Mothering Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm seriously thinking of moving somewhere with a freeschool because our unschooling life is so boring... I have a 6 year-old boy with amazing imagination and lots of childish energy. However, he mostly sits in front of the computer playing games all day, interspersed with cable TV watching. I'm serious--it's ALL day. Because I had a baby five months ago I feel as if I don't have the energy and time to get involved with classes, outings etc. Also, we moved to a smaller town a year ago, so we have to travel a bit to get that sort of thing. I'm absolutely <i>craving</i> community, but it's not really happening;(.<br>
I have a long mental list of things I would love for us to get involved with, but day after day it's all the same old thing. Once in a great while we'll go do something and I feel great and energized but then I hesitate to do anything soon again because it always seems so much of a hassle to get out the door (getting snacks/food ready, bring extra clothes, diapers, making sure baby's nursed and happy before getting in the car, blah blah blah...).<br><br>
So, I'm looking for any advice and encouragement you can give me about getting more adventurous and fun. Especially about things to do with a baby in tow, both at home and out of the house.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,484 Posts
It's winter. There's snow on the ground. You have a five month old. In a few more weeks, it'll be warmer, you'll go outside, you'll have more energy, your baby will be crawling... It'll get better. You have to treat this as a phase. It's no reason to throw it all out the window.<br><br>
If you're sick of cable, have you considered not having cable? We don't have TV though the boys just watch movies and play video games all day on the computer, but I feel slightly better because there's no advertising and because they have to do something to make media happen. Get out the crayons. Or paints or make some goop. Let the 6yo ride a bike in the house. Let him make phone calls to relatives. Do something different if you're going totally crazy.<br><br>
But rest assured, it will get better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree I don't need to be hard on myself, but even before the baby we were sort of "rut-ty" people. We bought an easle, thinking it would inspire him to do art, but he's really so much about interacting. He loves spending time with his papa, but he works 70 hour weeks, so it's just me. I feel like I'm neglecting him.<br>
I've thought of ditching the cable, but it's been a life-saver for me. I think I have what they call PPD--I call it being totally isolated. With the Food Network and Travel Channel, I can at least make it through the day<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">. So, I think we'll keep it until the baby becomes more mobile.<br>
Those are good ideas (except for riding a bike--we have a 2 bd apartment, second floor!), but ds doesn't do anything but computers and TV unless there's another person involved. And I totally understand him. The computer and TV are substitutes, and I've noticed that ever since we got internet a year ago, along with cable a few months ago, his creativity has gone into hiding. We hardly talk anymore (which is of course my 'fault'--I just get so caught up in caring for the baby, making sure he's content etc). I have this eerie feeling of ds 'wasting away', if that makes sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,840 Posts
It seems like you still have some expectations about how he will spend his time or what he should be interested in. He isn't interested in art currently... you are though.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> It can be so tough to see that what we want isn't really what they want.<br><br>
How about a time at night where you can read together or talk about what he's watched on TV or what he played, why he loves it, etc?<br><br>
It will get better as the weather perks up and the babe is a little bit bigger I bet. Hang in there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
I'm right there with ya, in terms of feeling disconnected from my oldest (he's almost 6). I think it's a natural feeling resulting from having another baby. I felt SO connected to him when #2 was born, then I felt like we got disconnected, and moreso when #3 was born. But, it also coincided with him getting older and more independent. Don't be too hard on yourself, it's winter, we're all sick of snow on the ground, and it will get better. Your baby will be crawling soon and you'll see how he's drawn to the baby and wants to interact with the baby (and you, don't worry). It's a tough transition watching your oldest get older and more independent, but the fact that you're AWARE of it, means that you still have a good connection. My advice: ditch the TV, limit the computer and you may find that the creativity comes back.<br><br>
I know what you mean about community--we're starting the homeschooling/unschooling thing, but we just don't have the community around us to support it. We're looking at Sudbury model school to give him the community he needs/wants. I'm a rut person too and I'd love to "break out" but with 3 wee ones at different ages, I'm also honest that I may not have the bandwidth right now to cater to all of their interests and needs. So, a democratic school it is for him, where he can get all of the interaction he needs and pursue his interests. I'm too much of a control freak (yeah, we did the easel thing too and lots of science stuff, but then I didn't follow through with anything). Don't be hard on yourself, you're doing great! Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,539 Posts
I am awful when I have a new baby so I can commiserate. If you honestly think you have PPD then pursue that. I had it with both kids (or post partum thyroiditis - I only know I felt like drek and none of the doctors I saw diagnosed or helped me - stuffing my bitter rant now). Either see a doctor or research supplements (The Mood Cure was a godsend for me after the doctors blew me off). But getting that under control is the most important thing. More important than anything else IMO.<br><br>
The tv - I'd see it more as a symptom, not a cause. If you take away or limit the tv, and there still aren't people around for him to interact with, will he truly be better off? Ok, the tv-free tribe people would say yes so I know there are differences of opinion here, but I don't think so. If he is a social little dude then the only thing that will really help him to be happy and fulfilled is to get him more social opportunities.<br><br>
Do you have any yahoo email groups in your area? You said he loves intereacting with other people so can you just arrange something? And by "arrange" I mean get on the email list and say "we'll be at this park at this time - please join us!". If you don't have an email list try starting one. They're very easy.<br><br>
Do you *have* parks in your area? My daughter is very social and will play with anyone. She doesn't have to know them. If your son likes organized things, maybe check out the parks department or any local library activities or a nature center or what have you. Or just regular classes if he likes that? Dance, gymnastics, whatever is available for his age.<br><br>
If you really have no one around you that's tough. I don't know what to say then. Maybe ask him if he wants some penpals or email pals or help him learn to chat online with other kids or something.<br><br>
But mostly this <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Really, the PPD issues are one of the main reasons I don't want to have any more (it takes me years to feel "normal" again).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,724 Posts
I have three kids. The youngest is 9 months old. It can be a real pain to get all of us dressed and ready and out the door in time. My kids are in guitar, piano, dance, and karate classes! So our free days are Wednesday and Fridays lol But I keep with it anyway because I know that this is very important for my kids. My dh will help out sometimes by having me drop the kids off to class and he'll pick them up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks everyone for your enlightening comments an suggestions.<br><br>
I agree that taking away the TV is not solving anything. He's very very social, and very light-hearted. So even though he's not getting what he "needs" (social interaction), he won't complain or he's just not so aware of the lack as I am, mostly because of the TV and computer. So we're both using these medias in the same way--as a substitute, mostly, but not always.<br><br>
It's not so much that I have expectations about how he should spend his time. Like any mom, unschooling or not, I want for him to feel fulfilled. Computer games are great fun for him, but as we only got internet a year ago, I've seen this gradual shift in him, kind of subtle, but it worries me I guess. He loves games of all kinds, and still always prefers real life games over computer. so i guess i feel a bit guilty about not being able to provide fun opportunities for him.<br><br>
It seems like I've tried getting things going here. It's a small town, so there aren't probably many unschoolers here. I have hard time hanging out with people that are very different in their parenting and educational philosophies.The cities are about 30-45 minutes away, and there are a lot more opportunities up there. I just feel like it's such hard to get out, especially if I have to be somewhere a certain time. I think what it mostly come down to is just not believing our lives can be fulfilling (all of us at the same time). it seems everything revolves around my anxities about the baby And before the baby, it was always something else. Though we did get out, we were stuck in ruts--going to the library, bookstore etc. I would love to have a more adventurous life, it would be inspiring to know what other unschoolers do.<br><br>
anyhow, i'm not sure where i'm going with this<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">! I just need some support and advice I guess. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
you mentioned moving somewhere to find a free school, could you instead just move somewhere closer to a city with an unschooling group?<br><br>
i felt the same way a few months ago as my 6yo delved into the world of video games and i was feeling really upset. i took the advice of some of the mamas on here and sat with him at the computer and let him tell me all about the game he was playing etc. it was a way to connect which was what i was really needing.<br><br>
maybe set up a picnic on the floor for lunch one day with some fun foods? set up a little scavenger hunt in the apartment? play hide and seek? you could do those things while holding baby.<br><br>
i'm sorry though, it's a tough spot to be in. i hope it gets less rutty soon<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
hi mama,<br>
i agree with the others not to be too hard on yourself!<br>
you ask for ideas inside and outside the house, here are some that have worked well for us.<br>
some things my DD1, who is six, loves to do:<br><br>
inside the house:<br>
help me cook or bake -- wash produce, chop, pour, stir<br>
put on her tap shoes and dance along with gene kelly<br>
dress up and reenacting her favorite stories<br>
run around holding an umbrella with DD2 (age 2)<br>
paint, the messier the better, using her hands, finger and hand prints, stamps<br>
make collages with glue, glitter, bits of everything<br>
make her own dough with flour, water, brown rice, lentils, etc. (a real mess but just put down a shower curtain or tarp first, or omit the water and it's a lot less messy)<br>
make bead mosaics (plastic cylindrical beads, which i melt with the iron when she's done -- check at a craft store)<br><br>
outside the house:<br>
watch workmen of all kinds, anywhere we find them<br>
dig in the dirt for worms<br>
haul her wheelbarrow around with me in the yard<br>
climb my 6' and 10' ladder<br>
look at all my power tools (unplugged)<br>
slide bolts into washers and put nuts on, take off, put on, take off<br>
measure things with my measuring tape<br>
draw lines with my speed square<br>
make a potion with a water bottle (she adds flowers, leaves, dirt, pine needles, sticks, etc.) and shakes it all up<br>
climb trees<br>
play catch, play baseball<br><br>
hope that helps, and that you find a happier groove soon!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
198 Posts
I really enjoyed of2mindsmama's suggestions (writing them down).<br><br>
its obvious but again i wanted to add to others who have said that this time will pass. We have a 6yr old dd and our ds is almost turning 2. I feel that myself and my partner are only just beginning to come out of that intense phase and almost beginning to, think about, starting to explore our own interests more fully... maybe <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> With my partner planning to learn piano and myself working on my drawing i feel that will be help provide more inspiration around here but it has just been beyond us until recently.<br><br>
one thing we did during that early time was <i>invest in the nest</i> more. Im generally not big on consumerism but we did go a little ebay crazy in buying bulk lego, a toy train set, kids stove & kitchen bits, a woodwork bench and kid size tools and lots of crafty things etc etc etc.<br><br>
hard sometimes as our ds is extremely active and sometimes dd wanted her projects not to be destroyed every five minutes, but i found trying to work more on the environment (without attachment to outcomes) took pressure of my shoulders and led to a lot of interesting initiatives from dd.<br><br>
in terms of support network ive found it useful to be clear on what my expectations are from various relationships. So i often go online to find like minds and am therefore generally more open to diversity in my physical meet ups with people, which still meet other basic needs.<br><br><b>beyond that i reckon anyone with one 5 month old, let alone two kids... whose partner is pulling 70 hour weeks... and has a relatively small support network, is doing bloody well to get the occasional shower and a cooked meal more than 2 times a week (not counting toast)</b>, let alone doing creative funky unschooling stuff!<br><br>
arun
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,753 Posts
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Sounds like my guy, in terms of using tv and the computer as a substitute for playmates. And even though we are near a city and don't have a baby who has needs to take into account, we have trouble finding people to do things with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,202 Posts
The end of winter isn't always easy. We do tend to hunker down a bit, which is nice. Sometimes we need more than hunkering down. I try to make sure we have lots of different art materials (various clays, various kinds of paints, ACMoore type perpared canvases, glitter --some non run of the mill supplies), lots of books on tape, lots of good DVDs and CDs etc. My youngest is currently into 'stamp collecting' and went through all my old letters and postcards, and goes through the mail each day to save the stamps. I never noticed how many people use metered mail these days; that means no fun stamps.<br><br>
Winter is also a good time to freeze things outside-- set up a pan of water outside and put cookie cutters in there, or in the snow, make molasses candy in the snow, make peanut butter and seeds bird feeders, read Little House in the Big Woods and The Long WInter (it never stops snowing, oy) or listen to it on tape, finger knit, sort old family photographs, write stories, take really long baths with various kitchen items; funnels, colanders, measuring cups, manual egg beaters, have kids dictate stories to you that they illustrate, make bread, pretxles, bread dough, make collages with glue sticks, make paper mache planets (; current project) etc.<br><br>
I personally like chilling and hunkering down, but sometimes kids want something new to do and that is ok as well. New babies make things is more tricky but offerring low stress, no- mess activities can sometimes turn a day around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,202 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>anne+arun</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10754518"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br><br><b>beyond that i reckon anyone with one 5 month old, let alone two kids... whose partner is pulling 70 hour weeks... and has a relatively small support network, is doing bloody well to get the occasional shower and a cooked meal more than 2 times a week (not counting toast)</b>, let alone doing creative funky unschooling stuff!<br><br>
arun</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<br>
While common in our world, such a situation is, speaking from an anthropological point-of-view, a whole new kind of living, and is probably one reason PPD can get out of control etc. If we choose this lifestyle, if we are termperaments who do better with alone-ness, fine, but if we are stuck in it or feel our lives are lacking without community, that's something else entirely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,666 Posts
We love the library, and I seem to suggest that alot on this board. They usually have childrens programs. story time, great MEDIA to check out.. books... and generally a childs play area...<br><br>
How about registering for an activity thru the city recreation program? swimming lesson, ball, cooking, art etc...<br><br>
spring will be to your area soon...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cold.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cold">:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thanks again everyone for all the great suggestions.<br><br>
one thing i cannot do is sit watching my son play games--my husband does, but I can't stand it. I used to play games when I was younger, but one day I was just done. I didn't own a TV either for almost ten years. Something about it all makes me nervy. also, my son plays shooting games, not something I'm a fan of. I don't mind him doing it, I just have no interest in it.<br><br>
I think what's most important for me is to find a community. I have some inhibitions that are holding me up though, and also the constant dilemma of where to actually settle down (and thus invest energy into finding/building community with others). We've moved so much lately and never seem satisfied with where we are. But then we always move on a whim rather than carefully choose our next home. Hmmm...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
My friend so sorry you are feeling this way. I have been a bad friend. I have been saying I will come see you and every week there is soemthing that stops me from doing so. I miss you and we still have the present in the car for the birthday boy!<br>
I am going to try to make and effort to come next week.<br>
Winter has been long this year and we are all on a rut. Having a little baby when is so cold makes it worse. Spring will be here in no time and things will be better. Just remenber we love you all.<br>
Love,<br>
Alex, MD, Brian and Gigi
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks girl! We sure hope to see you soon, but we're patient and understanding<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.<br><br>
We're getting out more now--it feels great. Weather warming up and it's so nice to be outside finally. Last week was the first time we hung out outside since Halloween. Wow...<br>
Still working on finding a homeschooling community here. We'll be driving up to the cities for HS gatherings this spring, looking forward to that.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top