We (ok, me especially) have a hard time just hanging out at home because DS (1.5) tends to be super clingy and whiny at home (let's not talk about emptying that dang bookshelf every. Single. Day.), while he is relatively self sufficient when we are out and about. At home, he wants to nurse constantly and just will not entertain himself for longer than a couple minutes. I do "time-ins" frequently, but more often than not, as soon as I get up, he is following me, wanting to be held, or whining. If he isn't doing those things, he is emptying the bookshelf, which is totally fine- I want him to have fun and not have an uptight neat freak mom, but seriously, what is wrong with his toys? (ok, now I am just venting... I will let the bookshelf thing go). I subscribe to the ideas in the Continuum Concept, so I still get my own stuff done despite the whining, but I guess that makes me doubly think that all these kid- centric activities aren't so good. We are doing things like the Children's Museum, play dates, spray pad, swimming, toddler gym, art classes, etc. Basically anything I can find that is free or super cheap, we go do.
Anyway, am I creating a kid who needs to go, do all the time rather than stay home and play quietly? Am I over-thinking this?
it sounds like your toddler is one lucky kid, to have you doing all that for him! It doesn't sound like a problem to me- I think we can mostly just parent as we are. If you are someone who likes to be out doing things a lot then that will be how you raise your kid. Same as if someone else liked to be home and quiet a lot they might do that and wonder if they should go out more! I think you should go with it- as long as you are having a good time and keeping the kid basically well, you are doing fine!
I have friends whose kids will play by themselves for stretches of time, who love being home, love their toys, etc. For them, it's probably best that they don't over-schedule themselves. For us, the only way I get 5 minutes of peace and happiness is if we're out. Also, going out frequently provides a structure to our day that just is hard for us to replicate at home for various reasons.
How does your DS act when he's out? Is he happy, calm, playing creatively, etc? Does he get over-stimulated or tired or stressed out? I'd really go by his behavior and mood, if it seems to be working then you're probably doing exactly what he needs.
Simplicity Parenting talks about building quiet time into your routine to have the chance to recharge and just enjoy life and be creative and be BORED, he feels it is important for kids to be bored sometimes so they learn to entertain themselves and find joy in everyday things... He had a word for the quiet time but I forget what it was. Anyway, so after a jam-packed day you might plan for a more mellow day at home. Or you might only spend time out in the mornings, and have the afternoons be free time. So this is a concept you could consider working into your routine if you do feel you're over-scheduling yourselves. He also talks about things like reducing media etc. The book is a good read and might help balance out your go-go-go inclinations (or it might just reinforce that what you are doing is working best for you, even if it's different than what others do!)
I struggle with this myself. When I had only one kid, we were on the go all the time, as my son is very social and was bored at home.
However, we started being at home more, because I worried that he would need constant stimulation, and I do think that it's good to be bored. Being home has gotten better, and now we have two kids, and they have fun together at home too.
That said, is it interfering with naps? Even now, DS - age three - gets clingy and whiny or overwrought when he skips naps either because we're on-the-go or he's too excited from an outing too close to nap time. I find I need to strike a balance between tiring him out and overstimulating and he needs a bit of time to decompress from an a.m. outing before nap time.
yeah, i hate staying home with my 1.5 year old dd. she isn't so much clingy, but destructive and annoying ... i can't sit down for 5 seconds without her trying to climb the bookshelf or deconstruct my computer or strew the floor with garbage. so we go out A LOT. sometimes twice a day. when she was a baby we stayed home a lot more because she was such a laid back infant. i did art! and read books! and cooked elaborate meals!
today we went out in the morning to the mall and the grocery store to do errands. then we came home and she passed out for her nap. woke up at 3pm and ate a little bit of food, then i could see the wild look in her eye (maybe i was clued in by the fact that she was dancing on top of the kitchen table?) and we packed up the stroller and took the bus downtown to get a coffee and play in the park near my husband's office.
sometimes i'm a little selfish with our time out and go out even when we probably shouldn't (didn't nap well or is a little under the weather) or to do something not really focused on her, but i am just a social person by nature and need to spend some time with my friends or just out in public so i don't feel crazy. inevitably, i almost never regret going out, even if our pace is super slow and laid back, but i almost always regret NOT going out.
i think it's great for kids to be out all the time. i think the pattern of mom and one or two kids home alone for the majority of the day isn't particularly normal. some people are just fine with it, but i think the majority of human beings would prefer to be busy and with other people. i think you could try to work in some less kid-centric activities and outings once in a while, just for variety and to build on that concept of "being bored", if you know what i mean. otherwise, can't fault you... i'm in exactly the same boat!
OP: The kids (35 mo & 6 mo) & I typically go out twice everyday. I try never to go the same place twice in a week. We also try to alternate high activity/low activity - like park & library, pool & art gallery, visiting farm & climbing walls... However, I also schedule in downtime to help them recharge. This works exceptionally well with both kids.... we play and pack up for the day, get breakfast, DD takes her first nap while DS and I "plan" our day. When she wakes we go out for outing #1 - we go for 2-3 hours. Come home & eat lunch, read, and take a nap. When we wake up we go for outing #2 for 2-3 hours. We come home, daddy comes home & we hang out. Then I make dinner, we eat together and DS has some independent play/wind down time before dinner. Best of both worlds - he gets to go out and do fun stuff everyday and he learns that sometimes is time for quiet time. And then every weekend (when DH is not working) we do something BRAND new - a park, library, exhibit, or whatever, that we have never been to before and make a day of it. I don't mind at all that they think the world is an exciting place to be, because they also know that home is the safe place to come unwind and rest.
We stay out pretty much all the time because it's the only way to keep my 2.5yo happy. I'm pretty terrified for when (if?) we have another baby because it might mean staying home more and I think both DS & I will lose it. We tried to stay home for a whole day one day recently and it was one of the worst days ever.
DS (35 mo) & I go out significantly MORE since DD's arrival. She's 6 months and she loves, loves, loves activity. She loves being outside, she loves swinging at the park, going for walks. She is SO laid back - not at all like DS was as a baby, and I have heard a ton of other moms say this is pretty typical of a second child. The only adjustment was learning to NIP while keeping an eye on DS - a little tricky the first few months. Thank goodness cause DS would lose it if we had to stay home.
Yes! I feel this exact way about my DS at home.
Sleepy, running, wife to DH 08/09 - Mama to DS 8/08 & DD 1/11
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. " - Japanese Proverb
What you are doing sounds good to me--you enjoy it, your children enjoy it. That's what matters. Other people's opinions on whether you are doing "too much" doesn't matter. That said, here's my experience
On the very rare day that I try to stay at home all day with my 16 m.o., I am reliably at least a couple of the following: cranky, down/sad, lonely, frustrated, feel sorry for myself (not always, but it creeps in), resentful, and sometimes angry. I have learned that it's in both of our best interests to get out of the house and I am lucky I live within walking distance of a couple parks and the library. I am fortunate to have a couple friends who come over for playdates and/or invite me over. We do LLL and a mom's group. Without these activities, I would go nuts. We also walk around the neighborhood, go into the little backyard, etc. Part of this SAHM gig, just like any other job, is finding out what works for you. I think this is one of those "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" situations. Also, I believe that DS needs more stimulation and activity than our 800 sq. feet can bring him.
I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brother.
I relate to so much of this- my 17 month old is also in destructive mode- if we dont go out he will also rip apart the house and whine and cry and I go nuts!! then we just go out and go for a stroller walk through town and he is happy! ANd then I am too! He just is at that age where he need s to move move move- busy toddler!
I also have an older dd that constantly has friends over and wouldn't be happy doing baby centered activities all day.
Pretty much everything I do out of the house is free. LLL, the mom's group, libraries, walks, playgroups, and playgrounds are all free. Some require a couple miles of driving, but some don't.
I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brother.
yeah, a lot of our activities are free too. or, we used to spend money at the mom and baby cafe we went to when my dd was just a little one, but now i have a good group of friends and we have sussed out just about every free thing out there. i usually take transit too, so my day can be free or as cheap as $3 for fares and groceries for snacks and lunch.
Yeah, we actually don't pay for activities either, we keep tabs on free events in the community and have our go-to places like the library etc. that are always free. Unfortunately, we do have to pay for gas because there is nothing in walking distance and no public transportation, but I mitigate that a bit by incorporating errands that I need to do anyway into our outing (stop at the grocery store on the way home, for ex.) Plus I figure I'd need to start paying for medication and therapy if I spent all day home with DS, so paying for gas for short trips is much cheaper comparably!