Balancing parenting + work, especially in the afternoons - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-30-2014, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Balancing parenting + work, especially in the afternoons

I'm curious how you Balance it all - parenting + work?!

I've been a WAHM (I am full-time employed, but my company is 2500 miles away) for 4yrs, but I'm a trainer so my kiddo has been in preschool or with family.

Until this year...he's in school which ends at 3pm. And it's Kind-of working... get him home and established with a snack and activity and I'm back to the "office". I don't have any trainings after 3pm so it's just emails and communications.

Except for the first time in 4yrs, I'm having to say NO him a lot... No, I can't hang out with you, No I can't play with you, No, no no... because I'm at work.
And it's Awful.
And it's hurting him.
While it's kind-of working, technically, it's not actually working.
It's sad. It's breaking his heart (and mine). Mom is choosing this computer-thing over him. I see it in his eyes, and I think it's having some affect on his personality overall.. he's becoming more aggressive, more Needy with me.... I Need you to get me a snack, instead of wanting to do it himself, because he just wants me with him. I mean, of course! I get it!

I've toggled with the idea of ending work at 3pm and working at nights after he goes to sleep. But that means a full TWO hours of work every night, IF I could even swing it. Because I work in software, even if I'm not training after 3pm, I'm still on the books as an employee and needed to handle support emails. There's not a ton of work for me between 8-10pm, even if I wanted it.
Or I could just cut my hours by 10hrs a week, but the paycheck is kinda necessary since I'm a single mom.

Or after-care, of course. But that's money and almost more than the loss of 10hrs of work. Oh, I just don't know.

I have always been good about putting the laptop Down at 5-6pm and really focusing on him at night. But it's those 2hrs in the afternoon that I need help with.

Curious what you've found to balance your life. Maybe a timer and I can break every 30 minutes? Or maybe I can go a completely different route and set up his own computer right next to mine and we can "work" together? I'm willing to try anything.

Thanks for pondering...

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#2 of 12 Old 09-30-2014, 05:10 PM
 
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how old is he?? that makes a big difference in how I have handled things like that.

Definitely, I would take an extended time with him right when he gets home - cuddles & chatting on the bed or couch, a snack, read a book, start getting dinner together. Top off his love tanks for a half hour or so before you get back to work. Then maybe some specific activities for him that are only for during momma work time - maybe in a basket that gets pulled out for those 2 hours - games, coloring books, dvd's. Honestly, as a work-at-home mom, I used a LOT of videos, sometimes more than I liked, but it helped me get through years when there was only me.

And sometimes it's a matter of re-structuring your day. Can you do one earlier hour in the morning and one later in the evening? can you put in a short shift on the weekend? Can you get a mother's helper for those 2 hours? Are there any lower-priced after school options like classes, sports, etc, that would give some change up once or twice a week?

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#3 of 12 Old 09-30-2014, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 5yrs old. Sorry I didn't clarify that.

He's so terribly young and this is new to us, the fight between mom + computer, where as before he'd be in daycare the whole day (sniffle at that, but it was a reality). So now it's a BIG deal to see me compete with work + time with him.

Rubelin: I think that's what I missing... the 20-30 minutes when we first get home. I need to get home and PLAY with home for some time before I get him back to his "activity". Good point... he needs hugs and snuggles immediately and maybe some play time. Maybe he'd more OK with solitary activity (only kiddo after all) once I give him the love and importance that He Is to me. So I push my work back another 30 minutes, I think the company should be OK with that. Ooh, trying that tomorrow
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#4 of 12 Old 10-01-2014, 06:57 AM
 
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The focused-on-him 30-minute period when he gets home is a good idea. I don't know if you have parent-friends in the neighborhood, but what we did was a babysitting trade. My DH and my friend are teachers; I am self-employed as is her DH. So, her DH and I took turns with the kids (total of 5) after school: each of us had them 2 days after school for a couple of hours. Fridays were "off." That means we each got two longer work days per week, and the kids had other kids to keep them occupied. We got into a routine where they would come in, have a snack, and do as much of their homework as they could. That also freed up evenings for family time. Of course, this assumes a certain chemistry with the other family but if you can find that, it's a great option (and no $ for after-school care other than a few extra snacks). Maybe you could find someone in a single-mom or work-at-home/freelance/entrepreneur group.
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#5 of 12 Old 10-01-2014, 04:15 PM
 
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Since he's away from you all day I would definitely do the 20-30 minutes of time with him before moving on to doing something for yourself whether it be work or personal or even dinner. All kids have some stress on them after a day in school and need time to de-stress. I always try to remember to take a snack in the car for my youngest two when picking them up from school and preschool and that seems to help. They have something in their bellies and the youngest is 5 and she is much easier to deal with if she isn't hungry and stressed.

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#6 of 12 Old 10-03-2014, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all!! I have been changing things up this week since my original post and trying to spend 20-30 minutes with him in his playroom, before I go back to work. And it's helping! Of course this also created a whole world of.... I should really re-arrange this playroom and get in to some toy rotation boxes. Maybe I'm taking it a bit too far (that's So me), but I've been thinking of creating real Activities when we get home. For example, yesterday we had "pirate day". I'd set up his playroom before he got home with all his pirate toys, pirate costume, and some pirate coloring pages. So we had a real something to do together.. and then he was set with a few things to sustain him for another hour+.

Now... don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to extend our afternoons to more school and all rigid and such. I've just noticed that "free" time results in him coming to get me every few minutes and at least yesterday when I'd set things up before hand, he was excited to look at what I'd set out for him, and honestly Played by himself! Yay!

I have one neighbor that might be up for some kiddo sharing. We don't know each other well, but her 6yr old daughter is also home with her in the afternoons, so it's something. We talked it out and might take a few weeks to establish a schedule, but I appreciate the prompting to actually ASK neighbors for help

Thank you thank you! A lot to explore, but I think this is exactly what I'd needed...
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#7 of 12 Old 10-03-2014, 02:23 PM
 
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so glad it's working better for you =)

Love the idea of the themed activities; if it's something you can do without too much effort, I think it's fabulous. I've got one kid who really does best with guided activities and he would have loved something like that, and I've got one who can find a zillion things to do on his own, so it really comes down to how your kid takes to it. You might find that you only need to do that a couple times per week and that it will give him his own ideas to run with.

And, yes, having an organized playroom makes a HUGE difference. Unfortunately, my LittleBoy, who still homeschools twice a week, can find a lot to do on his own BUT he also makes giant messes and can't play/work when there's giant messes, so having the playroom cleared out for him is a big challenge for me.

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#8 of 12 Old 10-03-2014, 05:32 PM
 
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Yay! It sounds like you guys are doing great!

Re: themed activities. I did that sometimes with my kids when they were little. I would work during the day while DH watched them, then he would go to school at night while I watched them. One thing I remember in particular was finding printout packets about different countries (flag, etc. to color) and having them color while I made a dinner from that country (India > curry - that sort of thing). Also we did make-at-home takeout: Chipotle was putting the burrito ingredients in bowls and going down the line and having one person serve them to the others. McDonald's was homemade hamburgers and french fries (frozen) served in a paper bag. Silly but fun!

Also, when my DD1 was your son's age, she was pretty into sorting, so any box or drawer that had lots of stuff in it was great entertainment for her. Jewelry and beads were awesome. She would sort the stuff and then put it back. :-)

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Last edited by Ragana; 10-03-2014 at 05:34 PM.
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#9 of 12 Old 10-05-2014, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Ragana View Post
Yay! It sounds like you guys are doing great!

Re: themed activities. I did that sometimes with my kids when they were little. I would work during the day while DH watched them, then he would go to school at night while I watched them. One thing I remember in particular was finding printout packets about different countries (flag, etc. to color) and having them color while I made a dinner from that country (India > curry - that sort of thing). Also we did make-at-home takeout: Chipotle was putting the burrito ingredients in bowls and going down the line and having one person serve them to the others. McDonald's was homemade hamburgers and french fries (frozen) served in a paper bag.
I love this idea! I'm big on cooking and he loves to help in the kitchen. Plus this kiddo is obsessed with maps (we made a big move from Oregon to NC last year and he followed the GPS the entire time and has since really enjoyed learning about maps, and he picks up my NatGeo magazines and asks questions about why people look differently; he's starting to understand (starting.. I mean, he's only 5yrs old!) to get that people are different. Oh these are just great ideas overall. Love it!

Really the whole idea is just increasing our time together - increasing the Quality of our time together. He loved re-organizing his room his weekend and just the sanity (for me) to have one set of toys out at a time is amazing. The goal was that focused play idea... we'll see how it goes this week during the afternoons, if he can stick with the one theme and play independently.
I'm still looking in to after-school sharing ideas. But since I can only control what we do at home, I'm just trying to make things more fun, easier (for us both) and the themes seem to fit in well right now.

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#10 of 12 Old 10-05-2014, 06:52 PM
 
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It sounds like you're doing great!

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#11 of 12 Old 03-09-2015, 07:45 AM
 
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You are doing a great job! I am also working at home, i have a 9 year old daughter. I suggest that you organize your time well, set aside some to spend with your son. You can give him even a few minutes of your time, it's not the quantity that is important but the quality time you spend with him.
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#12 of 12 Old 03-16-2015, 11:34 PM
 
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This was a major thing for me as well when I started working from home. I think in something like this, routine is king. If you post the daily routine somewhere they can see and talk about it often and follow through everyday it will comfort him to know that he will definitely get his mother back at the same time everyday. Start by spending some time with him as soon as he he gets home and then give him an activity he can do by himself and just be lovingly consistent. Eventually, he will understand that you working is not the same thing as losing his mom. I hope that helps!

Love writing, mommy-ing (well, most of the time), watching movies and beating the odds!! Been a single mom for 8 years and one of my favourite things to do is talk to like-minded people like you! In case someone's feeling overwhelmed - This free report really helped me get more done with less stress http://www.thrivingsinglemoms.com/Fr...ty-opt-in.html
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