With Just One Child

puddle jumpers Last week, I took just my youngest to the pool while the other two were in school.

Cub just turned 4 and is my easy-going child.

He loves the water and thanks to his puddle jumper, he can go all over the pool without any problems. I love those things so much I’m practically a puddle jumper pusher and should get commission from them.

He can make friends easily or just have a blast swimming around by himself.

We were the only people at the pool for a while and then a few other kids his age showed up: it was a pretty low-key day.

And so I was able to lounge in a chair by the pool, read a book, sip some sweet tea, and relax.

For hours.

Of course, I always kept Cub visible out of the corner of my eye.

No napping poolside or ignoring what was happening in the water.

But it was still so unbelievably easy.

Not the chaos of watching three where I usually have to either sit on the edge of the pool or even be in the water.

No 1-2-3 headcount over and over.

No having to call for each of them the whole time.

Or break up any sort of fight.

Pool time was actually relaxing.

I kept thinking I was being punked or something.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all three of my boys and I’m used to the chaos they can cause.

But every once in a while, a peaceful day is appreciated!

For those of you who have more than one child, do you notice a huge difference in those times when you get that one-on-one time?


  1. says

    Yep! I totally get and understand this feeling. Now that my oldest two are 6 and 9, sometimes I try to take just them to the pool and leave the 2-yr-old with Grandma… It feels SO easy! Plus, I can really focus on them vs. constantly having to be in the baby pool area with my toddler! (Not to mention, I can actually sit and not do the 1-2-3 head count that you mentioned!) :)
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  2. says

    I never went remotely near water with my 3 until recently. As soon as the two oldest (7 and 5) passed their swim tests, then I was okay with just watching the baby/toddler. Everyone kept saying, “don’t be negative, you can do it with all 3…you’ll manage.” Ah, duh! I Know I can DO it. I just don’t want to. I don’t want to just “manage” — it would be nice to actually have some fun and enjoy it. Glad you got the chance.
    Now if I can just get some absolute alone time in the lounger with my tea and book — that would be heaven!
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    • Shell says

      At least then you know he’s safe- but that has to be tiring for you- the pool wears me out! 

  3. says

    in other situations, yes…at the pool, No.  Bubby has no fear, so he keeps me on my toes the entire time.  That’s alright though, that’s a form of exercise for me, right?

    • Shell says

      Cub is the only one who is relaxing for me at the pool. The other two- definitely not. They have other places where they seem easy when it’s just me and them.

  4. says

    I miss that one-on-one time. And right now, spending one-on-one time with Harper is NOT relaxing (she is a VERY feisty one-year-old). I have got to spend a few moments alone with Hayden (my 5-year-old) since having Harper. It is a completely different dynamic/atmosphere. It is calmer and I can focus better. It’s easier and I am more relaxed. All that also has to do with the fact that parenting Harper is tougher for me (because she is still a toddler and very active). With both kids together it is utter crazy, chaos. I am getting used to it and accepting this new reality. But man – it is challenging!!!
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    • Shell says

      The toddler stage is SO hard. Able to get around all over the place but not quite understanding what is safe and what is not- it’s EXHAUSTING! 

  5. says

    It’s amazing how much easier one kid is than just 2.  When we “lose” one to a friend or family member, the house is so much more peaceful, and our day so much more relaxed.

    Cute pic of Cub!
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    • Shell says

      It makes me wonder how I ever thought just having one was hard… but then I realize that it’s just easier in comparison! 

  6. says

    I would imagine it would be a huge difference. I just have one, but even getting together with my boyfriend and his young daughter makes a big difference. It goes from easy baby watching to non-stop running around. 
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    • Shell says

      It probably won’t happen again until the end of the summer when the older two go back and the youngest doesn’t start preschool til a week later- I’ll take the easy while I can get it!

    • Shell says

      My heart races the entire time I’m there with them. It totally stresses me out. But they love the pool, so we go a lot. And then I go home and practically collapse. 

  7. says

    HUGE difference! Mine (2 & 4) are thick as thieves but constantly fighting/arguing/whining when they are together. If I’m lucky enough to have time alone with just one of them it always goes so smoothly. No matter which one it is, they always act like a perfect angel!
    Unfortunately, after awhile they whine about missing their brother/sister and don’t let up until they’ve been reunited. The fighting starts up again, almost immediately!
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  8. says

    {Melinda} I totally get it, Shell! A couple of weeks ago, my teenage daughter went to Young Life camp for a week and my husband went to his high school reunion in another state. Four days with just my little man and me. It was really wonderful. Not that I didn’t miss the rest of my family, but, as you said, a breather now and then is so welcome. Prepares us for the rising tide of chaos that is sure to wash over us in no time! 
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  9. says

    I’m not a momma but I’m an aunt who watches her nieces a lot and it does make a total difference with 1 instead of the normal 2 or so.  In particular, the one is going to be 4 in Nov and the other is 10 and the 10 year old is constantly saying, “I’m bored” whereas the 3 year old LOVES anything and everything!!
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    • Shell says

      I’ve seen that, too. Last year, my younger two were home with me all day(or almost all of it) and it was mostly peaceful. As soon as the oldest came home, chaos erupted. I felt bad- b/c it’s not like it was really his fault, it was just the combination of all three. 

  10. says

    So glad you were able to enjoy that time. I have really started trying to make one on one time with my girls. It is not always easy but it brings us much closer and it definitely relaxes me a bit as well. I hope you can find more days like this! xo
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    • Shell says

      I do love being able to spend one on one time with them. It’s hard to find somethings, but so nice when I can do it! 

  11. says

    Shhh…you’re spilling some of the secrets some of us moms of only children try to hide. Wait— we don’t try to hide how we can relax by the pool or read a book at the playground—we usually keep our mouths shut in fear that we will be pelted with juice boxes by the other harried moms.

    Enjoy the special time with each one of your kiddos. You all deserve it.
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    • Shell says


      I definitely don’t think it’s really all that easy with just one- just that it’s easiER, you know? 

    • Shell says

      So much more relaxing! I love all my boys, but it’s nice to get a little bit of break sometimes!

  12. says

    So jealous! I notice a huge difference. It is unbelievably easy and makes me think back and I end up laughing at when I only had Nico and thought life was hard. Glad you got to have some peace. :)
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    • Shell says

      Oh, I know. I look back and wonder how I thought that was so hard… but we were also new moms with no clue. 😉 

  13. says

    I only have two, and I can’t believe how much easier it is to only have one.  I can’t believe how much time I spend counting my kids when I head out.

    I was told, when Duffy was pregnant, that two kids are four times the work.  I’m guessing a third is another four times that difficulty.  I’m glad you got a day out that included some relaxation.
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    • Shell says

      That nonstop headcount is stressful. I wonder how old they’ll have to be before I can stop doing that. Probably when the youngest is 25. 

    • Shell says

      So much more! If someone had told me before that I would eventually feel that way, I would think they were crazy- b/c having one seemed so hard. 

  14. says

    Not only do I love the one on one time, but I love just being with 2 of my kids. Taking the 4yo twins somewhere these days is almost too easy. I do have to be in the pool with all 3 of them (the youngest is 2), but it gets me in the water and makes me let go of a few of my hangups about being in public in a swimsuit. I don’t have a choice!
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    • Shell says

      That’s how I really got over my swimsuit phobia, too- though I don’t always have to be in the water with mine, I know I have to be ready to jump in at any second. 

      Mine are like that, too- even when I can do something with just two, it seems so much easier. 

    • Shell says

      I didn’t really, either. My oldest was only 17 months old when my second was born and I hadn’t hit that hey this is easy phase yet. 

  15. says

    As you know my kids are older so I don’t have quite the same issues with monitoring them that you do anymore – at the pool or beach or anywhere we go, I have an easier time than a mom with three young kids, no doubt.

    And yet.

    My two teenagers are COMPLETELY different when I have them one on one. The way they talk, interact, reveal, share, behave – it’s like I don’t even recognize them.

    So yes. I think individual time with the kids (no matter how hard it is to arrange or how infrequent) is totally worth it.

    I loved hearing about this day with Cub. You both deserved it. And then some.
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    • Shell says

      Whenever we are somewhere like the pool or beach or an amusement park, Hubs and I talk about how many years it will be until doing something like that becomes easier because they are all okay without that constant supervision. It’s amazing how fast it really is going, though. 

  16. says

    I was just talking to someone about this, for as much as I like that they have a built in friend, whenever I am one on one with Gio or jacob, things are SOOOOO MUCH better. Just less yelling and stress and I get to know them individually instead of as a pair.

    I completely understand this xoxoxo
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    • Shell says

      So very much easier! The yelling and stress levels are way down. I love my boys to pieces(like I know you do, too) but wow, those rare moments with just one are treasured. 

  17. says

    When my twins were under one, my mom would take my oldest for the morning on a Saturday here and there. When she offered she said it would be a break for us. I didn’t believe her since I didn’t think having one less child would be a break but it was. And I pissed off all the moms with just twins when I said having just twins would be so easy. But it was such a nice break, I know what you mean.
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  18. says

    Whenever even one of mine is away or not with us their is a whole different dynamic to everything we do. Definitely more relaxing.
    Happy you got to have that relaxing time at the pool- I am sure your little guy enjoyed it too.
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  19. says

    Even when one is napping it is so much easier. I am a little excited to get at least my son in pre-school a morning or two a week.