I wanted to share two of my favorite comments on Sunday’s post:
“One thing I was wondering that might help you — you said you get frustrated because you’re trying to get them to listen and they don’t listen well. I would honestly focus hard on that for right now and make it so that listening to you the first time is not optional. Enforce consequences if needed but honestly, it’s easier to be around kids who are well-behaved and good listeners, when everything doesn’t turn into an argument. You’re the mom, you’re the one in charge, don’t stand around waiting for your kids to obey whenever they happen to get around to it while letting your anger and resentment build and simmer. Enforce listening the first time.
I also don’t expect to be able to spend long stretches of “me time” when I’m alone with my kids, reading or knitting or whatever. I work on other creative projects like cooking and gardening that don’t require as much concentration. I also don’t feel the need to jump up and tend to my kids’ needs the moment they arrive (not saying that’s what you’re doing, just what I do). It’s been really important for me to reframe how I’m spending my time, and to remember that while I might enjoy curling up with a good book right now or working on that sweater, I’m not entitled to that time and it’s also not my task in this moment. (Again not suggesting any of your struggle comes from a sense of entitlement! Just sharing what’s worked for me.) The long stretches of solo parenting can be so tough but it can also be possible to enjoy it. Good luck.from Amy
You are not alone. I was a SAHM when my kids were basically exactly your kids’ ages. There were so many days in which I was just hanging on by my fingernails. There are a few tips and tricks I learned, and you can absolutely feel free to ignore them if any of this is too ass-vicey. Re: yelling. I would gather the older kids and say in my quietest voice that I was really tired of them not listening to me, and that I was afraid I was going to yell. We talked about how we all felt when I yelled (bad). I asked them to please help me not yell by listening. We agreed to work on it together. Whenever we started to get to that point, I would switch to my quiet voice. If I did end up yelling, we’d have a debrief – I’d apologize, we’d discuss what happened. Your older kids are old enough to understand.
Next, I never tried to have any significant tasks to complete. Like the most significant task was load the dishwasher or put up a load of laundry. If anything beyond that happened, then great. Next, I tried to have a list of possible activities in my mind to stave off fights from boredom. If they were playing great together, I did nothing. If they were starting to squabble, I’d mix it up. Who wants to blow bubbles? Make chalk drawings? Swing outside (we have a playset)? Go for a walk? Have a dance party? Color? Build legos? Read a book? Play school? Play hair salon? Bake? Have a snack? Take a bath? Tickle monster? Rake leaves? Build a fort? We also had quiet time. After lunch for at least an hour, everyone had to play quietly in their room. It gave me an hour to decompress or do some deep work or nap or whatever. I also took a nap almost every day during one episode of Dora. I swear I’m like Pavlov’s dog now – the opening song puts me out immediately and the closing song wakes me up. I would lie on the couch with the kids leaning against me and one arm around them. I could feel if someone got up, but that rarely happened. On hard days, it would be 2 episodes of Dora. Dealing with the emotional/physical/social needs of three little people is truly exhausting. I needed that nap to be able to function.from MommyAttorney
I love the idea of Dora triggering a Pavlovian nap. I have done the “couch naps while kids watching a show” thing many times before, and it truly can feel rejuvenating even if it’s just 25 minutes (or . . .25 minutes x 2).
After writing all that (it was rather cathartic), I ended up having a much better day. I did take the kids to the Gardens, and otherwise mostly focused on strategic housework and rest.
I am going to work on making more friends here. I agree that the easiest (and best!) would be families at C&G’s school, because if the kids are already interacting it’s kind of like a premade pod. If the playgrounds would just open up (!), then it would be easy to suggest a meetup with another family.
In other news, I heard a rumor that when schools open in our county, the kids will “continue e-learning in the school buildings” to allow teachers to synchronously continue teaching kids who choose to remain home. As in, they will all bring their laptops and continue to most of their work on screen, though the teacher would be physically present. While I sort of understand the rationale for this, it makes me sad AND very happy that I moved C because I am 98% sure it would have been disastrous for him.
AND FINALLY . . .
What better way to finish off a year of 83473 different planning systems than to try a new quarterly planner for Q4?! I discovered Amplify on @dolceplanner‘s feed and decided it would be a fun one to try out. Will definitely share pix and let you all know how it goes!