Thursday, August 9, 2012

not ready...not ready...not ready...and a question.

I may be excited about their cute back-to-school outfits, but I'm so not ready for school to start!!!

Why??? Let's see...

Here's a big one..................I so love lazy mornings with the littles.  Un-rushed and carefree.
I love to see what they come up with to entertain themselves...
I love all of our messy, spontaneous art projects...
Want cotton candy, at 11:00 a.m.? Sure, why not?!
{to be fair, this was after swimming lessons and a very early lunch!}
Middle of the week lunch dates at Jason's Deli.............having lunch with these silly littles is just what I need to get through the rest of my work day!
Summer activities...this has been a fun summer. I heart gymnastics and the Olympics! And I love our anything goes summers.
During the school year, it always feels like a rush fest. Rush to make it to school on time {crazy carpool line!!}, rush to pick-up, rush to get to after-school activities, rush home to make dinner, rush to get the littles to bed on time so they can get a full night's rest, rush, rush, rush!! Aaaah!
So other than the fact that it is 5000 degrees outside, I do love our carefree, flip-flop-wearing, lemonade-sipping, stay-up-too-late, sleep-in days of summer.
But I have a question for you......
Do your littles ask you to play with them at least 534,672x/day??
Don't get me wrong, I love sitting down on the floor and playing with them, whether it be Legos or Lalaloopsies, art projects or homemade P.E. courses.  I feel blessed to work a flex schedule so that I'm only away from them 3 days/wk.  I love going places and exploring new things with them, but when we're home all day, I feel like I'm constantly saying, "Let mama finish this and we'll do it (play) again, okay?"
I don't remember my mom playing with me all day, do you?
Please no lectures about "they're only little once..." believe me, I know and I embrace their littleness every chance I get. I love them to pieces, I cherish our time together, but after the 8th request in less than an hour, just AFTER we got done playing, I start thinking, "that's why I had you guys close together, so you could PLAY together".
And then the mommy guilt enters.
Just me? Or you too?


Julianna said...

No, you are not alone! I still struggle when I have to say no, but then I have to remember how many times I say "yes". A pediatrician once told me that you really only need to intensively engage with your children 1/3 or the day. That includes dinner time, and routines that you always do for your children (bath etc.). I know for me it feels like WAY more than that, but it certainly justifies the times I say no. They need to learn how to entertain themselves. Don't feel guilty~!

Julianna said...

Also, my daughter asks me to play with her way more than my son, I think it is because she remembers the time before brother, when I had more time to devote to her. They will start playing together more. When Quinn turned three it really picked up, don't worry, pretty soon they will give you an hour or two of playing together without momma's help.

Jennifer Plus Love said...

I always wondered if something was wrong with me. My baby is only a year old and my first but i feel like i am always doing something... Cleaning is never over. I do play with him but i feel like maybe it's not enough.

I always feel guilty that he follows me around the house crying. ugh now i feel bad. I always feel there isn't enough time in my day.

Cristin said...

I agree with Jennifer. I have a just turned two year old girl...and I feel like I am her own personal entertainment all day and then I go to work at night. I feel bad telling her to wait a minute when she wants me to play with her. I think motherhood just equals guilt.

Melanna said...

One of my best friend's mom's volunteers in our church's nursery. I remember her asking me when my oldest was 2ish (and I had a little baby) if I played with my kids. She had heard this same question you ask from other newer moms about how they couldn't get anything done because their kids always wanted them to play. She had never played with her kids.
I realized in that moment I never really do either. And I think it's how you start out with them.
As babies, I had them in the room with me while I was doing my stuff (cleaning, laundry, making dinner etc), we would do outings and I do activities with them (crafts, board games, puzzles, baking together etc), but their toys have always been their thing. I'll show them how to use it when they first get it (if they can't figure it out) and that's it. They don't bug me to play with them (they bug me for the activities!). On the other hand, my husband comes home and that's all they want him to do. But since birth, as soon as he walked in the door he has always gotten down on the floor and played. So it's what they're used to. He mentioned to me the other day that he wasn't looking forward to repeating the "playing store and going shopping" stage with our younger child and I realized I have NEVER had to play that game! And I was relieved. It's not fun for the parent!
So I don't know if that helps you, but if you don't like the playing (or can't), maybe have certain times that are mommy time for those things and then times that they need to let you do what you need to do while they play on their own? And I don't think you need to feel guilty about when you have to say no, think of playing as their "work" and just like you have things you have to get done in a day, they have play they have to get done in a day (without a parent!). Maybe it's harder with opposite gendered kids too? I have 2 girls so I don't know.
I love your honesty. :)

Lauren and Eddie said...

Oh my good gravy! Thank goodness someone else feels this way! I am NOT good at playing. I get so antsy like I need to be doing something else. And I KNOW that I don't...I'm staying home with THEM, not with the dishes...but it's still my responsibility, you know? And there's that whole part where I'm not good at that part of mothering. :) I'd rather read to them. Ha! You're not alone!

CourtneyG said...

Oh yes I feel the same way..and I probably dont play near enough
like I should and feel super GUILTY! But I can only play with princess stuff so long and matching games so long...guess I need to devote more time ;/

ADA said...

I struggle with this so much as well! My 6 yr old is more demanding and has a harder time self-entertaining/soothing than the 3 year old. I asked a psychologist about it and she says it's important for him to learn to self soothe and find things that make them happy on their own without direction from us several times a day! If they don't then they are prone to always need to be satisfied from other sources as they grow up which can of course turn into a bad deal. I also have started giving each child individual "special time" twice a day for 10 minutes. They get to choose what we do and get my undivided attention AND i try my best to be the silliest light hearted childlike mom I can be in those 10 minutes!!

Angel said...

My goodness don't feel guilty you seem like a wonderful mother who gives a lot to her children. I have a little 3 1/2 year old girl and she ask to play because she considers us to be her playmates since there are not other children in the house. I do enjoy playing with her and making the most of all the little moments but I also have to get things done around the house and make some small time for myself. I agree I don't remember my mom playing with us all the time. We played on our own and used our imagination. It's good for them. I agree with ADA about giving them each individual time. My mom did this with my brother and I. I still have fond memories of our special play times even if they were only 20 minutes at a time.

Linda said...

Our just 7 year old asks us to play with him that often too! He even asked for a brother or sister so he would have someone to play with (which is, unfortunately, not going to happen). I feel guilty for saying no. Always. Every time. Even when my friends and neighbors claim I spend WAY more time playing with him (and all the other kids that visit us) than they do.

Truth is, I love it. It's the guilt I feel for not cleaning/working (I work from home) / doing something 'useful' instead. When my sis and I were younger our mom worked during school hours and she always played with us. Sometimes we had so many friends over there were ten of us, and she'd make forts with us in the backyard or play dressup (she went to thrift stores to buy extravangant dresses, just for this purpose). Those are my best memories and I want that for our son (and all other kids that come over) too!

Now, here's what my mom told me a while ago:

"I only played with you girls on wednesday afternoons and during school vacations every other afternoon, and never more than an hour! Your memories are wonderfull but sooooooo far from reality!"

Uh... Really? Hope this helps you fellow moms. I loved reading that I'm not the only one who STILL feels guilty and wish you all a good few weeks of summer!

rturner said...

Thank you for your honesty...I thought you were reading my mind!!! Parenting...the hardest job I've ever had!! The sweet hugs make it all worthwhile but finding balance is such a challenge.

Jessica said...

Thanks for all the comments and tips - it's reassuring to know others share similar experiences with their littles!!

Virginia said...

You are right: I did not play with you ALL the time but I did have my ways to get you involved in what I was doing, so that it still felt like play time to you. Let me give you some examples:
- When I was cooking and you were little, I encouraged you to "cook" with your kitchen play things and bring your meals to me so I could taste them. When you were a little older and able to help, you were in charge of washing vegetables, setting the table, etc. We would talk about a lot of things at those times.
- When I had paperwork to do: you would color or play with dress-up paper dolls (even to the point of drawing, designing and coloring their clothes!) Once you learned to read (at a very early age, may I add)I would make you 15-25 pages stapled mini-notebooks and write some instructions at the top of each page for you to do, like
"write your favorite things to eat","draw a picnic", "What do you want to be when you grow up, and why", "Design a beautiful dress", etc, etc. You loved those yellow notebooks because every time the questions were different.They kept you entertained for long stretches ot time.
- Remember, we had no computers or electronic games (until I bought that Commodore 64!), so I had to be creative.
-One thing that I always made sure of, however, was to spend the first 15 minutes after I got home solely with you, one on one, sharing things. I would tell you of my day and you would tell me of yours. I think I started doing it when you were only 2 years old. It was one way I showed you that I had missed you during the day and also a way of showing you how important you were (are) in my life, and that I was truly interested in your things and feelings.
- From a very young age I got you involved in helping me around the house, and praised you for your work (even if I had to go back and re-do whatever it was after you were asleep). I made sure to show you how to do things right, but appreciated any effort you put forward and told you so. Kids beam when a parent shows approval of things they do. Here, little things count as much as big things.
- Several times a week, but especially on the Saturdays that I didn't have to work, I let you play with any paint, water projects, even mud if you wanted, without any worries about your clothing. That's why we kept many of Abuelito's big T-shirts,for you and your friends and cousins, remember? (besides the fact that you loved them as nightgowns, because they were worn and very soft). You used to do those projects out on a table in the marquesina (carport)and sometimes I had to hose you down outside before bringing you in for a bath, but that was OK. You always had a great time and I enjoyed a lot of your "chocolate" (mud) pies
-The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. One thing I always did was explain to you the "Why" of anything I had to do or of things that I asked you to do. I never said "Because I say so!" I explained in terms that were appropriate for your age. That alone went a long way to help me secure the time I needed to do certain tasks.
-That is not counting the times I spent just playing with you, which were many. I just tried to make ANY time that we were together a special and significant time for you. It was always special for me!
I have probably brought you down memory lane with this long comment, but I think you, and so many other young mothers out there can benefit from my experience.
All my love, Mom

The Walthall Family said...

I am totally with you! I'm a single mom of a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old and the constant balancing act of taking care of their physical needs (meals, laundry, hair, teeth, cleaning,bills, etc.)and just BEING with them and playing is so so so hard.