My week at home - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-03-2005, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm back at work today, and feeling a little off-kilter...my week at home with the kiddos was not as wonderful as I had hoped it would be, and I'm trying to process it.

It just seemed like all the kids did was fight with each other, and all I did was yell. I just hated the way I sounded, and I hated the fact that we never seemed to be able to fully connect with each other for any length of time. I tried really hard not to overplan the week--I just wanted them to have unstructured time to play with their new toys, etc. It just never seemed to work out that way. Within five minutes the older one would be melting down because "my sister won't play the way I want her to!!!", or the the younger one would be falling apart because something had been taken away from her. I tried to get them out of the house at least once a day, but scheduling that around my two-year olds naps was a challenge. I tried separating them, but that would usually send the other one into a tailspin.

DH worked the whole week, which didn't help, either. : I know he needed to, and I'm not dogging him for making that choice, but I guess I was sort of looking for a little more family time than we had, and maybe a break now and then.

There was a time when I just longed to be back in my office, because that was an environment I felt like I could control. And that threw me into a whole spiral of guilt, wondering if this would happen if I worked less, or not at all. I just don't feel like I can go down that road about work or not work again. I mean, my kids are older, and this is still hard.

I had left my office on a real high note right before Christmas, and was so looking forward to the holidays and to being home for awhile...and it just ended up being stressful and difficult, and I felt like a complete failure as a mother more than once during the week.

Can anyone relate, or am I the only freak out here?
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#2 of 7 Old 01-03-2005, 04:08 PM
 
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Try not to be so hard on yourself or the kids. I've had vacations like this, too, when I can hardly wait for them to be over. I think part of the problem stems from my expectations being too high--I envision this cozy, harmonious, domestic scene that doesn't pan out. Your kids are still fairly young and kids tend to act out more when their schedules are disrupted. I also think it is harder when the weather is cold and the kids can't spend much time outside. I'm all for having unstructured time, but I think that sometimes it's also good to have a Plan B (museum, library, play-date or the like) if they start getting too antsy.

This year, I deliberately tried to keep my expectations in check. We actually had the nicest vacation period I can remember. The fighting was minimal and we escaped nearly whine-free. We all played nicely together. But my kids are a bit older, and that seems to be helping.
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#3 of 7 Old 01-05-2005, 09:02 AM
 
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I can totally relate! I had last week off and can honestly say it was one of the worst weeks I have ever had. I could not wait to get back to work. First, I sprained my ankle, then my dh's grandfather took a turn for the worse medically, my dh got sick, etc, etc, etc. BUT the number one issue for last week was that my dd was driving me crazy! We just could not connect with each other and have a nice relaxing time. By the end of the week I was in tears, she was in tears, I was convinced I was the most incompetent mom out there, and I just felt awful. Part of me just wondered if I threw off her schedule so much by keeping her home from daycare. I don't know. I just wish for those blissful mom/daughter days. Do they ever happen?
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#4 of 7 Old 01-05-2005, 04:48 PM
 
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I hear you too. We did have a "family week" last week, for the most part. My DH only went to work one day. But that was the day that it all fell apart. For the first time ever (and, I swear, the last) I actually struck my son. I've never been that out of control. He was slamming my daughters head in the door (trying to keep her out of his room), so I have come to accept that this was a "mama bear" moment, but I never expected it to be directed at my other child!

We had a long list of house-hold projects we wanted to get done, but most of them were outside. It rained most of the week, which threw everything off. Since the kid's big Christmas present was a swing set, they were upset too. We ended up spending a lot more time at the indoor playground than I would have liked, but at least there everyone can find someone to play with, I can have a cup of coffee, and things are much calmer.

Next year I think we'll have to plan differently because this was definitely one of the worst weeks I've had as a parent.
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#5 of 7 Old 01-05-2005, 05:41 PM
 
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I agree with EFMom, all of you -- don't be too hard on yourselves. Last week was just after the holidays, and those are stressful for everyone. The weather, the change in schedule, the letdown after Christmas is all over, etc. make it a tough time for all.

Go easier on you and your kids, don't let one hard week judge your mothering abilities!
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#6 of 7 Old 01-06-2005, 01:00 AM
 
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Hi mamas -

I just wanted to add that last week was awful for us too, and I'm at home full time. I was SO HAPPY to get back to normal routines this week - open gym at the park, music class, regular nap times. Everything was off kilter with the holiday vacation and I am glad to be back to regular life.

I was thinking that if I was still working full time that I would have mistakenly judged my parenting, when really it is just the nature of that in-between/ holiday limbo period without any structure.

Just thought I would add my thoughts.
Happy New Year!
Kathleen
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#7 of 7 Old 01-06-2005, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your responses, ladies--I have come to see that this type of thing is more about where my kids are developmentally than about me as a mother. I re-read my journal from last year at this time, and I think the kids just didn't interact as much at that time, so there was less to fight about. Sigh.

And as helpful as my husband is on a regular basis, I've noticed that if I am ever out on vacation or the kids' day care is closed, he falls really quickly into that "oh, you're home, you handle it" attitude when it comes to family stuff. So, lesson learned.

I think the key for next year will be to plan a few more activities or fun days for them, so they have a bit more to look forward to. I just fear them getting too used to always having directed play, and being on a schedule too much, rather than just letting them be. Am I overthinking this?

So, anyway, here's to being back in the routine, I guess! :LOL

Mia
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