Trying To Be The Best Parent When You Just Want Alone Time
All parents can relate, you just want a lazy Sunday but with kids, there is no such thing. Kids demand your attention and it matters not if you are sick, exhausted, wanting alone time or have other things to do.
I’m writing this while sitting in a park, attempting to entertain the kids and wear them out at the same time. I don’t really want to be here, I want to be at home, relaxing. But with kids, lazy Sunday’s are no more.
I attempted today to get the kids to entertain themselves. Of course, it failed miserably hence why I’m now sitting in a park.
Guilt plays the biggest factor in my decision to push aside my exhaustion and battle on. My kids can sometimes be too reliant on screen time for entertainment. I sometimes just say “stuff it” and give in, other days, wracked with guilt, I refuse. I honestly find my stress levels increase exponentially when I refuse to give them screen time because my son, in particular, is incapable of entertaining himself. Whether giving him screen time has caused this, or it would be this way anyway is something I haven’t quite figured out.
While all the experts say “1 hour of screen time a day max” I often wonder if these people even have children.
These are my rules:
I get up fairly early, but not as early as my son. He has always been a crack of dawn riser. So, I give them screen time so I can have a small sleep in. I do however have all devices password protected and I hide the PlayStation remotes. This is a lesson I learnt the hard way when I discovered my son up at midnight playing games. If everything is hidden or password protected, I can monitor the time he starts using them as he has to ask me to unlock them.
I leave cereal in containers with lids, milk in cups in the fridge and spoons on the bench. That way the kids can help themselves to breakfast and I can at least sleep in for another hour or so. If it’s cold I set up blankets and pillows so the kids make themselves comfy
I tell my kids straight “mommy works really hard and I just need a sleep in, let mommy rest and I’ll take you somewhere nice today” My husband and I both work highly stressful jobs. I work 4 days a week and he works full time. I leave the house in the mornings around 5 am, sometimes as early as 3:30 am and I’m rarely home before 5:30 pm. So I allow myself the time to relax and try and ignore the ever-present mom guilt.
Simple Ways To Relieve Mom Guilt
Set aside a few hours for the kids. Take them out, spend quality time with them. Pick an activity, schedule a play date, even take them for a bike ride or take them to do something they enjoy. For my son, it’s fishing. My theory is the housework can wait. Give them your time, however I will not give them ALL of my time. When we are home, I tell them now is time for them to amuse themselves.
As a child, I had to entertain myself for hours on end. I expect the same of my children. During this time, I get the housework done. I blog, I write, I do something for me. Having dedicated a few hours to them earlier in the day, allows me to do something I want to do myself without feeling guilty.
Once my energy levels are completely drained, I give them screen time. First, I ensure they have done some learning, like “Reading Eggs” or “Prodigy” for my son, who is school aged. I make them complete up to half an hour then it’s free play time.
Most of all, give yourself a break. Don’t try and be the perfect mom. We all get sucked in by social media at times, believing all the perfect parenting moments people choose to share on Facebook or Instagram. I highlight this in my article “Insta-Fakeness.” What they don’t share are the times they lose their minds at their kids, lock the toilet door just to get some peace or cry in the pantry in the dark.
We are all just getting by. Parenting is hard, give yourself a break momma, you’re doing great! xx
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