Thursday, March 08, 2007

No Place Like It

I have been kind of challenged lately to spend more time at home. Now don't get me wrong - I am a stay-at-home wife and mom. So, yes - I'm home a lot more than the mother who works outside the home.

But, I have found myself going here or there just to get out of the house. Because, quite frankly, it is easier to manage Emily if we're not at home part of the morning. She LOVES to go places and is always asking to go, "bye-bye." But, truthfully - is that really a good reason for me to be going out?

I know that it is not wrong to take the girls on errands or to fit them into the routine of life. In fact, that is very good. I also know that it is not wrong to sometimes want or need to get out of the house or do some errands. However, I know that it is wrong to not deal with the real issue of how to entertain her at home and just go out to make it easier.

Here is what happens nearly every morning in our house. I get Emily out of bed and then go get Rachel. Before I've even sat down to nurse Rachel, Emily is asking for breakfast. She manages to make it through somehow until I'm finished and Rachel is settled in play. While we are eating or shortly after (sometimes before we even sit down) Emily asks to watch a movie and when I decline, she moves on to the next thing which is to go bye-bye. If I decline this as well, she asks for a snack. When none of these works - she gets whiny and unhappy.

Now, I'm not setting out to make her happy ALL the time. She will simply have to be unhappy with me sometimes because I cannot and will not grant her every whim. But, how do I keep my sanity through all of this whining? So, I suggest we read books which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I let her help me with my chores - again, sometimes this is good and sometimes not as good.

I know in my heart that just going somewhere to appease her is not the answer - but staying home is the much better and sometimes much harder choice. This is a matter for prayer and even studying God's Word to see what I should do as a child of God.

I also know that many of you have gone through this, witnessed this, or are currently in this stage as well. So, how would you handle this or how do/did you handle this with your own children?

Once or twice a week - I will have these moments where life seems pure and the way it is meant to be. Emily, Rachel and I are all together - I am caring for the home and they are enjoying childhood. But, honestly - how can I cultivate this more often than just for an hour or two a week?

Now, in unison ~ in Dorothy fashion let's all click our heels and say, "There's No Place Like Home!"


Sharon said...

I know exactly what you are going through. I have to nurse my baby in the morning and then my oldest is constantly asking for food. I do let her watch cartoons while I feed her sister or I let her get out the breakfast items. She also loves to help, so I try to make sure I save her a little job. She is only 3 but I have her set the table (with only certain things) or she gets to unload the dishwasher. For playing, we make houses out of books for her barbies or polly pockets, I brought in snow the other day for her and that kept her busy for a good hour, and if I really have a hard time getting her distracted and playing with something...I give her a choice of either sitting in her room and taking a nap or actually taking out some toys and playing with them. You might be surprised what little games they can invent all on their own. I suppose this might work only if your daughter doesn't like taking naps though. :)

Jammy said...

I have been known to take off in the van to get the children contained and break the monotony of the day...LOL...but now that is over since we no longer have a van!

I also love to drive and love to go take in the scenery of the farmlands in the area. Especially when Spring comes around, it makes my spirits just soar! I noticed at one time though, that I was taking it to an extreme just to not have to constantly redirect children and it's easy to do that. The good thing is that you and I noticed we had become out of balance, so it's good to constantly be evaluating what we are doing.

Have a fun Friday!!


Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog and just want to say I'm enjoying it much! You are very creative and I also appreciate your love for the Lord.

When I had a toddler and a nursing baby, I have my toddler have "alone time". For 15-20 minutes he stayed in his room or in the playpen with toys and books. He learned to happily entertain himself and today is quite imaginative. (There were many tears in the beginning.) I tried to always be cheerful and excited for him when this time came so that he would view it as a good thing. It was not punishment. After a few days, he began to look forward to this time.

Recently, we've read "Shepherding your child's heart" by Tedd Tripp. This has also been encouraging and helpful to us.

God bless you richly,

mama k said...

I don't have a toddler yet, but my baby seems to get bored too. I have started doing flash cards with him along with reading and "exercises" (basically physical play from the book How Smart Is Your Baby) It helps to stimulate him and give some structure to my day.
Could you try starting a little pre-school curiculum with her in the morning? She sounds like a bright and curious child!

paige said...

Hey doll, first off let me say, boredom is good for a child and the average american child is deprived of boredom. It leads to imginative play and creativity. In reading your story my first question is why wake up Emily before Rachel, then ask her to wait. Maybe getting up Rachel and feeding her in the quiet of the home, getting her settled at play THEN getting up Emily. This not only serves you but also gives Emily the sleep she might be needing more of. Max is my natural born whiner. I do notice that he gets MORE whiny when he hasn't had quite enough sleep. Some children need more sleep than others, especially very active, bright children. All that physical and mental output leaves a kid tired. Just to be fair, I've never EVER gone to wake up a child in the morning. I always let them sleep until the sleep is out. I do wake them in the afternoons, after naps however. They are all good sleepers and naturally wake up between 7:30 and 8. If Jack had his druthers (and he usually does) he'd sleep until 10:30am! That's even after an 8:30 bedtime. Well I'm droning on, I think I need the sleep. Talk to you soon,

Susan P. said...

Monica, first of all let me say, "boy, do I remember those days!" After rereading the post the thing that really struck me was the fact that you get Emily up first. Have you ever thought of just letting her sleep in and wake up when she's ready to? Part of the reason she might be crabby is because she is still tired. If you do this then that would allow you special 'alone" time while nursing Rachel and so it is a more enjoyable and meaningful time for the both of you. When my children were younger like yours I always tried to have structured days (like they have in school) I think children like having a routine. Anyway, they knew that in the morning Mommy would make the beds, sweep, etc.. and even at a young age they had responsibilities, too!! Of course they can't make a bed very well, but they certainly can try;) You are teaching them a wonderful life lesson of responsibility. Try to break up the day when you are doing chores with special activities they can do with you. Get a big box and fill it with art supplies, homemade playdough, cookies cutters, etc.. Do water play. Older children love having a "bean table" with beans and rice (under supervision, of course) All of these activites allow them to use their imagination which is something that is really lacking in children these days because everything is so high-tech. I can remember my Grammy saving oatmeal boxes and when my children came over they would have so much fun on the floor building castles, towers, and forts with Grammy. I know for a fact they enjoyed that more than an expensive toy. I also had a special time when we would go in the back yard and throw the ball, explore with magnifying glasses, run, jump, anything that was allowing them to engage in physical activity. When nap time came around I either did a lot of my chores that were hard to do while they were awake or if I was really tired I would nap, too!! They won't be little forever, and the dust will still be there;) I usually allowed myself one special day when we would go "bye bye" and do a few special things but that was all. Finally, it is okay to be bored sometimes. I agree wholeheartedly with Paige, that is what gets their creativity and imaginations going. You can kind of steer them in a direction but see what they can come up with on their own. Miss Bonnie had lots of fun under her blanket tent playing "house!" One other thing, don't have all of their toys out at once. When I was a preschool teacher we would "rotate" the toys every other day so they had variety and I also think sometimes that if a child has too many toys it is overwhelming and they don't even know how to pick one. One last thing, I would have a "quiet" time where they would go to their rooms and spend maybe thirty minutes. They could look at books, listen to a tape, any kind of a quiet activity. This is good because they learn to be comfortable occupying time by themselves. Good luck Monica, it get's better, I promise;) As the book says, "Try not to sweat the small stuff;)!! Big hugs, Susan P.

Anonymous said...

I have been "lurking" for quite sometime and have been so encouraged by you in my role as wife and mother so first of all - thank you so much!
I had to reply to this post because I care for 5 little ones in my home ages 1,1-1/2, 2, 3 and once and a while a 4 year old. Routine is the key in making this successful. They always know what to expect and that takes away their need for whining about having nothing to do. We start out our day at 6:45 with breakfast, free play (playing toys, blocks etc.) Then we have music time where I put on music or my 16 year old son if he is home at that time plays guitar for them and they dance, play along with toy instruments etc. Then I put the one year old down for her morning nap at 8:45 when my son goes to school and the others have quiet time coloring, doing a craft or playing legos etc. When nap time is over at ten we have snack and then we go for a walk - everyday - We live in a little town so we have to go and check the mail at the post office and do whatever errands we have to do. When we get home it is time to get cleaned up for lunch. After lunch is nap time - They all nap except the four year old who reads quietly or does some other quiet activity. After nap is puzzles, letter magnets, story time, learning activities etc. More Free play while I start getting supper ready and they head home by 5 p.m.
I am sure this more detail than you could want but I thought I'd let you know what our routine looks like. I'd also like to say that staying home is wonderful and I am so grateful that the Lord has provided a way for me to stay at home but that there is nothing wrong with going out everyday for a time especially if you walk. In fact the gov't agency I work for requires that the children are taken out of the house everyday. If you don't feel comfortable leaving your property everyday then plan some morning outdoor time in the yard getting rid of excess energy - they nap so much better! ~smile~


Candy said...

Not sure how I came across your blog now. I know I visited before..before you re-did the look of your blog. Its so pretty now! :)
I love your picture too :)
I noticed my friend Susan P commented. She's my "Mama from Virginia". Dont you just love her! Her blog is great too.
Anyways, thought Id say Hi and tell you I think your blog is very pretty--just like you!!!! :)


Twisted Cinderella said...

boy do I understand what you are describing! I am grateful that Little Princess has gotten much better at imagining things and creating games to entertain herself.

2boysmama said...

Do you mean that when you "get her up" that you wake her up? Maybe she is whining because she is sleepy and tired?

I've always lived by the rule, never wake a sleeping baby (or child!!)

That said, I like to get out of the house too, for sanity's sake.

Can she feed herself? Maybe prepping breakfast at night so that you can give it to her first thing so she can eat while you are nursing.

Does she like to play in the water? Sometimes I let my 1 year old up on a stool at the kitchen sink and let him play in the water with measuring cups.

Jammy said...

I hope you are doing well this week!!!

As for the Spring Cleaning: I totally cleaned out and organized my hallway closet up near the bedrooms (we only have two closets in the entire <1922> house!!! I also did the second boys bedroom shared by my other two boys, and freshened up the first boys room that had already been done last week. Immaculate floor, sweet smelling, things in place, fresh bed linens...YAY! Now the entire upstairs is done, except my room (shame on me).

In my defense, the last two nights, after the boys all went to bed, I spent 5 1/2 hours total painting our living room. Dh is away for training again for a week (coming back on Thur late night) and I wanted to surprise him! Boy WILL he be surprised. He was thinking he was going to have to do this soon! It's great and so fresh in the living room; much more soothing looking. It feels good to accomplish something that will last.

I also tracked it on a fitness tracker and I approx. burned 2100 calories in the last two days, 5.5 hours work.

Carlee said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile too, recommended by my wonderful friend Leanne. As a single foster parent (until I married my amazing husband in August), and a teacher of preschoolers, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that keep everyone's sanity! Last year, I had my adopted 6 year old and 2 two-year olds, so I have some suggestions that may work. See...I LOVE to sleep in, so I made everything as simple as I possibly could, and ended up with very independent toddlers by the time they moved back with their respective families. I got breaskfast ready the night before (dry cereal or yogurt in the bowls, even spoons in the bowls, all placed in the fridge.) For the little ones, they knew their "color" of bowl and cup, so that made it easier. After I got one up, dressed, and ready, they would go to the kitchen on their own and get their food. If they needed milk, they could pour some from their cup into it (or you could do this for her). I found that they LOVED the independence, and the "surprise" of what was for breakfast. Also, puzzles are great. I have a ton of really basic puzzles (about 6-8 pieces each) and I would use those when I was on the phone, taking care of something important, etc. I would dump one puzzle out on the floor, leaving the base on top, and do this same thing with about 5-6 puzzles (be sure to spread them apart). I would then challenge one of the kids to clean them up...they LOVED it! I also did this when I was in the shower so they were in my room with me and within ear shot. Hope these tips help...your girls are blessed little babies to have a mama like you!

momxtwo a.k.a. Lisa said...

I don't have anyything wise to say about the Emily issue but I can pray that God will give you an answer to your problem.

I cleaned my living room last Tuesday.

I didn't post about it because I got a terrible sinus infection and have been down with that since then. I have been weak as water and haven't done a thing but stay in the bed.

I pretty much did the same thing I did in my bedroom except I had to clean my snow willage (which I keep up all year long). I also cleaned the entrance way which is kinda part of the living room.


Leanne said...

my kiddes get bored too...I've been feeding off the comments left to you by other people! Can't wait for your next entry!
My spring cleaning is nearly complete. When you check my blog, though, you'll see I have had quite a bit going on. I was glad to have had the time to get some things done! Your challenge was a blessing. I hope your time away was good.