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I have great INTENTIONS!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ya know, Way before I had kids, I always use to say, "Now when I have kids, I'm going to play with them all the time, read every night before bed, always let them help me cook. I'll take time to play in the rain, make mud pies, pick blades of grass, find cloud pictures with them... and the list goes on.


It seems I rarely do this. I never have time to play, I'm "busy" getting the dishes done, or I have to "hurry" and vaccum. I forget about story time. When I'm actually cooking, it always just seems easier for me to "do it myslef" QUICKLY. And by golly those clean clothes will get muddy in the rain, and I wouldn't want to get grass stains... that will just be one more thing I have to do, UGH!!

Why does this happen??!! I have such great intentions, and do truly desire to do these things with the kids, How do you make yourself "stop and smell the roses"?? I mean for heavens sake, I stay home with my children so I can STAY HOME WITH MY CHILDREN!! Right? How come it doesn't turn out that way.

Unschooling sounds so appealing but would require a "rich" environment. One filled with all the things mentioned above! One I'm terrified that I'm failing at. Do any of you struggle with this?
post #2 of 15
Everyday babe1

People keep asking what I have beenup to and my reply is "I don't know" I genuinely have no idea where all my time goes. My house isn't cleaned, my children aren't being attended too, I am not loafing (although i am always exahsted which means i do spend a considerable amount of time staring at the wall). One of the problems of being a stay at home homeschooling mom is that our houses are extremely lived in and we are always fighting the battle to keep it livable. I try to make it clear to my children that of they would pitch in and clean up after themselves I would have more time to play with them and read to them but they don't take the bait. I was going to unschool but I decided a more structured approach was bvetter for us because it forces me to make sure my dd is actiually learning something daily. Of i don't plan on tuning in I just might not.
post #3 of 15
I'm with you both on this one!

In the past I was the perfectly attentive mom....but somewhere along the way, I lost that ability! Now, I spend way too much time on the computer (for work and pleasure), worry too much about keeping the house clean, take time each day for yoga and meditation (though that's not such a bad thing), and find myself staring at the walls a lot, lost in thought. Lately, I've felt very distracted and just can not stay in the moment. Especially with ds. I'm working on this, and hope I can get back in the groove soon, but it's really hard. There's just so much going on in the world and in my life that it's hard to concentrate on Yu-Gi-Oh! and Bionicles, you know?

I, too, love the idea of unschooling, but HAVE to have some structure in my day. If I didn't make time to sit down and "do lessons" with ds, I don't think he'd be stimulated enough by our home environment to learn very much. As it is, I take a very relaxed approach to our homeschooling and never force or pressure him to study something he doesn't want to. And if we have days that we don't feel like doing workbooks, or whatever, well...we just don't do them. Fortunately, ds loves workbooks, and math problems, and practicing his reading. So, doing this together makes us both happy (and allows me to interact with him without having to play Transformers Armada!).

Don't get me wrong. I DO play with him...a lot. I have to since he's an only child and I'm the only one here with him during the day. But I'm no good at the "action-adventure" things he likes best. I'm more of a board game, jigsaw puzzle kind of mom. So, ds and I actually sat down together one day and made up a list of fun things that we BOTH like to do. So if one of us suggests something that the other isn't interested in, we compromise and pick something off the list. This has helped me find ways to play with him, without pulling my hair out.

Ok...I feel like I'm rambling tonight. It's late and ds is still up and about. Got to get that little guy (and myself) to bed!

P.S. Bellafinn, I got just replied to your pm!
post #4 of 15

I have great intentions

I know how you feel. I am married to a neat nit so I get stressed about the house work and I seem to never have time to play anymore. It was getting to be too much, so I set aside so much time to clean. Then that is it for the day. Then we have school time and then no matter how tired I am I play with the kids. It is getting better. But not every day is great. I finally told my husband it is more important for me to teach ds and play with the kids then to have the house spotless. I am not his mother and my kids mean more then how clean the house is. I am waiting for the snow to melt in this god forsaken place so we can go outside. Who heard of snow in March. Anyway sorry for sounding so angry but Winter has been hard living here. Oh we take one day were we just play games.
post #5 of 15
Oh, thank you for this thread! I totally agree. What with a fairly demanding 10-month old, never-ending cleaning and tidying (not like the house is ever *clean* though!), the computer beckoning to me several times a day ( ), errands, etc, I just don't do as many fun things with ds as I'd like. Of course, he helps me with daily chores, but I guess I wish I were more of a cookie-baking, super crafty mom. He does draw and paint fairly often, but it's generally on his own (and when he asks to paint I usually grit my teeth while I say "sure, honey" because I know it will mean more mess to clean up).

This is funny: I got a book called "Rainy Day Crafts and Activities" recently. DS will sit and just pour over the book. Occasionally he'll ask to do one of the crafts, and either we don't have the proper materials or it's not a good time for doing a craft project (we've only done one of them so far). So simply looking at the book is his crafty outlet - does that count as craft time?!

One thing about the "stop to smell the roses" approach to parenting that I find challenging is what you do when a baby enters the family. I wish I could follow ds#1's rhythm more throughout the day, but I find it much harder with a baby. I did wear ds#2 in the sling a bunch (not as much now - he's more resistant to it, plus he's heavy!) and all that, but it's just such a different dynamic when you have to meet the very different needs of two very different children. I'm always shushing ds#1 while ds#2 naps; it's harder to read to him because the baby grabs the pages; I have less patience and energy for prolonged bedtime routines because the baby needs to get to bed, etc, etc, etc. Maybe I'm being a baby - after all plenty of you have far more than two children! - but it's sometimes a struggle for me.
post #6 of 15
I can soooooooooo relate to this. Real life is so darn much harder than philosophy. I would find myself reading all this attachment parenting stuff or planning all these cool hs projects, but I get so busy reading / planning / spacing off that I neglect to actually do it. My latest trick is if I can wake up before them, but I don't get out of bed or make any noise because that could wake them up and my silence would be over for the next twelve hours. Anyway, I'll just lay under my comfy covers and meditate / pray for a while thinking about what is important to me for the day. Then when they wake up and start jumping on my bed I have at least had a little waking peace already and that helps a lot. Once their up, I try to commit myself to spend time with them first. I have to be realistic, after 15 minutes or so Barbie or trucks or whatever starts to lose my interest, but I feel better if she can start off their day willingly giving them some total attention doing something they want. Then I'll pull out some games or puzzles or something and usually someone wants to help out. I can't do hours of it though, after a while I have to turn my brain to something else. With kitchen stuff, animal chores etc, one kid usually wants to join in just to be with mom. I try to pick at least one thing they can help me with (I choose based on ease of accomplishment and clean up) so they get their dose of mama time. After some time with mama, they are much more likely to play independently or entertain themselves with something for a while and then I can do other stiff peacefully, space out, read or whatever. Sometimes though if I really just need to deal with something myself and they are not occupying themselves well, I'll let pbs kids shows help occupy them for a half hour. I figure it's a tool and as long as I don't abuse it it's worth my sanity. I feel better at the end of the day when I give them some of me first even if I goof off a lot later.
post #7 of 15
mamanonymous -- your suggestion to play with your children first thing in the morning (even if it's just for 15 mins.), before going on to other things is absolutely brilliant!

It reminds me of something I read on another homeschooling board. A mom there was discussing this same topic we're discussing here....she said that she had just started doing FlyLady trying to keep her house clean, and that she felt she had to get all her housework done first, before she could give herself permission to spend some time playing with her child. Well, another mom on the board wisely said that maybe this lady should play with her child first before giving herself permission to do her flylady chores. I thought that was wonderful. Simplistic, and wonderful.
post #8 of 15


My sis(also a homeschooling Mom) and I were recently talking about this very topic...and we decided that we suffer from(perhaps even genetic?) I'd-rather-read-about-it-or-talk-about-it-which-keeps-me-from-doing-it-syndrome!

I mean,I will say I want to do this or that....but then I let real life get in the way. Or, I will spend too much time reading over ideas of things to do or ways to do something...when if I just put the book/phone/mouse/magazine down....I might be able to do it!

Am currently blaming my inability to do things on the end of winter blues....my energy,creativity, and motivation are somewhere underneath the mounds of snow. Just WAITING to explode.

So good to know I'm not alone!!!!!!!

post #9 of 15
I do Flylady and it really really helps. I have a morning and evening routine, and a weekly plan where different jobs are focused on each day. My morning routine has to be done before ANYTHING else or everything starts falling apart around here, but it doesn't take that long. After it, I see to the children -- breakfast, getting dressed, lessons (we aren't unschoolers.) When that is done, I set the timer for one hour and work on my jobs for that day. By then it is lunch time -- I read to the kids while they eat (because they eat much, much slower than I do.) Every afternoon is different.

Before the kids go to bed, I set the timer for 10 minutes and everybody works together to get the things put away that we've had out during the day -- shoes, toys, books, etc. When the timer buzzes, we stop. One thing I've learned from flylady is that jobs will expand to take up all the time available, so limiting how much time we allot to them forces us to work harder and drop the perfectionism. It also frees us for other things -- I read to my kids for about 30 minutes at bedtime.

Flylady wouldn't approve of some one spending all day doing house work. Her point it is set the timer, do your work, and then take your kids to the park.

Our house isn't perfect and it never will be, but we all have clean clothes and we can find the things we want. Our house is tidy enough that we are comfortable and I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone stopped by. Dinners are simple but they are healthy and yummy.

I don't spend much time playing with my kids. I really don't even understand how they play and they have more fun without me. I read to them, take them to the park, and make art supplies available. I cook something special with them once a week, but for the most part they don't want to help with dinner and it goes faster without them. Sometimes we do crafts, but not often. Right now they seem to perfer just painting, or cutting and pasting. They did go through a phase when they really liked crafts, so I would let them pick out something from a craft book and on our errand day we would pick up the things for it that we didn't already have.

The key for me was finding enough structure that we are free to do the things we want to do, and letting go of the ideal of being the perfect mom.
post #10 of 15
I think not playing with your kids every day is fine, if you have more than one child and they can play and interact with each other. But if you're parenting and, especially, homeschooling an ONLY child, I think it would be wrong to not sit down and play with them a few times each day.

The key for me was just finding things that I do like to play so I can balance that with playing the things that I don't like to play.
post #11 of 15
I think that we should work toward making our lives the way we want them to be. For me, that meant letting go of the idea of playing with my kids because it just didn't work for us. It seemed like something that I "should" do but that neither they or I enjoyed very much. I didn't mean to imply that anyone else should or shouldn't play with their kids!

I think that when we reach a point that day after day we go to bed feeling guilty about what didn't get done and aren't sure what did get done, then it is time to stop and figure out a different way to go through our days. I've been there before, and I'm sure that I'll make more adjustments as my kids grow and we enter new stages. They way we live now with a 4 and a 6 year old is totally different from when they girls where babies and I'm sure that I'll make many more changes as they get older.
post #12 of 15
I hear you. I totally turned into some prude mom who doesn't let her kid paint everyday because she will get herself all messy. LOL I have been dealing with myself about this lately. I mean, I am actually asking her not to do these things for my benefit and not hers. I'm talking about my 4 year old (Autumn). Like making her use a sippy cup, I'm afraid she'll spill. She needs to learn to use a real cup but I keep putting it off. I need to start putting her first and stop keeping her from doing stuff because it benefits me and it's convenient for me.
On one good note I put Autumn in a cool preschool where they let her get real dirty and do stuff like puddle stompin' in the rain and paint their hair...etc. Be a kid. So she's going to get it somewhere. IT's hard to watch, but I'm getting used to it.. LOL

post #13 of 15
Linda -- I hope you didn't think I was criticizing you in any way. I wasn't. My last post was more about MY situation than anything. As a mom homeschooling an only child, I do feel like I have an obligation to play with him some during the day even if it's something I don't really feel like doing. If I had more than one child, I probably wouldn't feel that obligation. You know?

That's why I made a point of sitting down with ds and figuring out the things that I DO like to play, so that we have options that make us both happy and I'm not stuck playing action figures and hot wheels every day.

Sandra Dodd (on another homeschool site) once said that as homeschoolers we should make sure our children get our attention at least as often as they would get attention at school (or something to that effect). So if I figure out how much interaction ds would get from classmates and teacher during a school day....I need to be sure he gets that much during our day at home. Some of that comes from doing our lessons together, some comes from just being together living our life, and some has to come from playing -- doing things that HE wants to do. I'm not saying that everyone should do this or should even agree with this idea.....it's just what I've had to do to keep my family happy.

I think it's great that you and your daughters have found what works best for your family! That's all any of us can do!


P.S. Yvonne -- I know what you mean about messes. I'm working through this issue myself. I'm naturally a neat person, so I tend to avoid any messy activities (unless we do them outside). But I'm working on changing that...a day at a time!
post #14 of 15
faerie mom, I didn't take it that way at all! I was worried that you had taken ME the wrong way! ROFL!

Our lesson time is truly quality time. We do very cool things like owl pellets, play with math manipulatives, etc. The kids really enjoy it and don't like it when we take breaks. We tried unschooling for a while but it didn't work for us because my kids really like me to have a plan AND it was too easy to not spend enough time with them. I guess we each have to figure out what works for us.
post #15 of 15
It totally does change with the different ages and stages our kids are in. As they get older and with siblings they can entertain themselves and each other more and be able to wait for things like breakfast or mom time. Of course a newborn who needed to nurse would not be able to wait, so we just have to adjust to the situation we are in. As for playing with them, I try to do it because they want me to and heck, sometimes it's fun to play depending on what it is. One of the reasons I love being a hs mom is I get to do a lot of fun kid stuff. Some times certain play can be very monotonous for me so if it's not working I move on to something that is. It's great now that my dd (5) is getting really into games like UNO because it's fun for both of us. I like doing crafts and painting myself and have pretty relaxed expectations about kids getting messy so we do a lot of that stuff. I do make them help in the clean up from an early age, like rinsing out brushes etc because I don't like clean up and don't want to get stuck wuith it all. Reading, playing, lessons, whatever it is as long as we're having time with our kids and finding something we can both enjoy is what counts. I like a lot of the fly ladys ideas, like only working on something for say 10 minutes. It really does force you to not slack and its amazing how much you can do in a short time. I also like the focusing on one job / area at a time too, big struggle for me. Not all of her plans are suited to me, but I figure take what works and leave the rest. If I did it all I'm sure I would have even better results, but like she says Baby steps...."
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