Parenting Young Children: The Challenge of a Quiet Moment

 

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Oh how many times I’ve gotten on here and thought, I need to blog more often.  I’m not really sure what keeps me away.  It’s so soothing to write and so refreshing to get feedback and know that I’m not alone.

Oh wait, my kids.  That’s why I don’t get on here more!

No, but really.  It didn’t used to be that hard to sit down for a few minutes and have a coherent thought, but lately, it just is.  It could be pregnancy brain, but I think it’s the stage my boys are in right now.  Especially Wyatt.  Although… they both seem to require more attention than usual lately.  Hmm.  Maybe it’s really me feeling guilty about stealing away for a half-hour or so for something that’s just mine.

Yup, that last one.

I can tell you for sure, a big part of the problem is the pressure I put on myself to schedule things for my kids to do every morning.  I feel like I need to get them out of the house everyday and plan events for them.  Why?  I didn’t have an event planned for me every.single.day during my childhood and I always had a flourishing imagination.

This morning, I’m not feeling 100%.  I don’t know if my body’s just tired because I didn’t sleep well last night or what?  It’s not exactly a rare occurrence, but maybe I’ve just finally had enough restless nights to run out of energy entirely.

You know, too many pillows and then too few after flinging them all off.  Is there ever a perfect number of pillows while pregnant?

I think there may also be a cold in my future, but whatever the case, I made the decision that it’s a good enough reason to stay home this morning.

You know what?  It feels really good.  It’s really freeing to let myself off the hook and direct the kids to play outside on their playset or downstairs with there numerous toys.  To give myself a day to reflect and plan and catch up on chores ::cough:: blogging ::cough::.  I used to get a lot done in the evening, but I’m really at my best in the morning lately.  That’s not exactly “normal” for me in general, but with small children, everything changes!

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There’s been a shift in the way I parent in general.  When Dylan was around 18 months, I decided it was a priority to set aside alone time, for both of us, where he had to entertain himself.  I mean, within reason, right?  I just knew it was important that he could use his imagination and entertain himself for more than 5 minutes.  That didn’t always work out, but I tried.   Now that there are two of them, I find it a lot harder to do that with them.  Wyatt’s such a social little charmer and all he wants is my love and attention.  I love watching him and playing with him, but some days I feel like I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t get one uninterrupted grown-up thought out of my head.

Seriously!  It’s just as hard to get a full sentence out of my mouth with another adult without an interruption as it is to write one down.  If my attention’s anywhere, but 100% on them, I think they take it as a challenge and the game is on.

This morning, a very smart, sensitive, nurturing mother and amazing friend of mine (Thanks Michelle!) shared a post she found called, Why Parenting Is So Hard For Us Introverts, which I loved. The writer talked about how children don’t give parents a break.  That’s so true.  With the number of “mommy videos” out there on social media, it would be hard for even none parents to be unaware of that fact.  I know, everyone thinks that won’t be them.  To be completely honest, I was probably the worst offender pre-kids.  No matter how much of an effort I make to encourage their independence, the most time I get between screams or requests for help with something is about 10 minutes and that’s a stretch.

The thing is, I’m not really an introvert, I’m just barely an extrovert.  I always come out right on the line when I take the personality tests.  Meeting new friendly people and spending time around the people I love definitely gives me energy in general, but my kids generally do not.  The amount of love I have for them is indescribable and I couldn’t be more thankful for the time I have with them.  I believe, with all my heart, that the love I have for them has given me a renewed relationship with God because I finally understand His love and His frustrations with us a little better.  That love is incredible and it’s made me do things I never-in-a-million-years thought I could/would do.

I don’t want to be too graphic, but if you aren’t a parent, just picture something that would normally cause you to feel light-headed or lose your last meal, and then imagine cleaning it up without even blinking.  Or, well, maybe a little gagging, but you probably get what I mean.

We ALL need time to ourselves.  As I read that post about parents needing to know their personalities and limits and accept that about themselves, I found myself thinking, “But these are my kids.  How is it normal for a mother to want time away from her little miracles?”.  But the truth is, even the greatest people, both intellectually and spiritually, needed time away from other people.  The greatest example for me is Jesus.  There are so many documented moments of him being alone.  He’s not a woman, but even the biblical description of the perfect woman spent time alone (Proverbs 31).  Of course, she had servants, but you know, in modern times, most of us have babysitters, friends, or family to help.  All moms are human and we all have limits and the only way we can be the best mothers for our children, is if we take time away from them to stay clear-headed.  That time alone will look different for every person because we’re all different, but it’s always important.

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Of course, as I finish up this post, my husband is informing me that the kids are bored and he’s entertaining them… The joys of a work-at-home spouse.  Oh well, it’s nothing a little snack for the boys couldn’t fix for now, but I may have just realized another factor in that parenting shift.  And a topic he and I probably need to discuss sometime.  See?  Never a dull moment around here ;)

So, what do you think?  Do you struggle to find time for yourself?  Do you make that a priority?

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Comments

  1. JoAnn Kaeten says:

    I don't think there's a mother out there that doesn't struggle with finding time to be alone, or feeling quilty about it when you do. I remember the frustration so clearly, occasionally "venting" into towels, or pillows (whatever room I happened to be in), and not being able to go to the bathroom alone ;).
    Now, at this stage I think back on those days with such melancholy.
    It clearly was for me, the most fulfilling time of my life. Filled with such love and wonder, and it truly does FLY by. I know while you're in it, it doesn't feel that way.
    It's silly, I feel that quilt with my dogs now, when they look at me with eyes that ask "what are we doing now?" I clearly loved being mommy, best role I ever had!

  2. It was the best role I had too. Being a Mommy is so much easier than being a Mother.

  3. Thanks for the post! It makes me feel better to hear other mom’s struggling with this also. I do try to find some time for me during the day and that means that i’m not always the most productive during nap time, which makes me feel a little guilty. I’m a little worried with baby #2 coming that my free time will go back down to zero for a little while. I”m guessing it will take a while to adjust from 1 kid to 2 kids.

  4. Michelle Davis says:

    Thanks for mentioning me! I am glad you liked the post and it inspired you to give yourself a break :) I definitely struggle for me time and simply time to THINK clearly! I love my kiddos but almost daily I come close to losing my mind!

    We leave Monday until July 9th, let's get together when I am back, ok? Have a great 4th of July! :) Hugs!

  5. Yup! I know what exactly what you mean :)

    Have a great trip!! Yes, sound good. You too! Hugs!

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