I don't do enough with DD - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 08-14-2003, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I didn't even try to do a search so forgive me if this is some sort of recent repeat, but I need some sort of help / ideas.

I feel like an awful Mom. I don't do a whole lot with my DD. Well, sometimes I feel like I do, but it just doesn't seem to be nearly enough.

Take our average day. We get up at 6:30 or so and usually lie in bed nursing until 7:00. Then I run get on the computer while she plays in here until we eat breakfast around 8:00. After that I go back and forth between the computer and cleaning the house until lunchtime. During this time DD mostly plays on her own and I will stop every once in awhile to read a story or play for a few minutes (so for 3-4 hours she is basically playing on her own). I don't ignore her or anything but there are lots of times we aren't even in the same room. After lunch we nurse and nap for 2-3 hours. After her nap we always cuddle for about 1/2 hour and then have a light snack before cleaning up for Daddy's arrival. Once he's home I cook dinner, we eat, I give her her bath and then we all retire to the living room where she plays until time to nurse to sleep.

Writing it out, I guess it doesn't seem as bad as I feel. I guess it's just that we never go outside (we live in a townhome and our property backs up to a lake / pond...we have no yard for her to play in) except to the park 1x/wk. We also go to a playgroup 1x/week which is great. I read to her 2 or 3 times/day, but other than that I feel like I am somehow falling short. I can't even describe it. I feel like some moms are constantly doing stuff with their babies and toddlers and I just sit and let mine play by herself. I know I spend too much time on the computer (maybe 3-4+ hours/day) but can't seem to stay off the thing.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me? With another baby coming, I really don't want her to get shortchanged.
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#2 of 13 Old 08-14-2003, 11:17 AM
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When my dd started school last year i was enjoying having only one at home to look after and was using the time to catch up on house stuff, I then felt like my ds was suffering and missing out on all the experiences his sister got when it was just us. What I did was make a daily and weekly schedule, not one that had to be followed time frame to time frame but it was to give me an outline on how to better use my time with him. For instance 10-11:30 would be our field trip or craft time. Noon was reading time, 2:00 is his computer time or we do and art project, 3:00 we take a walk around the block, 4:30 my dd does her homework, I start dinner and ds plays with playdough. Then dh comes home and we hang out until bedtime.

I then pick one day of the week to do my house work and one day is library day, another play group, then we have our field trip day I compiled a list of ideas for field trips and I look at that and get ds's input on where he would like to go. We go to the fruit market once a week, which for ds is a fun place he gets to "help". Then we go grocery shopping early in the morning and then eat breakfast at the park( 2 birds with one stone). I also made a list of craft project ideas to look at. I am not a list or schedule person at all but I can get really caugh up in house stuuf and doing this makes me look at my day and time with ds. When I have our week outlined and planned a little it really helps motivate me to get going. Ant the list of craft and outing suggestions done in advance helps cut down on some of the thinking and planning.
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#3 of 13 Old 08-14-2003, 12:16 PM
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Well, I may not be a shining example of perfect AP parenting, but here is how our day normally goes.

Up at 7:30 when dh leaves for work. Make a quick breakfast, then ds watches Sesame Street for an hour (I already feel like this is too much tv for a 2yo), while I am on MDC. I should be doing housework, organizing the office, doing dishes, prepping lunch or dinner, but I do none of that. I screw around on here.

8:30 we get in the shower. I shower while he is in the bathroom with me. Then he plays around the house while I try to get dressed, get some makeup on, get snacks and sippy cups packed, etc. Sometimes he watches more Sesame Street (like another 20-30 mins if we are having a particularly rough morning).

We generally get out of the house by 9:30 or 10, usually to go to the playground or the park.

By 11:30 to 12 he is ready for his nap, and sleeps until about 2pm, an hour of which is always on my lap. Then when he's awake he have some lunch, and he kind of plays around the house while I try to straighten a few things. I'll often try to pop onto the computer a few times during this time. Then we'll either take a walk to the store to get something for dinner, play in the backyard a bit, or pull up a chair to the kitchen counter for some incredibly messy dinner preparation. We read a books, play running/tickling games, and about 2x a week, at around 4pm when I am tired and out of ideas, I may put in a video.

When dh gets home at 5:30, they often play together for a good hour or so, with ds climbing all over me if he sees me try to get on the computer again (which is what makes me feel like I'm on here too much). We have dinner, then play a bit more, maybe go to the playground again, maybe watch baseball with daddy, some nights a bath, etc., until bedtime at 8:30-9.

I still feel like I don't play with him enough. I feel like I'm always on the computer, that he watches too much tv - not because he demands it, but because it gives me a break. I worry I don't do any creative projects - art, music, whatever. Then I think about parenting theories that kids learn best just being a part of their parent's daily life, and think that maybe I am doing the right thing after all (except for the tv of course - I have no excuse for that). Some days are better than others, but I feel that overall he gets enough attention from me and dh - I hope!

The biggest downside to my routine is that my house is generally a mess and I often don't have anything made for dinner!
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#4 of 13 Old 08-14-2003, 05:46 PM
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I can sympathize with you; most days, I feel like I'm either neglecting my housekeeping or neglecting my daughter. Now that I'm pregnant and on bedrest, I KNOW that I'm not doing enough for DD and that she's watching too much TV and not getting out enough, but I don't have much choice.

I picked up a copy of Natural Childhood at a used book store, and it has a suggested daily schedule / routine for toddlers, and I'm sure going to give it a try when I'm off bedrest. Here's what they suggest:

Wake Up; Short Playtime; Get Up; Breakfast; Energetic Play; Midmorning Snack; Domestic Activity; Walk or Shop; Lunch; Nap; Afternoon Snack; Domestic Activity; Tea (Dinner?); Creative Play; Bath; Quiet Play; Bedtime Story; Sleep.

Of course, I'll modify this to suit our needs, but this way, I have a set amount of time for play and a set amount of time for housework; I won't be neglecting either.
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#5 of 13 Old 08-14-2003, 06:20 PM
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Wake Up; Short Playtime; Get Up; Breakfast; Energetic Play; Midmorning Snack; Domestic Activity; Walk or Shop; Lunch; Nap; Afternoon Snack; Domestic Activity; Tea (Dinner?); Creative Play; Bath; Quiet Play; Bedtime Story; Sleep.
I like this idea. Before I started work again I KNOW I was guilty of not spending enough time with Kailey. And it ate at me like crazy. When I started back to work it was easy to devote all my eveing time before bedtime to her. We played and sang songs, did art projects(before bath time of course), etc.

Today is my first full day at home and this time so far seems better. I have been on a few times today but not long stretches like I used to. I can tell when I want to get online and that's when I am bored. So, I try to catch myself and instead of getting on here, I think of something Kailey and I can do together.

Another thing that really helped was losing our computer for a week or so, just to get the desire out of me. Is there anyway you can unplug your computer and keep it put away from a week or so. Then just slowly get back on, like one or two times a day?

Again the schedule above is going to help me out a lot- thanks!
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#6 of 13 Old 08-14-2003, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much! As crazy as it sounds I never thought about making a "schedule" that I can use as a guide : I am going to work on one and hopefully that will help me out.

As for the computer, we are on a cable modem so are always on line. It's just sooooo easy to pop in here and "check my e-mail" every time I feel like it. I think by "scheduling" (I hate that word) our day it will cut down on my computer time, plus I am going to keep one day/week where it stays off the entire day - I hope I can do that

Thanks again, everyone!
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#7 of 13 Old 08-14-2003, 07:02 PM
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IS there any way you can plan your computer time when she is still sleeping?

I have found that if I get at least 30 minutes or so of time before our ds wakes to get a few emails out and read a bit of MDC then I feel like I have had my fill when he wakes and I am ready to be on for him.

We kind of have the household philosophy that what he sees us doing is what he will deem important for his own life.

So this is how we do things around here.

*mom and dad up working on own projects - dad usually gets up at 4 or 5 so he can get some alone, quiet time, I'm usually up only 30-90 minutes before ds wakes at 8:30.
*ds wakes
*mom and ds play in bed (we usually play a "cave" game or tell stories or read) and nurse
*get out of bed together
*plan, make, and eat breakfast together
*sometimes clean the kitchen together, sometimes I clean it alone and ds sits on the floor doing puzzles or art projects
*get dressed and make bed together (he loves being involved in the bed making process and it usually ends up that we are tossing pillows around and playing "cave" for a while.
*Morning activity (I try to plan something a few to several days a week (play group, park play, a walk/hike, library, play dates, bike ride, gardening)
* lunch (planned and prepared together)
* nap
* mommy free time (usually working on our home business, cleaning, straightening, organizing, my own projects, computer time, or napping with ds)
* ds wakes, we nurse and have similar quiet play time as the morning
* family play time ( we usually do something in the late afternoons as a family (go to the park, concert in the park, family hike, or just hanging out, and this summer we did a Music Together class all together)
* dh plays or reads with ds while I make dinner
* eat dinner
* bath together
* evening games or songs or books or puzzles or art or whatever else comes along
* get in bed, read, tell more stories

This is very much a general sketch of our day. Some days are different, but this is 'generally' how it goes. We have found that when we involve him in what we do, we get the stuff that needs to get done and the added bonus of spending time with our kid. So basically, we involve him in everything (laundry, gardening, reading the newspaper, making meals, cleaning the house, sweeping the porch). The only thing we have tried to separate is our computer time. While we feel that the computer, then internet, MDC gives us alot, we don't feel that it is appropriate right now for our little guy. It is so easy to gte drawn in by the lure of the internet and it creates an environment (at least for us) where we feel we are not actively engaging in each other, our child, or our friends and family members (except for keeping in touch with them by email, of course, but even then, it is not something that the majority of internet time is spent doing). We have really struggled with this as a couple and a family and we now are happy with the routine that has evolved form it. In the beginning of our relationship it was something we really worked on (we were both doing masters degrees in Instructional Technology and were spending lots of time computing).
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#8 of 13 Old 08-15-2003, 07:52 AM
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I like your schedule!

I also find if I get on the computer before Kailey wakes up that I a less likely to get on more during the day when she is awake. Right now it is 6:51 andI have been online for about 30 mintues. Kailey will probably wake in the next 10 minutes or so, then we'll nurse a few minutes and then start breakfast.

I'm working on our own tentative schedule now and will post what I have come up with later
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#9 of 13 Old 08-15-2003, 08:00 AM
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Daily Schedule
  • Personal time(computer, read,)
    Kailey wakes up, nurse
    Make Breakfast for Mark and Kailey
    Make Mark's lunch
    Clean up breakfast dishes
    Shower for me and Kailey
    Read to Kailey
    Park or Library, or walk(hopefully find a playgroup soon)
    Alone play time for Kailey while I straighten house
    Floor play time with Kailey
    Kaileys nap(more me time)
    Snack time
    Arts and Crafts
    Clean up time
    Kailey spends time with Daddy while I make dinner
    Family time
    bath time
    Bedtime for Kailey
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#10 of 13 Old 08-15-2003, 07:40 PM
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First, I think that playing independently is a really important skill. It depends on the age, of course, but it's not necessarily in everyone's best interest if the kid is being entertained all of the time -- Mommy is incredibly fun, of course, but there are lots of benefits to being able to play independently.

My dd has just started doing this more, and I'm really happy about it. I will be doing something -- cleaning, whatever -- realize that I haven't seen her in a while, go check on her, and see her in the middle of an elaborate block formation, singing a song to herself. Then she'll kind of start when she sees me, I'll duly exclaim over the wonderful structure, she'll beam, I'll say would you like to play by yourself a little bit more? she will (sometimes, not that often) say yes, and I'll go back to what I was doing.

So just want to put a word in for creating opportunities for your child to play, but not necessarily doing it with him or her ALL the time.

Meanwhile, we have a sort of a framework upon which we hang our day, but it's pretty flexible. Bedtime has it's own, more specific routine, but generally we have one major outing per day, one supplementary outing (the second is often dd and dh in the evening, giving me some time to myself), at least one art project (paint, crayons, playdough, etc.), at least 10 books (just kinda naturally occurring in downtimes), at least one opportunity to play with other kids, unless she is sick. That can be a walk, or going to the playground, or going to the museum, or (2X a week) a playdate.

For the fall/ winter, we're more scheduled, since it's harder to just go out the door and do something fun for hours. (We spend a lot of time at the beach in the summer.) Starting Sept. 8th, four days of the week will have scheduled social activities (classes Monday and Wednesday [different ones], 2-hr playdates Tuesday and Thursday.) Friday will be a revolving activity day -- go to the zoo, go to the farm, go to the museum, etc. With that kind of basis, the rest of it comes more easily.
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#11 of 13 Old 08-15-2003, 08:11 PM
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wow, the only time i can get online is when ds is sleeping, or off with dh , like he is now (they are giving me some alone time)

my guilt is over how much housework i try to do while ds is whining, hanging on my legs. i agree that independant play time is a really good skill for them to have. ds is 18 mos, so maybe he is in a phase where he cant do that right now, cuz he rarely does for more than 10 minutes or so. if he has a really big meal, he plays longer...he is a finicky eater and i think he is hungry alot but wont eat enough, so he is clingy. thats my theory on some days anyway...my main struggle is trying to get dishes done, or i will try to sneak and read a book while ds plays, and i feel like i am always pushing him away cuz he wont play alone much right now. but if i actually sit down and give him 100% for an hour, he usually will settle into his own independant play better too. (for maybe 15 -20 minutes) so i wouldnt worry too much if your dd is into playing alone, but i can see what you are saying..... good luck with computer limiting/scheduling your day! i think i am going to try a very loose schedule myself and see if it has the opposite effect of encouraging ds to play independantly! (its all balance, i suppose)
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#12 of 13 Old 08-15-2003, 11:40 PM
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stirringleaf - I think the more independent play comes with age. I remember DD was the same way at that age and I had tons of guilt about wanting some alone time or wishing she could entertain herself more. It gets better. We have a general routine as well.

Morning is nurse, nurse, nurse and finally get up and get ready for the day. Then I make breakfast while DD helps DH get ready. I do a little clean up as well. DD will either want to do art right away or sometimes watch Sesame Street. Then we eat breakfast and usually go out for some activity - either a playdate, LLL meetings, or errands or an outing to the museum, etc. Then it's nap and I get to do my own stuff. DD nurses for about half her nap, asleep the whole time, so I either read or nap myself. When she starts waking up a little, I read her books, which she loves. It's a nice transition.

Then in the afternoon we hang around the house more, have a snack, do art or her dollhouse, or something like that. If any errands need to get done, they usually get done during this time as well. I try to let DD run around during one of the errands. So she gets to do puzzles at the library, etc. Once a week, we have an afternoon playgroup that we attend.

Then I start making dinner and she either plays by herself, which she still doesn't do a lot of, or she watches a video. I've tried to cut out t.v. during this time but I end up getting very stressed out trying to attend to DD and cook at the same time. I had to go back to a little t.v. to keep my sanity !

Then we eat together. DH either gets home while we're eating or after we eat. He plays with DD a little, then they do bath and hang out. Then it's snack, nursies, brush teeth, and bedtime.

In the Fall, we'll have a weekly music class and Mom and Tot swim lessons twice a week (see traumatic swimming lessons post ).

I like our routine. It gives me enough flexibility to clean up some, cook some, read some, compute some, and be social some, all which I really need!
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#13 of 13 Old 08-16-2003, 02:22 PM
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Wow, independent play! I wish we got some of that around here. Only time I'm on the computer is when she's napping or in bed asleep at night. Not that I need MORE time on the computer, but I wish that she would do some things by herself. I tried setting a timer for independent play but she would just whine and argue with me about it the entire time. After the timer went off, she would get my attention again but she had it the whole time anyway while she was whining and yelling at me to play with her. UGH! I'm ready for her to learn to play alone every now and then. I'm tired of her hanging on me all day.


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