Saturday, 20 April 2013

Juggling - A big one and a little one

I won't deny that I find being a stay at home Mum hard work. I've had periods of working part time since having children, so I've experienced that other life where you can spend the day sitting quietly at a desk, perhaps enjoying a hot drink and an uninterrupted chat with other adults. Some days now, the only real life conversation that I have is with the postman or the checkout assistant.

One of the things that I find hardest to manage is that I'm not very good with babies and toddlers. I just don't know what to do with them. I'm full of ideas, crafts and activities, but I need an appreciative audience, and young toddlers frustrate me with their inability to follow instructions and short attention spans. I love having all this time with Harry to spend doing fun things, but it's so difficult to concentrate on him when there is toddler Mia demanding just as much, if not more, attention.

Before Mia was born, and when she was a baby that still had naps, Harry and I used to do jigsaws together, play simple games, do crafts, read books. Now we simply can't do any of these things while she is around. She sits on jigsaws, she takes them apart, she won't sit still and be read to.

I feel like my time is spent constantly juggling the different needs of the two children. I need to talk to Harry, he loves having things explained to him and learning how things work. He enjoy sitting down quietly and crafting or playing. Mia is more into physical play, being chased around, playing hiding games, climbing on things.

I find it difficult to do crafts or playdough with the two of them at the same time, mainly because Mia eats everything. They do both enjoy messy play, as long as I make sure that I put out two of everything, but Mia usually bores first and has to be taken off for a bath, leaving Harry playing alone without any interaction from me.

I feel terribly guilty that Harry is missing out on a lot of one on one interaction, playing games, perhaps working on learning some letters and numbers. But I also feel guilty for thinking that Mia is in the way, and of course she doesn't receive any of the individual attention that Harry had when he was her age.

So at the moment, my parenting is all about juggling - trying to keep both little ones occupied, entertained, and secure in the feeling that they are receiving enough of my attention.

I'm entering this post into this fortnight's BritMums Carnival, hosted at A Yummy Mummy? Really? Pop by to see what everyone else is juggling!

An activity to occupy them both - for a little while at least!

14 comments:

  1. Great post :) It's a tough one! I was lucky with my boys that my younger son was so bright that they were instantly on the same level as soon as he could walk, despite there being two years and four months(and three school years!)between them. Their interests are different, but they are usually prepared to compromise. My younger son is so caring that he would always fit in with his little sister and she concentrates so well and always has done that she was never a disruptive influence. The only difficulty is between my eldest and my daughter as there is nearly five years between them and the age gap is just too big. So there's usually one or other of them unhappy with the choice of acitivity!

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    1. Thank you! You are very lucky that they were both on the same level so early on! Harry is very patient with Mia. Perhaps too patient - if she wants something that he has he will just hand it over in order to avoid a tantrum, which isn't the best way for her to learn about sharing!

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  2. Don't fret, they will grow and change and things will get easier or at least different :)

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    1. I know, and we have plenty more stages to go through yet!

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  3. I must admit I am apprehensive once Sam starts moving about more! Is there anywhere Mia could go for perhaps one afternoon or morning a week where you can spend some time with just Harry? (don't know if you have family nearby or anything). Hope you manage to find a happy medium soon :)

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    1. I do try to spend some one on one time with Harry at weekends when my husband is about, or else he does. I'm also encouraging my parents to take Harry out without Mia sometimes so that he gets to do something different, because he's easier to take out places.

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  4. The up-side is that H is also learning to be patient, to consider the needs of others less able than him, to delay gratification. Getting everything you want immediately is not good for anyone, even though making little ones wait is hard.
    And M has the advatage of an older sibling as playmate, which H didn't.
    But - it took me ages to take the above points on board! At the same stage I often felt a mix of inadequate, frustrated and guilty too and yearned for more stimulating times to come. The lack of time to think an uniterrupted thought does not help to get one's thoughts straight!
    Still juggling today (x4....)
    CR

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    1. You're right, they both have advantages to having the other one around! That's what I gain from blogging, the opportunity to write things down and clear my head a little bit, and I really appreciate everyone's feedback and advice!

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  5. Great post! I only have the one and couldn't begin to imagine juggling two children! I admire anyone who does it and manages to stay sane - and it sounds like you're doing a great job - both your kids sound adorable. You've got a great patient big brother there... I don't have any answers I'm afraid as I am way underqualified but it looks like some of the other comment have been more helpful. I guess I'll leave you with something I told my Mum when she was questioned over her parenting (long story - she had (she passed away in 2007) the three of us, and one adopted son with behaviourial issues) she was very upset about it). All that matters is that you love your kids, and they know it. That's it! I honestly could not tell you whether she spent any more of less time with my sister (four years younger) than me. I just don't remember. All I remember is that she was always there when I needed her. I don't know if that's any help!

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    1. Thank you! That is a lovely story, and you're right, I was the oldest with two younger than me and I don't remember ever feeling as though I was being left out or neglected, my Mum was always there :)

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  6. Parenting does involve alot of juggling, mine are now age 9 to 14 and I still feel I am juggling all their needs and our business, but it's worth it!

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  7. I think we all feel like this. All I do is juggle these days, I wonder how I keep on top of things myself! I completely sympathise with the impatience of toddlers not doing things 'right' the perfectionist in me really struggles with that! Xx

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    1. I'm always helping my toddler out with things, but she gets so frustrated because she wants to do things herself!

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