Friday, December 10, 2010

Things That Make Moms Feel Guilty, Advice?


We're closing in on the end of this project here in Dayton, OH. My husbands' crew is finishing up the studio that goes live this weekend. Hours are long and he's only home this week for about 7-8 hours a day [to sleep]. We're thankful to see him in his coming and goings though. He's working hard, I'm working hard.

The kids, well they are just whinny and missing their daddy, but Christmas break and winter vacation are just around the corner. I keep telling them [and myself].

Today, Day 4, was a hard one. I couldn't decide if it was the cold weather keeping us inside more often, them missing their daddy, or their constant need for my attention that wore me out most today. Probably all of the above. Nevertheless, I had a good talk with Charles tonight on the phone and we figured out that I'm probably going a little soft on them.

I think I was fine until Solomon was born. That kid...he's so sweet & sensitive, he can turn on the most dramatic waterworks and sad heart is melted to bits. He's cuteness, however, is a form of manipulation and I'm afraid I'm going to need to crack down a bit tomorrow.

I spend my whole day making sure they have fun, creative, and educational activities in 30-60 minute increments [TV only a bit in the morning and before bed]. I try to change out their toys, do crafts, let them help me with chores, play Wii or online education games, play with Moses, Moon Sand, etc. I try to take them out at least every other day for a few hours. But, it's not the going our part that's been's been the staying home part. Which, is a reality, it's gotta happen otherwise...we'll be wearing stinky dirty stained clothes [which we kind of do anyways].

But...they have been wearing me out this week. I forgot how much saving grace it is when your husband walks through the door at 5pm. Instead those last 3 hours of tired kids, dinner, baths and bed are brutal at times...especially doing it alone.

I feel guilty when I'm just about to start a chore or mom thing when they call to me to "help" or "see" or "tell" or "I need" [ pee, snack, drink, hug, kiss, etc] and I don't come right away. I know I have to do certain things while they are awake, but I also am having a hard time turning down those Solomon eyes and lips. I feel guilty when they say they are bored and end up spinning myself in circles trying to keep them entertained.

They've gone from kids who play by themselves a good bit to kids who have a one minute attention span from being away from me. I've tried everything, but it looks like mommy is going to have to look a lot busier tomorrow. Maybe even "not hear" my named being called so often. If they can't see me, they tend to be just fine, ohhhh but when they see me...they need something.

So, there, I vent. Thursday is over and Friday has begun. I'm hopeful today will be equally fun for them, but less tiring for me. Praying they play more independently with less "needing" & fighting.

Any tips? 
How do you keep your kids busy inside 12-14 hours a day in the cold months? 
What do you do when they constantly "need" you? 
How do you respond when they tell you they are bored when they have plenty of things to do? 
How do you discipline constant fighting [just for the sake of the attention and involvement of mom]?


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  1. Not a mom yet, but have worked with kids most of my years. Here are some of my favorite tricks I've learned from my own experience:

    1) In response to tattling about someone saying or doing something mean ("She said she's not my friend anymore") - I say "Well, how rude. I hope you told her that what she said was not nice and that it hurt your feelings!" They usually respond that they have (which is usually not true), but then I say "Oh good. I'm glad" Then they usually feel better and leave.

    2) In response to tattling for something that makes no sense or isn't really worth tattling about, I say "Well, thank you for telling me." and then turn my attention elsewhere so that they know the conversation is over.

    3) In response to whininess or crying for no good reason, I either a) say "I can't understand you. Speak to me in a big boy voice, please" or b) hold my ears and loudly proclaim over their crying "OH what a horrible noise! I can't listen to this! If only someone would use their words instead of whining!"

    4) In response to children going bonkers and getting into something they shouldn't, I say "You have about five seconds to find something you're allowed to do and then you're just gonna have to sit and do nothing at all."

    5) And finally, in response to children following me around and wanting to "help" me instead of entertaining themselves, I say "No thank you. I need you to play right now. This is my job. And playing is your job." When they start to argue, I interrupt and continue to repeat "Go play. Go play. Go play." until they get tired of fighting it and finally leave.

    May take some time but I'm sure you can re-train them to be good self-entertainers! Good luck!

  2. Oh candra... I have never related to you more than in this post. Brenden has been working (at the bergeron office) away from home on his grandfathers everglade campaigne for just 2 weeks, sun up to way past sun down. I feel like ill implode, most days. I force myself to let things go and realize i cant be everything to everyone. If the boys go an hour whining, or getting into trouble without me seeing, its not neglect. They DO need to learn pacience and how to occupy themselves a little bit. Its good for them and its good for mommy. Youre an awesome mom so dont feel guilty!

  3. I totally sympathise with you too. My husband has been working up north since September and is away Mon-Fri. We will all move up once the house here sells but until then we can't buy a house up there and so me and the boys are on our own Mon-Fri.

    This hasn't actually been too hard until two weeks ago when the snow came down thick and fast. Last weekend he couldn't get down because of the snow so I have been snowed in with four boys for two weeks!

    All I would say is that I agree with the previous comments. It's totally natural to feel guilty, mum's do all the time and for no real reason! i know I shouldn't be but just can't stop!

  4. I have just recently had to institute the no tattling rule. I say something to the effect of, "Unless what she did physically HURT you, you two need to work it out." This does not work great on Liberty, haha. But it's a start.

    I think there is no magic formula other than sticking to your guns, whatever you decide to do. I did have a veteran mom tell me (and some other newbies who needed this kind of advice) a very good point one time: We are not cruise directors. It is not our job to make sure our kids are entertained every second of every day. Our job is to take care of them, which includes providing stuff for them to play with and do, but also keep life in general in order, which necessitates some detachment from them during the day. I almost wonder if you've done TOO good a job keeping them entertained, and their self play skills have gotten fuzzy. Maybe a good old fashioned "here's a stick and some string, go play!" directive is in order. :)

    You are a fabulous mom who really has it together most of the time. These long days will be over soon and I bet you'll see a return to normal behavior with the return of Daddy evenings as well. Keep up the good work!

  5. Oh, one more thing: is putting them to bed early an option? We put our kids down earlier than ever before the other night (7, as opposed to almost 8) and they conked out right away and still woke up after 7 the next morning. We REALLY appreciated the quiet evening and I bet you might too. I know that's a sacrifice since Charles isn't seeing them much right now but this too shall pass.

  6. the discipline part I could use advice on too ... you are not alone there!

    one of our favorites for indoor activities, my boys love to make forts ... or should I say, love it when I set it up for them. I have a 6 & 2 1/2 yr old. yes the house will be messy, but it is fun and usually keeps them busy for awhile.
    also you have room to set up your tent (if you've got one) do that. camping out overnight inside is still fun.

  7. @ Leah, your suggestions were amazing, definitely thought about and used some today

    @Janell, thanks for your encouragement [a mom with boys knows!]

    @Lindsey, thanks you're right, I think I've just been feeling guilty about the whole going out less & playing outside less because of the weather and then Charles being busy this week so I've been trying to "make up for it", by letting them exhaust me with their constant talking, questions, and general "needs" was silly really, they KNOW i love them and i know i love them and i shouldn't feel guilty for doing my other jobs as a mommy besides just listening-playing-helping-talking to them, etc

    @this is ME, thanks for reminding me about could i forget? tomorrow yes!

    Thank's y'all so much. I really appreciate it. I felt like I learned so much for what all of you said and put some of it into practice today and it was MUCH better. I just had to be more tough and even when Nation told me "mom, don't say that, don't say you can't come see this right now" ha ha, I had to let it go, remind myself he's 4 and he doesn't understand that clean undies in the washer is just as important as me reading a story to him, ha ha.

    Couple more days of no daddy and then life should be much better. It was 40 out today, but I took the older to to play outside for 75 minutes and they enjoyed that. Snow is...wet, muddy and cold. Only good for pictures. Only.



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