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When to say 'when' to my children?

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  • When to say 'when' to my children?

    Balance is the issue I struggle with most as an attached family...I know that I do not do enough in taking care of myself. But every time I try to take a step towards taking better care of myself, I feel guilty for not spending that time with my kids! (or I just don't do it because the effects on my kids are too detrimental for my taste) For example...

    I love working out. I love how I feel afterwards, and I love having a little bit of time to myself to just listen to music and let my thoughts wander. We belong to a healthclub which has a daycare, but my kids do not enjoy the daycare. They tolerate it. But recently, my son (almost 3) has been crying as soon as we turn into the parking lot, saying he doesn't want to go, he wants to stay with me, he wants to go to the library, to the park...many other things except, "Not you go exercise!"

    So I do my best active listening, repeat back to him his thoughts, concerns & feelings & try to get him calmed down. But when he doesn't calm down, and only gets more and more upset about having to go into the daycare, I feel the best thing is to honor his feelings and we end up leaving and going to do something else. I figure, since this is a recent development, he must be going through something and feeling extra emotional and needing to be with me. Then I try to find time in the evenings ro weekends to go actually get my exercising done, but it never works out as often as I'd like.

    I would also like to find more time to do my own work and personal projects. It seems that I spend A LOT of time tending to my kids' needs during the day, so that when I do have time in the evenings after they go to bed I need to catch up on all the housework I didn't get done during the day. Then I spend time with my husband, then go to bed. But sometimes I think that if my kids could just be a little less dependent on me during the day, I could get chores done, so I could have my evening time to fill my "mental stimulation cup". Getting up early doesn't work since my kids are erarly risers anyway, plus they hear me and end up getting up whenever I do!

    Sometimes I feel like I'm TOO responsive to them and now they expect me to be available to them at the drop of the hat! Of course, I am always available to them...but not always, know what I mean?

    I just met a mom the other day who's fourth child is just 2 months old, and she's getting back into her business that she started when she had 3 young kids and pregnant with her 4th. And I just wonder why I can't find the time to do things for myself with my 2 kids (the youngest of which is nearly 3)? Her kids are all confident, kind, close with their parents, but much more self-sufficient, and they just kind of "go with the flow" when mom's available and when she's not. There must be a way, right?

    There must be a way to say "when" to my kids. When I need some time...when I need to do something for myself. But I don't know how! Or when it's appropriate, or how not to feel guilty! I just thought I'd see what the moms here had to say about this topic!

  • #2
    i understand your frustrations! it's hard when our kids don't understand that we're real people w/real needs, too. how old are all of your kids? how many do you have? do you have anyone that can help w/your kids, maybe another mom friend, you guys could swap taking care of kids so you can work out? i'd recommend taking baby steps. for instance, i just implemented a "do not disturb" rule w/mine for when i'm taking a bath. that's mommy alone time. but they're at a good age to understand and are able to play fine for a little bit while i do that. the idea is just to find one or two things that can give you some refreshment and teach them a little patience and they learn that they can handle it. as they age, you can add in some more balance.


    • #3
      I just have the 2...ages almost-3 and 4.5. And they do handle it fine when I'm unavailable for a few minutes, either at home or if I'm out for a while. They just seem so...disappointed. And I feel guilty. I guess we've taken the baby steps, but I'm not sure how to go bigger than that! So how do I not feel guilty about doing things that are important to me? Because it seems like if I devote my attention to something other than my children, I think they they must move down a notch on the "importance scale"! Maybe I've been having a hard time admitting that there are ineed other things important in my life than my children...and now it's time to recognize that, but I'm not sure how to fit everything in.


      • #4
        you need to let go of the guilt! mommy guilt only serves to condemn you and damage your relationship with your children. if you're spending time w/them out of guilt, resentment will grow. let go of the guilt so that you can be free to be the mom you really want to be.

        in a balanced family, no one person comes in last ALL the time. it sounds like you've been doing this to yourself. you must recognize that you are just as much a person as everyone else in your family and have needs that must be met, too. remember, you are also setting an example to your children of the kind of parent they will be. do you want to send the message to them that moms aren't worth it?


        • #5
          (Much) easier said than done!


          • #6
            Today's Daily Groove (I always like what Scott Noelle has to say!):

            :: Detoxifying Parental Guilt ::

            Are you plagued by guilt whenever you fall short of
            your parenting ideals? Such guilt may seem a natural
            response, but it's not... It's *cultural*.

            Our culture conditions people to believe that their
            worth depends on their behavior, so that when your
            behavior is "wrong" you doubt your self-worth, i.e.,
            you feel guilty.

            But if you knew absolutely that you *are* worthy of
            love and respect -- *unconditionally* -- you'd never
            feel guilty. You'd simply feel "off" whenever your
            behavior was out of alignment with your values.

            That "off" feeling would be a welcome sign that you
            need to adjust your course. And with your self-worth
            beyond dispute, you'd be confident in your ability to
            get back on track.

            So next time you feel parental guilt, say to yourself,
            "This has nothing to do with my inherent worth --
            that's a given. I made a mistake, but I can learn from
            it. I got a little lost, but I'm finding my way."