I’m a Better Parent With One Kid

Last week my in laws took Reece on a trip down to LA to visit his great-grandparents, which left us with just one kid for the week.

Shopping with my girl
First stop, shopping!

Even though Emme is going through an awful screaming phase and it’s because of her antics that we had to leave a restaurant mid-meal taking our food to go for the first time ever in our four years of parenting, last week still felt like a break.

Face painting at an outdoor concert
With this sweet face, you’d never guess how shrill her screams can be

It’s not that Reece is the problem–Emme is our more challenging child at the moment, adorable and amusing though she may be–it’s just that there’s a lot less stress when you’re dealing with the irritating behaviors of just one child versus the combined efforts of two.

For instance, Emme has a low tolerance for riding in the car lately and she screams her brains out pretty much every time, which is annoying in itself. Add Reece yelling “Emme, STOP IT! STOP SCREAMING! WHY WON’T YOU STOP SCREAMING?” on top of it and I’m left wanting to bang my head repeatedly against the steering wheel.

Shopping at Target with my girl
Mischievous Emme running away from me at Target

Another job duty left behind for the week was playing referee. There was no reminding to share, no convincing one to do the activity that the other one wants to do and I didn’t have to┬álisten to complaining that Emme was getting in the way more than she was being a good playmate. Just fun, simple playtime with my girl.

Emme reading a book
Sidewalk reading wearing her new backpack and my scarf

I regained some patience last week that was running dangerously low. With all the screaming that’s been coming at me, I’ve resorted to screaming all too frequently myself and have had more scary mommy moments than I care to admit.

It was enjoyable having a week of one-on-one time with Emme, especially since she’s the youngest which means we’ve never had that before. I’m a much calmer, patient, reasonable and overall better parent with just one child, which is a hard realization (I still had my moments. The screams this girl is capable of will do anyone in after awhile).

Enjoying Starbucks sweet greens smoothie
Sweet greens smoothie with kale is a hit with both of us

Individual time with both kids is important, but I need to be the best parent I can to both of them together, not just one-on-one. I’m hopeful that Reece starting preschool next week will give me the time I need to be at my best self more often, even though it’s not space from him that I need, it’s the break from parenting two.

In fact, I think more one-on-one time with him would help all around since most of his misbehaviors are a result of Emme’s toddlerness or at the very least it’s my inability to deal with minor things because my patience has been stretched so thin already.


I’m not sure if there is a fix to this or if it’s just part of parenting young children. What I do know is that even parenting just one child can feel like a break and sometimes that’s all you need to appreciate the amazing things about your child that sometimes get lost amidst the craziness of having more than one.

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Comments 10

  • I absolutely just love your honesty when I read your posts like this. I can relate in so many way! The two of mine together are a nightmare- mostly because there is always a fight to break up or they both want different things at the same time. I was recently left with just my youngest for only a few hours and it still seemed like a break. I also thought to myself how much calmer I felt and how I responded with more patience and appreciated each moment instead of trying to just make it through. My oldest is also going off to preschool in Sept and I am hoping that it will help me to become a better mom.

  • Oh the fun I have to look forward to when baby #2 arrives at the end of this year! My first child is 3 and will be 3 and a half by the time baby #2 arrives, so I hope that helps (fingers crossed). I can only imagine however, how challenging it can be having two kids around all the time! Loved hearing your thoughts…

    • I think that’s a good spread. 3.5-year-olds are pretty self-sufficient. If I were to have another one (which we’re not), I would space them that far apart instead of 2.5 years like mine are. However, when my daughter was a newborn, even with the challenges of having two, it was still easier than our first time around with just one. It wasn’t until later on that two became more challenging.

  • I am the same way–one kid is sooooo easy. I want to scream this at parents with one kid who think they’re so stressed out (I was that parent once though so I don’t). Glad you are enjoying some one-on-one time!

    • As someone pointed out on my Facebook page, every stage is hard. When I was the parent with one kid, that was hard. Now that I have two, one is easy. The person who commented has five kids and when she just has three, it’s easy. I think it’s important to remember that no matter how many you have, it’s hard when you’re going through it. You adjust to your new normal so then when you have less than that, it seems like nothing.

  • Love your honesty! We’re starting to discuss when baby #2 will happen – we have a lot to think about!

  • Amen sistah! When I just have one of the girls, life feels like a breeze. It’s the juggling two that both have needs at the same time that gets overwhelming. You’re doing an amazing job though! Thanks so much for sharing and opening up <3

    • Thank you! It’s nice to hear from others that are in the same boat. I also appreciated your post about your struggles this week.

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