Photo by Rachel Hadiashar
Real Life Parenting.
Every week in my positive parenting Facebook group, we share a Real Life Parenting scenario from our group for new ideas + support. Here's our first Real Life Parenting Scenario.
"How do I make the most out of time with my child? Between my job outside of the home and taking care of the house, we spend about 3 maybe 4 hours of time together a day, but part of that he has to share me because I spend cooking and cleaning.
My son is two, and an only child so there is a light guilty feeling when ever I am not.. Entertaining him. I feel terrible when he is upset, because I worry that he is lonely. Being 2, he can't identify those feelings and express them. I often find myself wondering how much better of a relationship we would have if I didn't work. However, I read once and agree with that if I didn't work, perhaps I would not appreciate our time together as much.
I wish I could spend every second with my lo, but I know he also appreciates some space from a hovering parent. Where do I draw the line? It brings me to tears watching him wish I didn't leave him, but my job is important to me too. Help!"
I feel ya. The work-home balance can be so challenging.
If I could send someone to help every family in my community with cooking and cleaning, I would. The demands of modern parenting are crazy, and often unrealistic.
I love what you said: motherhood (and life), are all about appreciating what we DO have.
For life keeps going, and our children keep growing, whether we are enjoying- or not.
Too many moms spend our days wrought with mommy guilt.
To chill and enjoy what we do have is the greatest gift we can give ourselves, and our family.
Here's some suggestions to maximize your already existing positive outlook:
Create a positive saying to remind yourself of what's most important.
It's awesome that you want to make the most of the time you have with your little guy.
You already know what's most important to you. Let this positivity guide you.
You can maximize your positivity by creating a positive saying that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day. Something like:
"I'm a wonderful mom."
Or "I love my son and my work."
"My life is in balance.
Or maybe just "relax and enjoy."
A positive saying like this may feel cheesy at first, but if we think about how often we're repeating negative sayings of self-doubt or self-criticism to ourselves throughout the day, a positive saying or affirmation can be one of our most powerful tools.
Positive sayings are particularly helpful to help you bridge between work and home. You can repeat your positive saying on the commute home, and as you're getting settled in at home in the afternoon to help you stay connected to what's most important to you.
* Give yourself permission to do less.
If reading that statement feels like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, wonderful and go with it. Truly, we can't do it all. Make your life easier.
Here's some possible ideas:
* Hire a mommy's helper to clean.
* Use the crock pot for dinner.
*If you do your own cooking, eat more prepared and packaged food
* Do the minimum amount of housework that keeps you feeling sane and at ease at home. If you value neatness and tidiness, and need a clean house to feel relaxed, that's wonderful too- then clean away. But if "lived in" doesn't really bother you, I hereby give you permission to prioritize time with your son over cleaning.
We can't do it all, so do what is most important to you. And let the rest slide like water off a duck's back.
* Power Time: Quality over Quantity
We fill our children's emotional cups through quality time together in which we feel connected to our children, and our children feel connected to us--- and this is the foundation for all of our children's future growth, health, and learning.
15 to 30 minutes daily of child-led, sitting on the floor connection time fills up your little ones emotional cup. It could be easy to dwell on the time you're not with your son, or everything that needs to be done while you are with him. Think 30 power minutes of quality connected time with your little guy everyday to meet his needs. For more info about the power of Special Time, this article may be helpful.
* Kitchen Time: Do it together.
Doing dishes and cooking together, either with your little guy helping you, or bringing his pretend play into the kitchen is a wonderful way to have together time, introduce life skills, and foster creative play. Children at this age usually love to help.
You can introduce kitchen together time on a weekday when everyone is more relaxed, and then continue it throughout the work week.
Some ideas include:
* Empty out a cupboard and filling it will all child-safe kitchenware
* Give him a small bowl of water to wash dishes, or having him help on a chair while you wash
* Buy or make pretend play food
* Together and Apart: Repeat.
It's always a balance as a parent of fostering both connection and independence within our children. Very often parents today feel they have to be with their children all the time, entertaining them, making sure they are happy. Or parents don't really know how to facilitate, or understand the value of, independent play, even for very small children.
On the other hand, we don't want our children feeling isolated from us emotionally or physically. In particular, media often becomes our babysitter so we can get done what we need to around the house.
Here's a general rule of thumb: for every 30 minutes of child-led "together time," think 5-10 minutes of independent play.
What does this look like?
* For example, do a puzzle together, then your little guy plays his favorite toy on the floor for a few moments while you take a moment for yourself, or to get something done around the house.
* Or while you're prepping dinner, your son is right next to you pretending to cook, and you are talking to him about what he's doing or you're doing. Then, he plays in his kitchen cupboard while you finish dinner.
The amount of times and the nature of the activities and the time together and apart depend upon your child's personality, and also what he needs that day (like if he is sick or over-tired he might want you to be closer).
The Circle of Security explains how to strengthen the parent child bond, and meet children's needs for connection and independence. You can watch this short video here for more info.
* Trust Your Intuition
And most importantly: trust your intuition. When you focus on first meeting your own needs, both emotionally and physically as a parent, you are in the optimal place to access your wisdom as a parent.
You know what is best for you, and your little guy. Trust in you, try out any of the ideas shared above or in our positive parenting group, and remember you have a supportive community behind you.
Thank you for sharing this Real Life Parenting Challenge that so many parents face today. And thanks for the amazing work you're doing everyday to raise the next generation!
All the best,
p.s. Join the Parenting for the Next Generation Facebook Group to share your Real Life Parenting Challenge. For more information about working with Megan to access your wisdom and the latest brain science tools in parenting, click here.
Hi friends, I write from the heart to tell my life story, and the story of those in my neighborhood called life. Research shows that our children's emotional & mental health is contingent upon us parents being able to tell our life story, or "coherent narrative." This is my coherent narrative, my life story in the making, with some of what I love in life too. My goal is to share my life in a way that is real, uplifting & positive- sometimes serious, sometimes fun. In my practice, I inspire parents to empowerment through reclaiming our life stories and learning respectful discipline. My work is my offering to our children- our future. Wishing you all a happy family!