I stay at home with my 2 and a half year old daughter. She's pretty easy going and generally a good, happy child. But when it comes to doing anything I want to do during the day, she'll have none of it. We play a decent amount throughout the day, go for walks, and other things, but the minute I try to do anything I want to do she has a meltdown.
I'm very into my crafts, and am currently working on a crochet blanket and a patchwork quilt. I'd love to work on them during the day, but she just shouts at me the minute I try. Should I just deal with it and wait until the rare occassions I have time to myself? Or should she learn to let me do things I want to do once in a while? I feel like I should be focusing all my attention on her, and doing anything I enjoy is selfish. Strangely enough, it doesn't bother her at all if I do housework, but it's like she has a sensor for when I want to do crafts or anything enjoyable.
How do you all balance giving your children attention and doing what you want to do? I really want to be able to get on with things during the day, especially as I want to eventually sell what I make. But it's not going to be possible if I never have the time to do anything in the first place. Any advice would be appreciated.
She does need to understand that you are not her playmate. She is little still though. I would start taking a little time to do things. Maybe 5 to 10 minutes if she tantrums then she tantrums. Eventually she won't. It's probably just hard to see that you're not paying attention to her. I would still talk to her but continue doing what you're doing. Maybe give her some yarn to play with while you're doing what you want
That sounds good, and was the sort of response I was hoping for. When I'm crocheting, I give her some yarn and a big, plastic crochet hook which works for a while. I'll try letting her play with fabric scraps when I want to work on the quilt.
I did feel that maybe I should get her used to allowing me to do my own thing, but at the same time I couldn't decide if I would be ignoring her needs by doing it.
I have an almost 2 year old son. I enjoy crocheting and I'm learning how to sew on a machine. I have a really hard time keeping my son out of my yarn while crocheting (he likes to pick the ball up and hand it to me or roll it under chair legs). Sewing is another story though and that's why I've been doing more sewing than anything lately. I give him a few scraps of cloth and he just has a blast. When he gets bored of the cloth he will climb up in the chair next to me and watch me sew. He likes to try to kiss the side of the sewing machine too.
My DD, almost 3, used to be like this but is getting much better. One thing that has worked for us is taking my projects/book, etc out in the yard. She is much more likely to want to play by herself outside for some reason. Another thing that often works is to get her started on a fun pretend play game indoors and then sneak away to do what I want when she is absorbed. Then when she notices I am gone and comes running for me, I can usually just say something like "I'm working on X right now, are you making tea for your frogs...?" And she will often run back to what she was doing.
Well, I think it is important for your daughter to get the message that you and she are both equally important people and have needs for downtime and your own sort of "play" like crafts. By ignoring your need to be engaged in an activity you like, you are sending the message that her desires and needs trump yours...which could cause an unhealthy pattern to be set up in which she feels she (and her needs and wants) are more important than you and your needs and wants.
That's a very good point. I'm going to start doing more of what I want to do, gradually, so she can get used to the idea. Not being able to do these things has had a negative affect on me, so that's another good reason to go ahead and crochet or sew. It's just a matter of getting the balance right.
Do you ever try using a kitchen timer with her? You could allot yourself 5 - 10 minutes, starting small and working up, and she'd know that when the timer went off it would be her turn again. This works well for my daughter, but she's quite a bit younger than yours. Or perhaps there's an activity that she would really enjoy that you could always plan to do during the time that you do crafts? Then it could be your special individual/together activity time rather than a time when she feels isolated from you.
OP if it makes you feel better, some educational philosophies like Waldorf highly value children seeing their parents perform physical tasks such as cooking, cleaning, crafting, farming, gardening, etc. The crafting is called "handwork." They believe that children learn best through imitation and that by seeing adults around them engaged in mindful physical activity, they learn to develop their own powers of attention. Basically, they learn to play by watching us work. When I heard that, I was like, oh good, I'm not neglecting my child if I tell her "I will come help you when I finish this row".... lol. Of course I drop what I am doing if she is in real distress, but we practice a lot of patience stretching too.
Anyhow, my DD is also around 2.5 and for some time now we've been learning to work side by side. I want to point out that during her first 18 months I ended up quitting my job as a freelance copywriter because she would scream whenever I was on my email or phone. So she's not a super baby, she's a normal kid who hates to see my attention be on some stupid box.
Around the time she was maybe 20 months, I began crafting with her instead of while she was sleeping. At first I sat down with my knitting and gave her her own needles and yarn. I sang a made up knitting song (it's easy: "I like knitting, I like knitting," to any tune you like) and she sang it with me. I let her handle my projects and many things were frogged, many needles were lost, and many yarns were tangled. Once I was satisfied she'd had some chance to explore what I was doing, I began to insist that she use her needles and I would use mine. Now I just take away my projects if they end up in her hands. LOL. In the beginning it was just five or ten minutes. Now probably a half hour at a time. Sometimes she "knits" next to me with pretend yarn, sometimes she talks to herself, sometimes I tell her a story. Sometimes she rummages in the scraps bin and cuts yarn and fabric into thousands of very messy, mangled, and tiny pieces.
Anyhow, while I was knitting this afternoon, she bounced on the couch, then found a little needle felted ball on the floor, grabbed some yarn, and asked me for her scissors and a felting needle. I figured either she'd hurt herself and give the needle back or she wouldn't hurt herself. Either way, she wasn't backing down about the needle. So I gave it to her. She sat down, cut the yarn, and began to felt it to the ball. "I'm making a baby chicky," she told me. "Probably it's a cat." She worked steadily. I heard "Ow" once, but she worked until she was ready for me to make a few finishing touches to it. "You help me, mama." Then we put the needle away. Later she was playing with her new baby chicky.
I really believe that when we take our work seriously it gives them the ability to take their work seriously too.
Thanks for the responce Cyclamen, that really helps. I didn't know that about Waldorf, so that makes me feel even better about it. I have given her crochet hooks and wool so she can do the same, and she does for a while, which is nice.
Also, your daughter sounds lovely and reminds me of my own, the way she does her crafts. Thanks again for the advice :)
I know how you feel, or felt; my daughter was the same. I got pnd after she was born, and I am convinced part of it was from my never, ever being able to do anything on my own or for myself. She was incredibly bad when we went out in public ( extreme tantrums when we were out; she was so jealous of anyone talking to me or being near me that she would hit them, even her dad). Finally she got much, much better and so did my anxiety about going out with her, when she was about 2.5
Alot of people didn't understand her or what I was going through and would make very critical remarks, blaming me for her attitude in public. That was far from the case, and in reality it was a bad phase she was going through and thankfully outgrew.
Hope you are getting more freetime now!! :)
thank you for this thread. my daughter's only 10 months old but already i feel guilty if i'm not giving her all of my attention all of the time. which is ridiculous, if i look at it logically, but in my sleep-deprived exhausted state, it's an easy pattern to fall into. i love love crafting and cooking (and gardening! but i don't have space for a garden right now, sigh) and reading - if i don't do those things on a regular basis, i get really cranky, which does not make for a happy mama, baby, or family really. :) so, i gotta keep in mind this ever elusive balance.. thanks again.
I am having a hard time striking this balance too. DD is 15.5 mo. I have forlorn household tasks drowning me from all sides and recreational things I would like to do (such as, sew her a pillowcase and cook, boy do I love to cook!) But when to do this? Is she too young for me to carve out some time for myself and allow her a chance to stretch her independent play muscle? Any time I'm doing something without her involvement, she yells at me ("AAHHHHH!!!" but it means, "You are not paying attention to me!!") By the end of the day, I am so burnt out, so under-stimulated, so frustrated that bed time doesn't go so well.
mama to 1 gorgeous DD 11/05/10
When we know better, we do better.