Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins | Posted on 24-04-2012
Tags: FaceTime, Gina Perkins, preschool, Skype, Stay At Home Mom, technology, virtual
It’s no secret that the adjustment from one child to two, has been nothing short of….challenging. And just like most surprises in life, my expectations are to blame for my misguided fantasy of what our reality would be.
I have often written about how inherently sweet DJ is. I have shared before that I prayed for her tender temperament the whole time I was pregnant – and truly believe those prayers were answered. DJ is always the first to notice the sound of a crying child, and is also the first to lend comfort to that same child. So, naturally, I thought she’d be a wonderful big sister – and she is. I thought she’d slip right into the role of helper – and she has. Kinda.
But, she’s also 2 1/2.
While I knew that having another child would be a big adjustment for DJ, I hadn’t anticipated how the emotional impact of that adjustment would manifest as super duper not-at-all-like-the-DJ-we-know naughty behavior. I had also failed to anticipate how the “Terrible Twos” would make this transition all the more difficult. Silly me.
I’m a stay-at-home mom, so my breaks from the über taxing aspects of parenting are non-existent. At any given moment, I am simultaneously managing any of the following tasks: Calming a tantrum, changing a diaper, reading “Fancy Nancy”, breastfeeding, playing blocks, feeding dogs, feeding cats, writing a grocery list, wiping a bum, doing laundry, removing jelly beans from nostrils, etc. The list goes on, but I can already feel your eyes rolling as you cue the violin notes. I have never said that I’m not lucky to be home with my children – but I also don’t think I’ve ever outwardly acknowledged just how hard it is. It’s hard. Really hard. And I realized that I needed more help.
Enter my gratitude for technology. Since having Baby Z, my husband and DJ have naturally grown closer. She is learning to depend on him a bit more as my availability just isn’t what it used to be. As a result of her growing adoration for her daddy, she is listening to him much more intently, and obediently, than she does to me. This is great when the hubs is home, but what about the majority of each week that he spends at work?
Yep, hubs has made a habit of calling DJ a few times each day on FaceTime. He calls my cell phone, and they chat face-to-face for about two minutes. He asks her if she’s being a good girl, if she’s been controlling her “freak outs,” if she’s listening to mommy, etc. He then ends the call with a promise to give DJ a treat when he gets home if mom (that’d be me!) gives a good report. And yes, we are bribing our child with things like candy and new crayons – but it works, and right now, I’m just trying to survive.
This concept of “virtual parenting” is new in our household, but it’s effective. Sure, DJ and her daddy have always Skyped when he’s had to travel for work, but this is different – it’s actually active parenting. DJ is learning that although he’s out of the house, her daddy is ever-present. She’s learning that she has two parents with equal authority, and that she can’t get away with bad behavior just because I am being pulled in a million directions. Someone else is holding her accountable. And someone else has my back.
Believe it or not, this has also done wonders to bridge the daily gap between DJ and her daddy as she misses him at work each day. Because they get to check-in throughout the day, there’s not that awkward period of getting reacquainted every night. It’s kind of a win win.
Once Baby Z and I fall into a rhythm and I have a better handle on….life, then perhaps we’ll be able to say au revoire to the man behind the curtain, but for now – this is working, and why fix what ain’t broke?