Dear Oldest Son: I’m Sorry My Attention Is Divided Right Now

Dear Oldest Son: I’m sorry...

Dear Oldest Son: I’m sorry...

Dear Oldest Son,

Life these days is all about dividing and conquering. I guess this is what happens whenever you go from a family of three, with just one child to think about, to a family of four with two children to mind every single day. Two mouths to feed, four hands to make sure are washed and cleaned, and double the toys to put away multiple times during the day. While I have days — or even moments within the day — where I feel like a supermom with have everything all under control, I also have moments where I feel like I fail at this whole divide-and-conquer thing.

I feel more and more like I’m dividing and conquering so many things — too many things.

Work. Life. Ordering groceries. Catching up on work. Spending time with your dad, you, and your sister. The list could go on and on and it’s not fair, but it’s part of life. There are responsibilities that we must handle everyday in order to relax and get to do the fun stuff. Sometimes, it’s hard to slow down.

But you never say a word about feeling like I’m not giving you enough attention, though I know deep down it doesn’t go unnoticed. You, my sweet boy, are a hero to your little sister. You’re so attentive, you wrap your world around hers and have shared your life with her beautifully. You have always been a strong-willed child, but having a baby sister pulls the emotional, sappy, sweet part of you to the surface more and more each day — and it’s amazing to watch as your parent.

At just 14 months old, she is your world and you are hers.

Each day isn’t always easy or magical or glamorous, though. We have hard days where we butt heads and argue over getting your homework done or the way that you talk back sometimes. These are growing pains for both of us that I try to take with a grain of salt, and I hope you do, too.

Perhaps I’m the one having the harder time letting go and admitting that your little sister just needs me more than you do right now.

I guess I noticed a shift in things, though, when she started walking and required so much more of my attention during the day. In fact, we all noticed her separation anxiety get a little out of control. She’s a handful and we are forever on a mission to keep her out of trouble and from getting her hands on something that she shouldn’t. Gone are the days of being able to lay her down in her baby swing and watch as she peacefully rocked back and forth four hours. Nope. These days, we’re lucky if she takes two short naps. New motherhood is tough, and I try to embrace the everyday chaos full on.

I try to fill our weekends with activities that suit you because she’s just fine lounging in the stroller most of the time. But she’s still busy, and oftentimes my focus shifts to her while you’re left to entertain yourself.

The thing is that deep down, I know you’re okay with that. You’ve grown to be so independent and enjoy the time where you get to be on your own a bit.

Perhaps I’m the one having the harder time letting go and admitting that your little sister just needs me more than you do right now. Maybe I’m confusing mom guilt with having a hard time facing the fact that you’re getting old. Gulp. That’s a hard one for me to digest. In my mind you’re still the baby boy I brought home from the hospital. Instead, you’re a busy nine-year-old with smelly feet, super picky eating habits, and the intense need to carry his Nintendo 3DS with him wherever he goes.


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I read a quote the other day by J.M. Barrie that says, “Little boys should never go to bed, they always wake up a day older,” and as obvious as that sounds, it’s true.

Watching you grow older has been both a privilege and a curse because I want more time with you before you don’t need me anymore, at all.

But I want you to know that I will always be here. I will always be the mom who will hug you for no reason, kiss you goodnight (even after you have fallen asleep), and help you through any difficult moments that life brings. Even if I’m not always able to give you my undivided attention, you are still my whole world, just as much as your sister is my whole world. Being a mom has helped me live my life to the fullest, which includes learning so much from you two, I hope that you take away just as much from me.

I want you to know that if you ever feel overlooked or like I’m not fully there or listening, that I’m sorry for that. It’s not intentional and my goal is to always connect with you. I hope that you will someday understand that I can’t promise you all my attention 100% of the time. But I can promise you 100% of my attention some of the time. And my love for you runs so deep. I think about you always.




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