I have two daughters 4 1/2 & 2. I'm frustrated because they 'cling' to me or want me to be focused on them all the time. When I read that sentence it makes me feel like a terrible mother. I want to give them my attention as much as I can but I still need independent time. Often if I walk into the other room to clean up the dishes or take care of something - within minutes they are right behind me. I go to the bathroom or shower and they come barging in. I go to check my email or something on the computer and here they come.
This mostly starts with my older daughter then the younger follows right along. When I'm rested and in a good frame of mind I can roll with this better but when I've been up at night or after a full weekend entertaining them - I'm honestly tapped out.
I think I need to change something about my parenting style or better react to their interruptions or change my expectations but I am at a loss for what to do. I troubles me to yell (and I have been doing that some) and I'm sure I give in when I should follow the behavior modification rules.
Any advice or further input I could give to help me through this hard time is really appreciated.
I should say that my husband is involved and does help out tremendously. We have different styles (which I"m sure everyone has right?) but when I am around they most often want to cling to me.
My youngest is an extrovert and needs to be on my heels all the time. I have found that if I set her up with an activity where I am working it helps. So if I am cooking/doing dishes/kitchen stuff I set her up with play doh, painting on her easel, etc. If she needs help I am not that interrupted because I can get right back to what I am doing. I have also found that I can put her to work. When I fold laundry she is in charge of helping me empty the dryer, sorting undies and socks into a special basket, folding wash cloths and napkins. She is happy to do the work for my company. I also can send her on little errands like hanging up her clothes, putting away small items. If I do need a break from her I can usually let her know and give her something really fun to do and turn on the radio. It helps her to have a timer set or some way to know when we will be together again. This took training and started with really small increments of time - like going to the bathroom by myself. And now I can do it for 20-30 minutes. I try to save that for 1x a day at most.
I will add that I think it was when my dd was about 2.5 when she and my ds started to be able to play together more. They are now great playmates (most of the time) at 3.5 and 5.5.
Thank you PBJmama. Those suggestions really help. This parenting thing means you're 'on point' so much of the time. I don't have a goody bag of successful kids activities at the ready for any moment like some moms I know who are really good with childcare activities. I'm probably being too hard on myself. I'd love to hear from more people about what they do to keep their high energy kids engaged while keeping a bit of themselves intact.
Some activities that have worked around here (kept out of reach until I need them):
- face painting (I let them paint their own faces in front of the mirror)
- stringing beads
- cutting stuff out and gluing (cutting stuff out of magazines or toy catalogues is esp exciting).
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
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