk. Dinner time we put all electronics away and we talk about our days including my husband. The trek to school is also a great time to connect. I don’t do weekly dates but I try to find time throughout the day to connect with them.

  • Margaret

    I love this post. I have three children who have now flown the nest. When they were the ages of your munchkins I went to bed numerous times thinking that one didn’t get the attention s/he deserved. My husband was also gone most of the week for his job and I didn’t have family here, and I wasn’t all that comfortable asking for help. I so remember setting up the kitchen table to do homework and then discuss the day and wow, what a ton I learned when I just listened. It was incredible. I’ve tried so hard to tap into their needs and their joys and sorrows, but as you indicated in your post, it can be hard. Draining even. I discovered little tricks along the way that seemed to make things go more smoothly. Like in the winter, on Friday nights we would go to our neighborhood’s indoor pool, order pizza and then the kids would shower and shampoo (with help most of the time) and put on their PJs. Kisses, prayers and stories and they were OUT. That time was wonderful for my husband and I because we could catch up when he returned, recharge and face the weekend and the kids’ things together after having some quiet time with each other after the kids fell asleep. I am a total proponent of ‘what works for your family’ and for us? This worked for a narrow window of time and I’m okay with that. Namaste, Gen.

  • Colleen Y

    I love all your ideas and tips, keep sharing! One of the best times I have with my kids is celebrating what I call “Mental Growth Spurts”. There is a moment in time, an event, a statement, a reaction that indicates my child has “Grown”, and we celebrate these in our family. It may not be every week but when you are in tune with your child you can recognize these moments and they are very proud moments. These are the times that I especially want to spend quality time with my kids getting to know their new levels of recognition and encourage them to be creative and ambitious.

  • Sarah Spash

    I have a just turned 3 year old daughter and a 10 week old little boy. I am getting used to splitting my time, and it’s not been easy as my daughter is still not 100% that her brother should stay 🙂 trying to help her find a loving sibling relationship with him and not resent him for taking away her time with me and her Daddy is hard but we are getting there. I get it, babies are a bit boring for a toddler but as he is starting to smile and engage with us she is warming to him. I’m sure they will be best of friends soon. I feel it As for what my daughter and I like to do together……dress up and role play ……and yes I dress up too…..her imagination knows no bounds and I love her ability to create characters and fully sumbmerge into them. Love your posts and your blog keep it coming 💜

  • Christelle

    Very nice post and very nice photos!
    I have no children but nephews and nieces whom I consider as such.
    Although they are growing up now, I try to always be attentive to their needs and to listen to them when I see them.
    For me the most important thing is that they feel the love that I feel for them and that this allows them to flourish.

  • Kimberly

    We’re working on being better about one-on-one time with our five kids (blended family). Sometimes they ride along for errands, because our schedule is so busy. A quick trip to the grocery store is great for conversation and I hear a lot of opinions about a lot of things 😉.

  • Amanda

    This post is awesome. You give always so good advices. Thanks Gen.

    I’m an only-child and ’cause I’m only 21 my only kiddos are my furry ones.
    When I was younger my dad worked a lot and had a lot to do also in the evenings or on the weekends. But at least once a week he read to me (even when I was old enought to read alone) or we watched a tv-show together and sometimes when my mom was away we went to a museum, playground, cinema or whatever and had dinner together.
    I’m 21 and live still at my parents house. Even now my mum and I spend every day some time together. We watch a daily tv-show and talk about our day. And my dad and I still go out together like once in a month or so.

  • Adeela

    No matter what, there is no rocket science to raising kids. Just one thing is for sure love and patience. You are doing great job and let no one tell you otherwise. I feel a special connection as your daughter and my son are born exactly the same day. so watching them puts me in a daze. Keep the blogging on And carry on.

  • Chloe

    Hi Gen! I really like reading your blog !
    I don’t have kids ( only 22 years old ) but i have a big family. My mom and dad have 3 kids ( my 2 older brothers & me) plus 2 little sisters from my mom and step dad! So yeah it’s a big family. And i do remember when it was only my brothers, my parents and me, my mom was a stay at home mom ( still is to take care of my youger sisters) and we got a lot of time with her but she also liked to have little moments with us seperately so she could really be there without having to be somewhere else. And my dad was working a lot but i remember that sometimes when he would come home very late and we weren’t in bed, he would take us to the park and played with us and whenever he had free time he would spent it with us ( boardgames, treasure hunts, drawing, soccer, tennis, and sometimes even tho it used to make my mom crazy, we baked & had flour fight which was AWESOME ! ). When my parents were both at home on weekends, we used to go in their bed and my mom would make hot cocoa and my dad would bring out lots of old photos to show us about their lives before us. As a kid i remember being always happy to have those little moments with my mom and my dad and brothers. AND as an adult i am truly Grateful for what my parents did, they were both working really hard to gave us a good childhood but also a healthy life even if it was hard sometimes and those moments are and will always be with me. ( Sorry for the spelling mistakes… English is not my first language. )

    Again i really like your blog and how honest you are. And also thank you for being a great role model not just for moms but for a lot of people.

    Have a good day ! Xx

  • Medena K.

    I have 4 biological children and 2 foster children. 6 kids total. One on one time is super hard so I try to do things with a couple of them at a time. Like last night me and my 3 girls went to a Luke Bryan concert. Their first concert and they were so happy to be able to do that with their mom. With my little we get ice cream or just go for a walk. It’s so hard with lots of kids but so worth it even if it’s not one on one and more of a group thing. They love any time they have with us even if they have to share it. Being a parent is hard and exhausting but it’s so amazing at the same time.

  • Margaret

    My only little so far is three months old, and I’m lucky enough to stay home with her. I’m going to file away these tips for when she’s a big sister, since right now it’s all one on one time 🙂

    May I say thank you? Thank you for keeping real- admitting when you’re struggling, that you’re not perfect. Too frequently we moms are pressured to be perfect, to manage everything easily, and so often we’re shown celebrity moms being that way (and it’s difficult to remember we see just snapshot moments). So to see and hear that from you is incredibly refreshing, inspiring, and completely reassuring. I’m sure being so open makes you feel at least a little vulnerable, so I want to express and make clear that it is heard and absolutely appreciated. THANK YOU.

  • Ally

    I’m not good at english but I just read you for the firts time and foun you give a very great advices. I don’t have any child but I’m pregnant now ang I’m very afraid. If I’m not good at it ir if I miss something… so thank fir your advices .

  • Kat

    Thank you! #SPNFam4Life

  • Destini

    Although I’m not a mom (yet, I have 4 months left of nursing school and then I’ll finally have some time to date and find ‘the one’s), some of my favorite childhood memories are of date nights with my mom or dad. Also, little date nights with just one of my siblings were also amazing. My oldest brother would make sure to take just me to a movie at least once a month and it made me feel so special. I also had date nights with my other brother and sister. I feel like having one on one time with each sibling is just as important as date nights with parents.

    Hopefully your kiddos will be able to do that together when they get older.

    My favorite days were the movie nights with my oldest brother, shopping with my older sister, basketball games with my other brother, going to the zoo with my mom and going for motorcycle rides with my dad.

    I honestly cannot wait to have kids of my own, I want them to feel the absolute love and devotion that I felt on date nights with my favorite people.

  • Karla phelps

    Yes my mom has 2 girls and 3 boys 4 of us are grown the youngest is 15 my mom will have days where she will take me to a movie and my brothers to an art museum. Or a special homeschooling trip. To spend one on one time

  • Ella

    You’re such great mom and I’d love to be just as good as you are when I’m a mom. You’re kids are so adorable and Jared is an amazing dad. My mom has 3 kids, me being the youngest and only girl. She always had time for each one of us and bonded over different things. Talking, shopping, doing chores, taking us to our hobbies, watching tv or just a hug. She loves all of us very much and she’s the most perfect mother I ever could’ve asked for.

  • Mary

    Hello people, I’m Brazilian and I admire everything you do.
    Your blog is all good. I admire you as a woman, a mother, an actress.

  • Mandy

    I agree that carving out one-on-one time with each child can be challenging, but its a lot of fun once we go on our date night. We have a huge dry erase board that we use to keep track of our schedule and we put our date nights on that. For me it’s very important to make sure each of my children get the time they need while their dad is deployed. Like you I have to play mom and dad from time to time and its challenging to say the least. I’ve found that doing things that are interesting to the kids is the most fun thing to do. Even if I’m failing miserably at it. Let’s just say my Xbox skills are somewhat lacking and I don’t have the voice of an Angel but my kids love me anyway!

  • Lizy Kyara

    gen, you’re so lovely. This text is simply amazing, and I love you very much.I still do not have kids, but I loved your text.

  • Lizy Kyara

    Gen, I’d like to say that you have followers from Brazil. Brazil loves you!

  • Jess

    Hi Gen,

    How do you feel about getting flu and whooping cough shots around newborns? I know vaccines have saved lives but I’ve been reading a lot about vaccines and how they have some toxic substances too. Did you all get these shots around the arrival of your children? Just value your opinion as a Mom 🙂 You have a great awareness of the body and care about what you put into it 🙂

  • Charlyn

    Though I myself am not a parent, when I was growing up, my parents did “one-on-one nights” where every Monday, my brother and I would each get an hour with either one parent or the other. I always looked forward to that time – it gave me opportunities to try new things, and instilled in me the knowledge that my parents genuinely cared about me, and that I could trust them with anything that was on my mind.

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