10 May 2013

Where I've Been

I have felt for a while now like I'm always on the brink of having my life in order. Life is so different with two kids. More so, life is very different when one of those kids is a toddler who used to play independently for large chunks of time but now demands a lot more attention and interaction. And the other kid requires more attention than the first one did as a baby. You would think after seven months that I would be in the swing of things. In reality, after seven months I'm just learning to let go of a lot of things. One of those is this blog. I'm not quitting altogether, but it's just not a priority for me right now.

Cleaning is also not a huge priority. Earlier in the year I figured out that I am capable of working, preparing good food for our family and maintaining a clean house. But I'm not capable of doing all of these things simultaneously. So I basically called it quits on cleaning. I notified Eric, and we've just been doing the best we can to maintain some semblance of tidiness. I try not to beat myself up when it gets chaotic, and Eric has filled in a lot of gaps. (Our house is still not as clean on a day-to-day basis as I'd like, but it's something I'm learning to deal with.)

I'm learning, much to my dismay, that I don't know how to play. When I deliberately set time aside to interact with Ike I usually find myself in a pickle because I don't know what to do with him. We read a lot, but occasionally reading doesn't interest him. We sometimes watch movies or clips on YouTube, but if I'm setting aside time to be with my boy I don't want that time spent in front of a screen.

I'm getting better at playing (mostly by just mimicking the things that Eric does with him), but it gets tedious very quickly for me. I'm not a kid at heart. I'm a grownup at heart, and I think I always have been. When Ike grows up and looks back on the activities we did together they will revolve around him "being a helper" to me as I cook and clean. I'm sure those things are important, but they're probably not as fun. (Especially when the whole time we are cooking I am telling him, "Don't touch that." "Put that down." "Don't stir too much." "No, the oil doesn't go in yet." "Plug it back in." "Don't sneeze into the bowl." "Don't lick the clean dishes.")

So that's where I've been. Trying to balance the responsibilities I've chosen.


Science Teacher Mommy said...

I understand the grown up at heart thing. Same for me. And boys like to play. It can be hard. I introduced by boys to board games really early, and that seemed to help me a lot. Learning games were always easier for me. At the same time, i wish I had just relished that time a little more. My "baby" is six in just a couple of weeks. And while my grown up self is glad and relieved that they get older . . . that mother part of me sometimes says that I didn't pay attention enough.

Packrat said...

The idea of mothers having to play with their children is rather new to society - as in the last forty or so years. Before that, mothers didn't have the time. We don't have to play with them for the children to turn out just fine. Reading and singing to them, teaching them their prayers, teaching them work beside you, and teaching them to be decent human beings are the really important things. I've noticed that children, whose mothers spent all the time with them, do not have as much imagination as children who have been allowed to spend some time entertaining themselves. So, quit beating yourself up. Really. :)

Brianne said...

Hear, hear!

Janssen said...

Amen to the grown-up at heart thing.

I do think if you do any kind of work, you HAVE to let something else slide (like you, housework has been my biggest slide).

Jana said...

Cleaning is highly overrated.

As far as playing with little boys, that's partially why I loved my first two being so close together in age so they could play with each other :). I can handle puzzles and pretend eating the pretend food they pretend cook for me, and I've always loved coloring/painting/gluing... and now that they're older, playing legos and such.

And honestly, I think snuggling up and watching a show together sometimes is totally legit - you can have discussions about different parts or reference it later (today Will was getting frustrated with something and I reminded him about a Super Why episode where the super?special?secret? story answer was 'Ask for help!')

The other main thing I do is step back and let Chuck play with them - most importantly on his terms without my (mainly safety-related) interference.

Roseann said...

I so know all those feelings!! First off, don't give up all hope that your home will never be clean. With each baby it took a different amount of time, but generally by the time they were 1 or 1 1/2 I could finally feel like maybe my house was mostly clean... at least the kitchen and main living area. Of course, often that is just as another little person can sometimes be on the way, and that throws everything back into crazy again! But, I think the easiest attitude is the one you're taking and realize it won't always be that bad. Enjoy those little ones while they are little!

As to the playing... I always thought when I was a child that it would be so fun to play with my children all day. Of course, now that I am a mom, I find it hard to play for even 15 minutes with them. Partly for the reasons you stated, partly because I see everything else I need to do. I have found just taking them out to do things is much more fun for both of us. The library, park, walks around the block, those kinds of things get us out of the house, and they love it. Honestly, though, most of the time my kids just play around me or somewhere nearby as I try to do the million things on my to-do list.

La Carter said...

Packrat is totally correct that this is a realtivly new idea of mother's sitting down to play with their children. I also agree completely, that children should not have to be entertained 24/7. Our society has become so child-centric to the point of ridiculousness. So totally, don't beat yourself up and know that there are lots of mama's who feel exactly the same way!