I really don't feel like I'm getting much done. It seems like everyone I know has gone back to having a career and manages to do a good job with their kids (and running their homes) in a fraction of the hours that it takes me.
Most weeks, my kids (who are 12 and 14) are in school full time and fairly independent. This week, they are on spring break. It's just one thing after another.
Here is yesterday:
1. Orthodontist appointments at similar times, but required me driving back and forth 3 times, and took nearly 2 hours altogether. When I scheduled it I though it was a school day so I had planned around that, but since it wasn't a school day, the way I set up the appointments was kinda stupid, but by the time I realized that, it was too late to change them.
2. Cleaned up the house together for 2 hours.
3. Dropped one DD off to see a movie and shop with a friend, drove other DD to a different mall to go bra shopping, which was a total bust. Turns out, bras in her size are not sold in stores. Consoled her by going out for smoothies. Went back to other mall to pick up other DD.
4. Went to grocery store altogether.
5. Come home really exhausted, researched bras on the internet. Think I found one.
6. Kids made dinner, which was quite good. Then we cleaned up the kitchen together. At this point, when they cook, the cleaning is really, really difficult. They help with it and try, but they get every single dish in the kitchen dirty, and are just really messy. They are getting a bit better, but it's slow.
7. walked dogs with husband.
I never managed to exercise, and I felt drained by 7:00. I didn't feel like we'd accomplished anything. The house is basically tidy and we ate healthy food, and we all feel connected. But that's it. It seems like other families manage to do those things while the mom does something impressive for a living.
Right now, I teach 2 yoga classes a week and I want to add more classes, but I feel really busy. When school is in session, I volunteer 2 afternoons a week in the library and on the play ground. I really love my time at their school.
Some basic things happen that didn't when they kids were little -- DH and I have quality time with each other every week, we both spend one on one time with each kid, we do lots of fun things together as a family, I have time to myself to do things I enjoy or go out to lunch with a friend, and I usually exercise.
I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance that even though my kids are as old as they are, it's OK that I'm not accomplishing much in life besides parenting them.
but everything has pros and cons
I do not know if it is reassuring - but I spend much of my time parenting my teens.
I do get more done than when they were little (I can go to the store by myself, I do work part time, I can go out with DH), but the time spent is still there.
For the most part I do not mind - parenting kids is what I set out to do, but it certainly hasn't lessened in any significant way as they aged.
Someone once said young children demand more physical attention while older ones demand more mental attention - overall I have found this to be true.
Hang in there! You usually sound quite happy about your place in life online - could you just be having an off week or is this a pattern?
Honestly, my kids at 10 and 14 are far more time consumming than they were when they were little. When they were little, anything I needed to get done they did with me. Their homework could come with us and be done during car rides. They had activities but they involved driving more locally and maybe waiting an hour. If I had a home project, they were happy to either help or sit next to me while I did it and chat. Now, they have homework that requires computers and wifi so we have to be home at times I'd rather not be. They have activities that can eat up 20 hours a week, require longer drives and be too wasteful in gas to get home between start and finish... this means 3 hour waits, ect. The more intense their activities, the more parental volunteer hours seem to be needed (organizing fund-raisers, selling refreshments at events, ect.) Plus, I actually want to spend time WITH them since I know my years with them in the home are brief.
Personally, one of the problems I also have is that as a SAHM of kids this age, I get imposed on a great deal by others. I understand how they feel. I wasn't always a SAHM (though have worked part-time only since the kids were born.) It is tough to make it all happen. I took this year off specifically to make it possible for my DD to attend a specialty high school. Suddenly, all my working friends continually ask me to help with their projects and transporting their children. I want to be a help but I don't know if they realize they aren't the only people asking.
Ah well, back to trying to debug my DD's computer. Just letting you know you are hardly the only one. Sometimes I think it's a miracle that I manage to keep the laundry under control and food on the table most nights!
Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 14.
Normally, I'm quite happy with my life and feel very blessed. Stupid birthday.
but everything has pros and cons
Just validating you. Yup.
My therapist wrote a little sign for my fridge that says "Don't should on yourself". Say it out loud a few times today.
Linda, I've read your posts for years and have a great deal of respect for you. Seriously, you've accomplished a great deal for yourself and your family. Your online community is proud of you. Happy Birthday.
I agree with you on the amount of time - and mental effort - it takes to parent a young teen. I have a 13 year old and a toddler. The toddler takes more immediate and full-time attention, but parenting the 13 year old can be more exhausting. Both take a lot of patience, but the 13 year old moreso, and she's definitely more emotionally and psychologically draining to parent. She is a good kid, but it still takes a lot of out of me.
I think when we SAH or WAH, our days are filled with many very tiring things. If you were to go to work outside the home, some of those things would be either outsourced or adapted - the volunteering, for example. If you really feel the desire to do something for yourself outside mothering and homemaking, your children and your home will adapt to fit. It's all a balancing act.
Your family sounds loving, connected, and well cared for -- quite an accomplishment indeed!! One thing I'm already preparing for, as the parent of small kids, is that preteens/teens take just as much time and attention as little kids do. I think many parents slide into a pattern of not being as involved in their older kids' lives, when really those older kids are the ones who can get into real trouble and need their parents just as much as when they were younger. So I think you deserve to be commended for continuing to devote a huge chunk of time to parenting your older kids -- they're fortunate!
I don't think parenting gets any easier or takes less time as they get older, it's just different. It only gets a lot easier for those who think their kids are "raised" by age 12. I teach high school and the number of kids who do nothing with their parents or don't see their parents for days astounds me. I completely identify with the type of day Linda described. When they were babies, I spent my time nursing, bathing, changing, cuddling. Now it's driving here and there, helping with school stuff, watching sports games, talking with them. Last night each of my kids had something they had to talk with me about in private. That took 90 minutes total out of the evening. I LOVE that my kids want to talk with me at 15, 13, and 10, but it takes time. But these days are just as important (more so in some ways) than when they were babies. One of the reasons I went into teaching is that I knew I would be home when my kids are after school. I had no idea how much they would have to do after school, LOL. This time investment will pay huge dividends when they are older.
Happy Birthday Linda! (sound of horns tooting)
I completely understand. Right now I am a SAHM, thinking I would have been back to my career a while ago. I find that I am busier than ever w/ my kids-I tend to do a fair amount of driving to activities, volunteering, and frankly, managing our family. My dh works long hours, so really, I am the the stable element. He's fabulous-a great dh, and father, but I have the role of the consistent parent because I am here.
Because I've spent so much time becoming, and being, an advocate for my child w/LD's, and my 2E kiddo, I tend to hear a lot from teachers that my kids are doing as well as they are because of the time/effort that I have put into their well being. And recently my dd's pediatrician commented that it was really nice to see such a connected mom and daughter in the preteen years, so I feel like I've done my "job" well.
You're raising what sounds like a wonderful family, and you certainly have given so much here in terms of your experience. I, for one, am grateful!
I know what you mean. A few years ago, when we were living overseas for DH's job, we briefly considered sending DS, who was then about 15 y.o. back home for schooling opportunities. The plan would have been for him to live with extended family or board with friends. He would have been in a very secure, comfortable situation. He's a pretty independent, self-sufficient kid. However, I was reluctant because I knew our roles as parents were still very important and it was a little too early for him to leave the nest. It turned out not to be necessary because we had another transfer. It does strike me how much parenting still happens through the teen years.
Thanks for the nice thoughts!
One of my kids is also 2E, and for many years being her mom was a full time job. It's not a full time job anymore and she's doing really well, but both my kids just take time!
I'm feeling better about things now than I did this morning. I really like all the little parts of my life and don't want to knock any of them out to make time for something else, but the little parts just take more time and energy than I thought they would. I'm glad I'm not the only one.
but everything has pros and cons
I'll tell ya... I used to have a higher paid job than I do now, but I traded off the money to be able to be closer to home (across town vs a 90 minute commute each way). And it has really paid off in terms of the kids and parenting them. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Have I had to do a lot of running around? Absolutely. But I've also been able to have the joy of participating in their lives more than a lot of parents I know. It's well worth it!
I am 39 years old and I recently gave MY MOTHER a pad of paper that I picked up at Hallmark that says --- "Motherhood the First 40 Years Are the Hardest." Being a mother - a really connected mother is an amazing undertaking with a job outside of the home or not. Happy Birthday!
I know this is an old thread but I really appreciate it.
Linda, I just want to add my perspective as a mom of a 16 y.o. While my daughter does more and more for herself by herself, she doesn't have a drivers license yet. It occurred to me that I've got an emerging adult here at home that I still have to drive around, still have to keep track of her schedule, still need to guide.
Think about how it would be to have just some adult living in your home, some one who has outside obligations and needs, and that person needs help getting some of it done.
I never thought I'd be a sahm for so long.
I see this is old, but just wanted to chime in and say that as a former middle school teacher (my partner is a former high school teacher) we actually plan for her to be home and not working when our son hits middle school age. In my mind, those years are far harder and more important for parents to be very hands-on. I think it is much easier to juggle little ones and a job than older ones and a job. We both work full time now, and will continue to through elementary school, but the plan is that she will retire (she is older than I am) in 5-8 years to be more present in his afternoons and evenings.
|Teens , Pre Teens|