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Name: erica2728
[ Original Post ]
ok here is the deal, i am a stay at home mom of a 20 month old boy. I decided to quit my job 10 months ago to be at home. Its awesome and i feel like its what im called to do HOWEVER i have this guilt about not giving my son enough attention. i rarely play with him during the day, i mean its not like i neglect him-its just he plays by himself well. When he comes up to me i will read him a book or tickle him for 10 min. and we regularly go for walks/bike rides to the park but when were at home i do alot of other stuff and dont give him alot of undivided attention. i feel like im a bad mom....i guess i have this image in my head that stay at home moms play with their kids non stop and thats what makes them a good parent or productive parent. i need some encouragement, does anybody else feel this way??
also, i like to have the cartoons in the background for entertainment and i feel guilty for that because i have been told (before i got pregnant) that tv is a babysitter or a cop out for parenting...
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Name: ramrooma | Date: Sep 21st, 2011 4:21 PM
I can totally feel what you mean exactly , and me too have the same feelings a lot , but now i can tell you after a long thinking that you don have to feel guilty at all , u just set a suitable time daily let say for 20 minutes to spend with ur son and give him an undivided attention , play an activity , play with a ball , cuddling and so on , then u have the right to be busy the rest of the day u need other chores to be done , u need to take care of urself , but that doesnt mean ur are not going to reconnect with him until bedtime !!! , no u will reconnect with him for few minutes from time to time , u will reconnect with him during feeding , diaper changes , bath potty time and so on , and try to do fun things with him briefly and quickly through these times , i read many articles that encourage parents to keep toddlers for some time everday to explore on their own and that they should experience boredom from time to time this triggers creativity in them , u seem to be a very kind empathetic mama , good luck :) 

Name: KimberlyW | Date: Oct 12th, 2011 11:19 PM
I understand where you are coming from. I have twin 18 month olds. I always have the t.v. on but its for noise because they don't ever watch t.v. but I do feel bad because my husband travels and I have to do EVERYTHING so I feel like with all the things that need to be done I don't get to play with them as much either. But, if they ever want to play I stop what I am doing and play. I take breaks often to play. This helps me to get things done and still be able to play with them. I used to feel really bad about this. I also thought being a stay at home mom meant doing nothing but playing and taking care of them but in reality my house doesn't clean itself, my laundry doesn't miraculously get done so I juggle it all. So don't feel bad at all. My twins don't play very well together but I try and do what I can during nap time so I have more time with them. 

Name: Lauren M.A.C. | Date: Oct 21st, 2011 3:42 PM
Hi Erica! It sounds like you are doing a great job! Reading to your child, go for walks and bike rides, taking him to the park - all EXCELLENT for your child's happiness, growth and development. And it is wonderful that at 10 months old that he can entertain himself!

As far as how much time you should be spending with him, few parents have the luxury of giving their child their undivided attention 24/7. It is important that your child lives in a clean and happy home, which means that at least some of your day unfortunately must be spent doing chores. However, there are ways to do both. For example, if you are cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, etc., stick his toys in the same room with you (or just outside of the room where he can see you if the fumes are too strong) and talk to him while you clean. While you are cooking, put him next to you and give him some pots and pans and a spoon to bang with. Or, give him some washed fruit to feel and play with - kids love exploring things with different textures and colors (just keep an eye on him if he tries to eat it!). Doing laundry? Play peek-a-boo with him with the clothes you are folding. This way, you are getting through your day and still spending time with your little one.

As far as t.v., I would strongly recommend making sure that you are tuned to educational channels only - you will be amazed how much your son will learn, and he won't pick up any fresh words or violent behavior. Try PBS, Sprout, Nickelodean, Nick Jr., etc.

Sounds to me like you have great instincts, so give yourself a break, ease up on the guilt and enjoy your little guy! Good luck!

~Lauren
http://www.MommyAdviceColumn.com 

Name: care | Date: Oct 28th, 2011 12:48 AM
I have a 20 mo. old also. And an 11 year old. AND...a 9 month old (born early). Plus 2 dogs and 2 cats. Not bragging but I've got some advice for you...
I have been home since my oldest.
You have to do housework, no way around it. It's okay for the kids to play by themselves, part of the time. Make a routine where you have play breaks throughout the day. Also, when possible, include him in the chores but don't expect it to really be a help. It'll be a distraction for him and he'll make a bit more of a mess for you, but you'll get some more bonding time in.
TV, I know, I have the same problem. I use it to unload the dishwasher, start dinner and go to the bathroom. Sometimes you just have to do what works. I feel a little better if the kids watch something educational and I know my 20 mo. old is learning some phonics from PBS shows. If you have a DVR box, record the ones that you like best or he likes best so you can fast forward through commercials too.
Yeah, it's a myth that moms are able to play the whole day with their kids. But playing by themselves part of the day is GOOD for them. Plus, he's not dumped into a room full of babies with some stranger...i mean daycare...so even though you don't feel like it's enough, chances are you're spending way more quality time with hiim than some sitter whose got too many kids to watch, and also, even if you're not directly talking to him, you're still there, with him. There's no substitute for moms. Think about. Women really didn't have careers until this century yet women have been bearing and raising children for thousands of years. This is the best way to do it. 

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