Mom to two. A newborn and a “four-nager”.
I was in the kitchen “making a nutritious dinner” (chicken nuggets and apples) and running off of 2 hours of newborn baby sleep. J was at work. My boy runs in and asks if he can cut a piece of cardboard. The more alert me would’ve asked questions but the exhausted me thought nothing off his inquiry. Matter of fact, I was annoyed that he came in to even ask me that silly question…
I went even as far as to say to myself, “He doesn’t even have scissors”. *eye roll*
He had been playing on his own for a while now…and even at the age of 4, I “trusted” him. But today was different. His little sister had just come home and the overflow of ‘only child’ attention he was once used to was minimal at best but virtually non- existent. By this point the TV was “raising him”.
While I was trying to complete a few tasks around before the crying began I realized something…
it was TOO quiet.
I quickly wrapped around the corner to my sons’ room only to find him sitting a mixed pile of bed sheets, pants, and paper cut into pieces EVERYWHERE!
I immediately became enraged! So much that he began to cry before I could get the first word out. I was so mad at himand at the same time I felt like a failure as a parent. How could I be so careless as to leave the scissors within his reach? As much as I wanted to punish him I knew like me he wasn’t use to this new routine.
I learned an important lesson that day: you can never be prepared for everything.
As parents we sometimes feel as if we either have everything under control or that we have to; this isn’t true or possible. We also question if we’re doing a good job. After all there’s no exam or daily grade in parenting; you kind of wing it and wait 18 years to see how you did.
So to battle these calls for attention from my little guy I’ve learned a few tips:
1) Make a schedule for yourself.
I am a stay at home mom and writing a schedule and a to-do list is extremely important to help me get through my day. You’d be surprised how much stuff I have to do daily. I don’t have to follow it precisely but it helps to keep me on track and accomplish day to day tasks and keep them in order of importance.
2) Nap time is important.
If you have children between the ages of 0 and 5 you know that nap/rest/down time is important. This time is not just for them but also for you mom. Whether you need to get things done that require your undivided attention or maybe you need a nap also, it is important to set aside a couple of hours in an afternoon for this. According to a 2013 article in Time Magazine by Alicia Park called, “The Secret to Smarter Kids: Naps”, a midday nap helps with learning and development. After this alloted time your little one is refreshed and you are relieved.
There are so many resources where you can find self lead activities for toddlers/pre-school/school aged kids that will keep them occupied and out of mischief. My (3) favorite websites to find these activities are:
4) Keep your eye on your kids.
This is a no brainer to some but not so obvious to others (like myself). I like to pride myself on the fact that I’ve helped avoid some of my worst nightmares when it comes to my son but I’d by lying if I said I always watched him while we are home. He’s extremely smart and independent and I will admit these characteristics made me forget he is still 4. Now we are always in the same room interacting with each other. He is now getting the attention he was looking for.
What tips do you all have for the mom who has a lot going on? I’d like to hear from you!