How do you focus more time on your kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 04-08-2010, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When you are a SAHM, I don't know if you make your role as only the "mom", or also the "housekeeper" (you know, the person that cooks, cleans, shops, runs errands and takes care of all the household stuff). I'm sure most of your aren't just strictly moms - I think you all do housekeeping work on top of doing the mom stuff. I gave up my career to be with my son (8 months old now), and my goal is to focus on him while he is young. But unfortunately I think I spend too much of my time & energy on household work, resulting not enough time, focus, and energy on my son. I'd like some advice on how to put my focus back on my son and being the mom (rather than being the housekeeper/maid, which I didn't give up my career for). I find it difficult to focus on my son when I've got dinner to make, errands to run, things to take care of....

I'm already trying to restrict all errands & shopping to one day a week. But the rest of the days I still have cooking (I do bulk cook & freeze as much as I can); some cleaning (baby is crawling all over the floor now); phone calls; organizing, etc. I know I can go with convenience solutions to cut out some of my labor, but I'm a real traditional, do-it-myself, no-packaged-goods, no-convenience-goods type of person. For example, I make my own pasta sauce & enchiladas sauce. I make all the baby food myself. I pack my husband's lunch everyday & clean & reuse all the containers. I make all my own healthy desserts & snacks (rarely buy ready-made stuff). I use cloth diapers so it adds more laundry work. I even handmade my son my own sleeping sack for him. Besides trying to be frugal on a single income, I make everything myself because I sometimes think it's stupid to pay extra for the convenience when the stuff isn't half as good, inexpensive, and healthy as homemade. And many convenience items are more cost for us & trash for the environment (for example, disposable diapers). Anyways, from these examples you'd probably get an idea of what I'm so busy with all day.

I know that if I were to buy more ready made dinners & food, lower my standard of health (ie, be ok with processed goods, preservatives, etc), be willing to use more use-and-toss plastic bags instead of re-usable containers, or hire helpers, etc, just as examples, then my work would be that much less. But I find it very difficult to do, for financial reasons, health reasons, and just a matter of lifestyle. How do all you go-green, do-it-yourself type of moms manage to put the focus on your kids rather than doing all this stuff for the household? (By the way, some of my constraints are money, and my husband has an over-full plate as is so recruiting his help would only cut back on the time he can spend with me & us).

How do you manage it, or do most of you consider your role & job the housekeeper and the kids just hang around you as you go about your housework? I am clear that if I looked back and realized that I spent most my time being busy around the house rather than engaging with my son & enjoying him while he is little, I would feel really regretful. Right now, I feel very proud of all the high quality low cost things I'm able to bring to my home (because everything is homemade), but I really wish I had more time to be with my son and be a mom....
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#2 of 21 Old 04-08-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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My husband and I talked about this a while back... I have one full-time job and one part-time job. I am a full-time mom and a part-time "house manager" (cause it's so much more than cleaning, haha).

And I divide my time accordingly. I spend one hour a day cleaning, and that's it. If it's not done in an hour, oh well. I plan meals ahead (on Sundays, when my husband is playing with the baby) and try to be smart with prep so that cooking is easy (I have to cook from scratch because we are on a tight budget). I'm not making gourmet meals anyway, I'm finding very simple meals that I can do a lot with the baby on one hip... I'm talking about, throw some fish on a cookie pan, shake some seasoning on it, stick it in the broiler-- two pots of boiling water get some pre-prepped fresh green beans and corn cobs-- I threw the ingrediants for rolls in the bread machine earlier, than shaped them an hour ago while the baby was napping, so I stick those in the oven. Done. Emma and I sit on the floor of the kitchen and play with pots and pans, so that I can keep an eye on dinner. I LOVE to cook really complicated food, I was a cook before I became a mom, but while I have young babies, that will have to wait a few years.

The baby only takes one nap a day, and that is time to food prep/make phone calls/make lists/organize household. I do my hour of cleaning a day with the baby in the mei tai. Any errands or grocery store trips, I make it an "outing" for her, wear her in a carrier and talk to her about everything (do I look like a loon standing in the grocery store explaining different types of lettuce to a baby? of course. but who cares). And all the rest of our time is play-time.

It's been hard and requires a lot of organization and simplifying, but I'll remember spending time with my daughter a lot longer than I'll remember that big mound of laundry that needs to be put away, or that we had pasta two nights in a row. And if Martha Stewart doesn't feature me on her TV show, I reckon life will go on.


ETA: Oh, forgot to say we CD too, I just throw them in every morning, dry them after breakfast, put away with the baby "helping" in the afternoon (or sometimes they don't make it out of the dryer and I'm grabbing them a handful at a time as I walk by to the changing table, oh well, haha)... having a set routine makes it a lot easier.

Kelly (28), in love with husband Jason (38) and our awesome babies:  Emma 4/09, and Ozzy 8/10

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#3 of 21 Old 04-08-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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I'm a part-time SAHM, but I do two things that make me feel less like I'm ignoring the girls to do house work. I grocery shop at night after the girls are asleep. It works for me b/c I'm one of those people that actually enjoys grocery shopping, just not with 2 young kids. We also got a slow cooker last year, which I LOVE! I can do all the prep work for dinner early in the day (or during naptime) and still have a healthy nutritious home-made meal without racing around during the 5:00 crazies.

Mom to DD1 (Feb 2006) and DD2 (June 2008) with HIE, CP, dev delays and reflux
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#4 of 21 Old 04-08-2010, 10:48 AM
 
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Oh, YES to the slow-cooker. That and the bread machine are my life-savers on days with a lot going on.

Kelly (28), in love with husband Jason (38) and our awesome babies:  Emma 4/09, and Ozzy 8/10

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#5 of 21 Old 04-08-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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Personally, I don't think you can. Something will have to give, or you'll have to have help to accomplish everything. No one can do it all, it's not just you.
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#6 of 21 Old 04-08-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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I try to incorporate a period into each day where I put aside any stress, to-do lists, errands etc and just do something fun with DD. It's definitely easier now that the weather is warming up.

I also try to include her in whatever activities we are doing. So I'm not cooking while she is on her own (unless she wants her own time). Instead, she is helping me mix, cutting with a butter knife, pouring noodles in the pan, etc.

Or when we clean, she gets a set of cleaning tools, a spray bottle with diluted vinegar, a wet rag to wash the walls...

Hehe, I even got a little scrubbie tool so she could "clean" her potty chair while I cleaned the toilet.

Probably for mamas of many it is a bigger challenge, but at this time, I'm really enjoying having a little companion in my everyday tasks.

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#7 of 21 Old 04-09-2010, 04:36 AM
 
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Honestly I read how people do it and those who think they are doing great have only one kid. Throw in more than that and all bets are off.

I didn't give up my life to be a stay-at-home-servant either but I tell ya -- that is what I am most of the time. I cd and all that as well as make our own food (and try for a traditional foods diet at that which means fermenting etc) and it is HARD F-ING WORK. Anyone who makes it look or sound easy blows my mind.

I have a 3.75 year old and a 10.5 month old and my head is spinning 95% of the time just to keep up much less cover ground. And I'm supposed to keep books/manage workers comp/incoming bills and outgoing payments for my husband's business in my "spare time". With 2 kids who never nap at the same time??? HUH??????? I can't imagine hiring care (who has the $$ and who has the time to interview these people??)


Ahh that became a wee bit of a rant of a tired mama who has an awake baby playing at my feet at 11:40 at night ---

Those who have it together: My hat is off to you.

Erin sharing life with a burly husband and two rad boys 7/06 & 5/09 : : Zone 9-ish
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#8 of 21 Old 04-10-2010, 02:01 AM
 
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We usually have one errand to do a day--whether it be the bank, the post office, grocery store, etc, and the kids come with me. I have no choice b/c of dh's work schedule.

Certain things I do during their naptime---scheduling appts, finding out info that I need. I rarely do things after they are sleeping--I will run the dishes, maybe empty it, and then wash/dry a load of laundry.

Everything else I do while they are awake. I try to make everything a learning opportunity. I guess it helps that my middle child is severely language delayed, so everything we do helps get more into him. So I cook, fold laundry, do the floors, shopping, etc with all of the kids and teach them about what we are doing/what we are buying.

This way I am getting things accomplished and teaching them valuable information Counting, sorting, naming, decriptions, mailing things, how the bank works, all good stuff to know

I do also try to take them outside for 2 hours each morning and then another 2 hours in the afternoon so I feel like they are getting quite a bit of fun time mixed in.

Cassie, mom to Alex(7), Aidan(5), Andrew(4)

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#9 of 21 Old 04-10-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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I try to involve DS in whatever life skills I'm doing (cooking, cleaning, gardening, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.). The way I figure it, it's only in recent generations that kids were able to have "leisure" time and not be by the parent's side in every aspect of their life. That was how they learned about life. Besides learning the actual tasks, housework and cooking is full of educational opportunities: colors, numbers, reading, math, problem solving, creativity, etc.

But I admit I only have one child and he is even too much for me sometimes! I do think there is a current "expectation" for stay at home moms to be sitting on the floor with their babies all day just playing with them. I see a difference between playing with DS without any other distractions (which I do try to do at least once a day) and attempting to involve him in my daily tasks (which is most of my day) and completely ignoring him while I'm reading a book and he's watching tv (which I try not to do but sometimes my brain is mush and I just need a break

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#10 of 21 Old 04-15-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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I don't try to do it all anymore. I read this here and I agree: Some days I'm a great wife, some days I'm a great cook, some days I really focus on my kids, some days the housework really needs attention, but I can't do it all everyday. I'm okay with that.

Lately my focus has been to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Dh has been grilling out and we have been eating out some. I've decided that housework can wait until the next rainy day...to a point...I'm not going to let it get disgusting. Sometimes my 3yo has to wait for my attention. He doesn't like it, but he is learning and then I always follow up with some attention from me.

Sometimes you just have to say no to something and make sure you say yes to yourself sometimes! If you can afford to hire help or are just really patient about letting your children help with everything, some people do that. Some people do house work while their children are sleeping. That would not work for me, but everyone is different.
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#11 of 21 Old 04-15-2010, 10:48 PM
 
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My ds is almost 2 and he is now at the age where he can participate and "help" me clean and cook. For instance, I make my own bread each week and i pull up a chair to the counter and he stands there and i give him a spoon and a bowl and he just does his own thing. Then I give him a wad of dough to play with while i get the rest of the bread prepped. And then i always let him help me do the dishes. Again, I pull up a chair and he gets one side of the sink and i stand at the other where all the knives and breakable dishes are and we share the water. He makes a mess but that comes with the territory so I don't sweat it. And with cleaning he gets a broom (big or small) and we go town. Or he uses my duster while i pick up toys. And when I vacuum he holds my hand or hands me the attachments to the vacuum.

So including ds in my house tasks helps A LOT in the "spending time with baby while managing everything else" gig. So I think as your child gets older it will be easier to combine the two worlds. Don't ask me how mom's do it with more than one child though!
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#12 of 21 Old 04-16-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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For me, all the cding, home made food and goods are for the benefit of your child. Sitting and playing aren't the only thing babies need. In my view, some relaive sanitation, laundry and good quality food are my job. They are a part of the Mom job. It helps with the quality of our family's life. My job is the home and that becomes clearer the more kids you have. I have 3 boys 6 and under. There is not alot of time for quality play time, but we squeze it in.
Bottom line, you can't just be mom. Part of being mom is the dirty work too. Because your healthy family requires it. Enjoy one baby!

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#13 of 21 Old 04-25-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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My house is definitely not as clean as I'd like it to be, but I wasn't a big cleaner before having dd, so I don't know why I'd become one now! I think we all need to just own our priorities-- and if we find we're spending more time or energy on something than we think is proportional to its true value/importance, then it's time to reassess. Personally, I really enjoy running errands, and I think my dd enjoys it too-- I think of them more as "field trips"-- we get to spend the time experiencing some place or activity together, which is cool, and totally counts as quality time in my book (even if it's just grocery shopping, the post office, etc.) Sometimes we get inspired and tackle big household tasks together- someitmes the place gets a little cluttered and grimy by the end of the week- I try not to sweat it. Having a hot dinner ready when dh gets home is important to me, and while I try to aim for healthy balance in our meals, I definitely feel fine with taking shortcuts. To each her own, I guess. I certainly haven't managed to "do it all"- but I'm pretty much over expecting that of myself or anyone else. My family is what comes first- and I show my love by feeding them and spending time with them. Others choose to show their love by taking on the work of cloth diapers, or by keeping the floors spotless. Whatever does it for you and yours is okay-- but if what you're doing isn't "doing it" for you, or is takingyour time from something more important, than totally reconsider things.
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#14 of 21 Old 04-25-2010, 05:39 PM
 
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I'm a housewife hence im able to spend most of the time with my kids ,i think it would be very difficult for me to spend time with my kids if i was a working women.
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#15 of 21 Old 04-25-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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I try and take my son (13 months) out somewhere at least once a day. The library, the park, play centres...somewhere that the two of us can be together that is away from the house. Although I have definitely relaxed my standards and take it easy on cleaning, I feel like if I'm around the house, I'm often distracted by thinking about dinner, cleaning, phone calls etc. When we're out I can focus on DS and have fun, and leave all the rest at home!
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#16 of 21 Old 05-01-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bstandlee View Post
completely ignoring him while I'm reading a book and he's watching tv (which I try not to do but sometimes my brain is mush and I just need a break
See I think its GREAT for kids to see their parents engaged in activities that they love. ESPECIALLY reading that is SOOOOOOOO important for them to see that modeled. It also gives them the chance to learn to find things that interest them.
It's all about balance, ya know? If all you do all day is sit and ignore them, that's not good.....but if all you do all day is engage them and never give them their own brain space, that's not good either.
Ahhhhhhh elusive balance
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#17 of 21 Old 05-01-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetPotato View Post
My family is what comes first- and I show my love by feeding them and spending time with them. Others choose to show their love by taking on the work of cloth diapers, or by keeping the floors spotless. Whatever does it for you and yours is okay-- but if what you're doing isn't "doing it" for you, or is takingyour time from something more important, than totally reconsider things.
YES!! I love this!!!
ALL the "work" counts for something!
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#18 of 21 Old 05-05-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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I find it very easy to involve one child in household tasks like laundry, cleaning, or cooking. Once I had two kids I can't figure out how to get anything done. I'd do it while they sleep, except one is a night owl, the other a morning person, and naps, haha, what are naps? Any advice from moms with more then one?

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#19 of 21 Old 05-06-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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I have 2, almost 3 kids (I'm 34 weeks pregnant). Somedays, I am really good at each of my roles. Almost never all on the same day.

I'm a routine oriented person (even before babies), so that helps me. I do a modified flylady, which keeps my house mostly under control in less than an hour of big cleaning per day (not counting meals and meal cleanup and general pickup of toys). I do cloth diaper, too (soon to be 2 again), and I make most of our meals from scratch, though they aren't gourmet by any standards.

I think you find your groove in being a SAHM, with some stages harder than others. I've had times where I throw up my hands and declare that I can't do it, my kids would be better off in daycare, I should go back to work, hire a housekeeper, and then things would work better. And, then I get back to reality.

Some of the basics--I try to get up before my kids, even if only for 10 minutes. That little bit of quiet helps start my day off right. I have routines, so if it's Monday, I'm washing clothes. If it's Friday, I know to wash a load of diapers (cause I can go a couple of days without washing, and that way, I don't have to wash on the weekends). If it's Saturday, I aim towards getting my kids to bed early, so that I can eat an uninterrupted dinner with my dh and actually *talk* to him in peace (ah, I love that night!).

We get out of the house several days a week (errands, playdate, grandma's house, etc), but we also stay home all day at least one and sometimes two days a week. My kids are bigger and more mobile (almost 2 and almost 4), so getting out of the house everyday is not so fun to me. I (and they) need the down time.

I rearranged my expectations somewhat, too, so that they help me with lots of the things I'm doing. If we're shopping, then, they are involved. If I'm cooking, they help stir. If I'm doing laundry, they help sort and turn on the machine. They are constantly by my side, instead of off playing with their toys in another room. Every moment is a teachable, fun, playing with them moment.

And, I incorporate a lot of the stuff I like, too. I like reading books, so we read books every afternoon, all piled on the couch. It's fun, they like it, I like it, and it works for us. They have daddy for wrestling, which is NOT my thing at. all. So, I don't do it.

You'll find your groove! Eight months is really early in your career as a SAHM.
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#20 of 21 Old 05-13-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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I have to make a conscious effort to do so. Often, I feel so overwhelmed with all the work - cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. I have three (20 months, 4, and almost 6) and I usually feel like no one is getting ANY quality time with mom. So, I have to make some kind of an effort at least once a day - play snakes and ladders with my two older dc, read some stories to the baby, a few minutes of cuddle time with each one, a trip to the park for all three, etc. As another poster said, it IS hard work, so good luck with finding what works for you.
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#21 of 21 Old 05-14-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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Subbing...I have 1, 2, and 4 year-old, and I was just looking for ideas of what to do with my days. I feel like I am spending a lot of self-time (reading about raw veganism lately) and not enough "us" time. They play a lot together, but I have trouble even getting out of the house in the nice weather. Three children in car seats or even chasing around outside where we have no fence is exhausting! I hope that once I fully change my diet and lose weight, I will have more energy to keep up with them, because lately everything is just a battle. I don't even know what to prepare for meals anymore because I don't want to cook. Grrrrr...

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