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A Delicate Parent Balancing Act: How Do Parents Do It?

How not to hurt your other kids when one child requires more

By Candace Gonzales McGee, Spicy Cilantro
Published on LatinoLA: August 29, 2012


A Delicate Parent Balancing Act: How Do Parents Do It?


Originally published at Spicy Cilantro

How do mothers (single or married) balance their lives… parenting, work/careers without missing out on a single thing with each and every child they have? It is difficult. A mom has to have tons of energy, a right emotional stability and skills to match their abilities to balance everything and everyone. I'm already tired just talking about it.

Here's my recent mom-daughter experience:

I have found myself in a very interesting and sticky situation recently, and certainly one I never thought I would be in, but here I am.

I have two daughters, Mariaelena age 17 and Amari who is 10. My younger daughter keeps a journal and has had one since last year. She doesn't write in it every day, but still, from time to time, makes an entry.

The other day she asked me to read her most current entry. So, I began to read. By the time I was done all I could do is give her a big hug. She had the saddest look on her face… I felt horrible.

She wrote about how she is feeling left out and how everything in our lives revolves around her older sister. Mariaelena is entering her senior year and that means: Senior project, cheer practice, football games, basketball games, senior portraits, homecoming, senior ball and on and on.

Meanwhile, the little one is not getting any attention. The crazy thing is that school has not even started yet… many senior activities have yet to come. And it doesn't help that I am one of the cheer coaches for the older daughter's cheer squad. I am certainly very involved in Marialena's life as I do my best to help her head into adulthood with the best education, skills, morals and experience I can share with her.

As a parent, I try to give attention to both my girls. How, do we as parents, make sure each kid is getting their needs met?

I took a deep breath and told my younger daughter that I know it's hard for her. I explained to her about what it means to be a senior. I told her that when her sister moves out in the next few years, it will be all about her. She smiled and said, "Really Mom?" I said of course! I then told her that it will be all about me and her. I ended with telling her that we would be going out on a Mommy-Daughter day soon. She asked when, of course. So I told her that when we go shopping for her school clothes, we can make that our day. This seemed to please her, for now. I most definitely have been placed on call by my little Amari that she's a big part of our family. I'm smiling because she is so like my grandmother, Hedy Serna… a woman who always let us know when something was just not right.

I can't imagine how parents with, say five kids, do it. So, I ask those who have more than one child living at home, what do you do?

About the author:

Candace Serna/Gonzalez McGee, was raised on the United Farm Workers picket lines where Cesar Chavez considered her his youngest union organizer who was brought up by two strong activist women, her mother and grandmother. She is a has worked at the CSUS Career Center for years and is a career expert. She is married with two teenage daughters. She also brings unique perspective to her biracial family.

All Rights Reserved, © 2012, Spicy Cilantro

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