“That’s Not Fair!” Yes Kids, Welcome To Life.

As an adult, I often wonder if stomping my feet or throwing myself on the floor would help me get my way more often.  My children think it’s the solution to every problem, don’t yours?  We’ve all heard ‘life isn’t fair’, but how do you put that into practice with your children, especially if you have a spouse chanting along with them?

Life is SO UnfairAddison was almost 2-1/2 when Cullen as born, so there were lots of things she got to experience before Cullen was really in the picture, and as anyone with more than one child can tell you, things change a lot when #2 comes along.

First problem, there’s the logistics of everything.  It’s impossible to be in two places or doing two things at once.  I’m only one person.  It’s great when the parents can divide and conquer, but it’s not always an option.  Take for example, our annual trip to Tweetsie Railroad.  In the past, we’ve always made the trip on a Friday.  It cuts down a bit on the crowd. It’s always just been Addison and I (with the exception of 2009 and Cullen was only 3 weeks old and in a wrap the whole time – that barely counts).  I’ve always been able to make the trip about her (for the most part) and be pretty flexible with doing whatever it is she wants to do.  Cullen has never been an issue in the past.  He’s never really liked anything loud or unexpected, and the train would have scared him.  Until now.  Of course, he’s grown up a bit and isn’t quite as terrified of noises as he once was.  A solo trip with two to a theme park… Oy.

Second problem, the cost of everything x 2.  Not only an extra ticket, but allllll of the extras.  The Fresh Beat Band concert we attended was a prime example.  That little shindig was an easy $250 before we even walked through the gates.  Taking only one kid wasn’t an option.  “That’s not fair” was tossed around – not by the children (who have been begging to go every time there is a commercial on for it, but have no idea we actually have tickets) – but by their father.

To add a layer of complication, now there’s also the question of which parent will take the kids to do certain activities.  Separation poses all sorts of quandaries.  Trick or Treating… should that be a group activity?  When do we start to make the divide between “this is when you’re with dad and this is when you’re with mom”?  We can’t keep playing the happy (civil?) family forever, can we?  Does doing things together make all of this harder for the kids to understand?

So, how do you handle the x 2 (or more) issues?  Is it all or nothing?  Do you pick and choose?  How do you explain to the children that fair isn’t always everyone doing the same things?  What the heck do I do about having two of them and only one of me?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you handle the “That’s not fair!” road block, especially if you’re navigating those waters as a single parent.

The original version of this post appeared on MamaMommyMom.com in May of 2012.A lot has changed since then
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