Dividing the Family Unit

Amanda reflects on her quality time she spent with her older son and explains the advantages of occasionally dividing the family unit



As a family, we like to do things together. We are a close knit unit, which is helped by having 2 kids of the same sex. For example, if one of them wants to go off and play sport, then we all go. It doesn't always work out like that though. If I want to go off and get my nails done, I'm on my own. Which is a good thing.

Divide and conquer

It was a bit of a shock last week, then, when the family had to divide up and go their separate ways for a whole week.

My husband took my youngest on a last minute skiing holiday, whilst I stayed at home with my eldest, who is having to revise for exams. I get the feeling I drew the short straw on that one.

So whilst half the family were sunning it on the slopes, drinking beer and sending unamusing photos and videos on social media, the other half were stuck in an office/at a desk. Remind me to switch off WhatsApp the next time this happens.

However, there were some distinct advantages to this arrangement.

Focussing on just one

When you have just one of your offspring with you, you can give them your undivided attention, and visa versa.

I have thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with my teenage son. Without his much more vocal younger brother around, he's thrived. He's had a lot to say for himself, and as it turns out he is very chatty and very funny.

It also means we can do things which we couldn't do with the youngest, such as eating out at nice restaurants, rather than the normal pizza/hamburger joints which my youngest always chooses. Plus we've been to the cinema for the first time in ages to watch a film that's not made by Pixar. Although Fast and Furious 8, which he chose, is a poor substitute in my mind for Finding Dory, my son loved it.

We've been on long walks, and had chats about girls, something he'd never do if his brother was around with his sonic hearing. He's even allowed me to drive him to see his "girlfriend", and have a coffee with them when I picked them up. I get the feeling he feels less inhibited without his younger brother around, who would jump at the chance to embarrass him in front of her.

Back together

The disadvantage to this division arrangement is that I missed my youngest like crazy. The house was a very quiet place without him and I was desperate for him to come home. I was so pleased to see him, but the novelty did wear off after he'd been in the house for a few hours and the decibel levels rose again. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

When the boys are away from each other, I can also see how much they entertain each other, because I'm a poor substitute when it comes to playing football, cricket, rugby or any ball sport. Apparently I throw like a girl.

But now we are all back together, we can enjoy the rest of the holidays as a unit again. And guess what? We are all off to London for a cricket training weekend. Now where's the nearest nail bar...

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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