Photo: Katherine MartinkoShortly after my first son was born, I left Toronto and moved to a small town where my husband had a job. It was a big adjustment since I didn't know anyone, didn't have a car, and my husband was working 12-hour shifts, often at night. We lived in a cramped two-room cottage with no phone, Internet, or laundry facilities, so I mostly spent my days walking through residential streets and exploring trails along the edge of Lake Huron. Despite being a bit boring, it was also incredibly special to spend so much time focused on my baby. He was my constant companion and gave structure and focus to my day.
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That was three years ago. Now I have a second child and life is very different. I have friends, a car, and a washing machine that never seems to stop. There is very little time for boredom and spontaneity because my calendar is full of social obligations. There are nursery school pick-ups and drop-offs, playgroups, play dates, and meetings to attend. Rather than enjoying my full attention, my second baby gets hauled along everywhere I go, like a portable little afterthought. The older one is almost four, full of chatter and incessant questions that never leave room for silence. I've become a busy mom who's always on the move, multi-tasking, answering questions, solving problems, trying to get work done.
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Sometimes I feel guilty about the fact that my youngest son has a very different kind of mother than my first one did, but then I remind myself that this is the reality of having multiple children. Of course, the little one gets special attention from me, and we spend plenty of time cuddling and playing, but there are so many more distractions on a daily basis that he sometimes does get lost in the chaotic mix. Though I feel sad not to have known him with the same quiet, uninterrupted intimacy that I did my first child, I take satisfaction from knowing that, once kindergarten starts for the older one, I'll have that long-awaited chance to develop a unique relationship with the younger one.
This post was written by Katherine Martinko.
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